Open letter to the gymnastics community

As the custodian of gymnastics participation in Australia, and the governing body of the sport across the country, Gymnastics Australia, working alongside your State and Territory Association, very much see that our role is to grow and develop the sport, deliver key services and opportunities to you, our clubs and empower you to create safe and thriving opportunities for participants.

Whether that means providing nurturing coaching pathways or ensuring great recreational facilities for participants of all abilities and levels, our efforts have and will always focus on an individual’s physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing and providing safe, supportive, and fun environments.

In my first few months in this role, I had the opportunity to meet with many of you. After listening to you, I have identified several opportunities for us, as a sport to drive participation, remove the barrier for workforce growth and enhance the experience for all Australians to be enriched by gymnastics.
 
The highest priority for us as sport right now is easing workforce pressures.
 
Thank you to everyone who provided feedback either in person or via our survey on our proposed new Coach Education Framework. It is with your voice and experience that we can build the future for gymnastics in Australia. 
 
This new Framework aims to accelerate safe and competent coaches whilst also empowering our coaches to create safe, fun and inclusive environments where participants and community sport can thrive. It combines on the job training, online modules and face-to-face components to enhance the learning environment for coaches.
 
It also acknowledges the need to remove the barrier to entry, particularly that of cost we have for beginner coaches in our current framework. The new education framework utilises free modules from across sports, along with a community of practice models which enable peer insights and mentoring.

I want to reiterate that your voice is essential in this process. We want to develop a true fit-for-purpose model which supports you and what you want to achieve. Whether that be retention of coaches and participants or the ability to create a career of meaningful work for gymnastics, we are partnering with you as clubs to ensure the best outcomes moving forward.

We are moving fast on this project, as I know firsthand the challenges faced at clubs, and the opportunities for growth at your club.
 
We will be piloting the new framework in January 2023, with the aim of a March 2023 transition from our current framework to the new approach.
 
There will be more opportunities for you to provide feedback over the coming weeks through the survey which is currently still open, focus groups, and a virtual Synthetron. The details of each of these will be communicated soon so please, I encourage you to keep an eye on your emails from us and your State and Territory Association.   
 
Another key area for potential growth is the need to better understand our consumers, their decision-making criteria and where gymnastics fits within this process.
 
To support us in this project, Gymnastics Australia and your State and Territory Associations, have commenced a piece of work to better understand current trends and insight. This will help guide the development of a national marketing strategy driven by data insights.
 
This valuable piece of work, alongside the significant investment we have made this year in our digital technology platforms including a new CRM (database management) and website, will give us the tools, as the governing body but also you, as clubs better market our sport in what will be a competitive landscape in the lead up to Brisbane 2032.

These investments have been designed to support you, by making it easier to upload information and gain valuable insights with marketing and facility needs.
 
And finally, I am pleased to confirm that we have appointed Honan as our new broker partner for the National Insurance Program.
 
On behalf of gymnastics clubs and associations across Australia, Honan will seek to secure quality insurance products at highly competitive prices, including Personal Accident and Public Liability as has always been available.
 
We are also looking to extend the value provided by offering additional insurances to clubs leveraging our collective buying power. Products and pricing are in the process of being finalised and will be provided by mid-November.
 
Once again thank you everyone who has welcomed me to their club over the last few months. Later this month when I visit Tasmania, I can say I have been to every State and Territory and visited over 40 clubs in my first 4 months.  
 
I appreciate the open and honest conversations you have shared, and I take all your feedback on board.
 
Gymnastics Australia and the State and Territories are working together as one movement. We are always looking for ways to operate more efficiently, deliver greater value and communicate better with our clubs and participants.
 
Together, we are focused on what is best for gymnastics, our participants, and serving you, our member clubs who give all for our sport and our local communities.