The East Region development squad primarily exists in order to improve standards of coaching, and therefore performance, across the region. Coach Education starts this process by providing a controlled framework for technical education but, once a qualified coach has their certificate, it is very easy to become insular and lose out on ‘best practice’. Accordingly the committee identified the need for coaches to come together regularly and share issues, problems and, the holy grail, ‘best practice’ through the medium of a development squad.
Criteria might change from squad to squad but, essentially, the intention is to gather together a number of rising talents, with their coaches, on a regular basis where various themes are explored and challenges laid down. It has been recognised that not all clubs will have gymnasts meeting the criteria and so there are other avenues for attendance:
- Club nomination – for any club not having a gymnast meeting grade qualification criteria, they may nominate an otherwise qualified gymnast of a suitable standard, to be accompanied by their coach;
- Wildcards – squad coaches attend regional competitions and will look to identify talented youngsters who have not met grade criteria or been nominated by their club, and issue an invite to them and their coach; and
- Coaches welcome – there is an open door policy for any coaches within the region to attend squad days even if they have no gymnasts in attendance.