Nino Severino: Pipers Vale Gymnastics Centre is example of sporting excellence
In his latest column, Nino Severino enthuses about a recent trip to the Pipers Vale Gymnastics Centre in Ipswich...
The more I base my sports coaching and consulting services in Ipswich, the more I validate my message – we have so much to be proud of, and we need to shout a lot louder and wider about our region’s sporting potential and success.
This was further supported by my visit to the Pipers Vale Gymnastics Centre in Ipswich last week, as what I watched during my morning spent with the coaches and four elite gymnasts was simply jaw-dropping.
I work closely with one of the region’s most talented coaches, and we often have discussions about sporting excellence, and what does “excellence” mean when studying the art of training and performance – well, I believe I discovered part of the answer, here in Ipswich.
I view myself as a very experienced coach and I can honestly say what I witnessed last Friday morning was an utter privilege, a session of pure excellence.
Four young and very talented gymnasts, showing exactly what focus, concentration, commitment and skilful hours of training can produce.
As I spoke with the coaches, Josephine Hayes, head of women’s artistic gymnastics, and Rebecca Hambling, senior performance coach, it was very clear to me how proud they were of the gymnasts I was watching.
I was in total awe of the performance – the grace, the power, skill and sheer athleticism, it was obvious I was watching sporting excellence.
I asked about the centre, and the facilities and they told me it proudly boasts a purpose-built gymnastics facility of the highest quality, with two gymnastic halls, dance studio, classroom/meeting room and catering facilities.
The apparatus includes asymmetric bars, high bars, parallel bars, high and low beams, rings, vaults, pommels, a sprung floor area of competition standard, tumble track, fast track, foam pits, trampettes and floor level trampolines.
As I looked around, it’s very clear to see why the centre is ranked one of the best gymnastic venues in the country.
The more time I spent with the coaches and gymnasts, the more activity I noticed, and it was becoming very obvious that the centre is used by the whole community and not just the elite gymnasts.
This was very refreshing to see, elite sport working side by side with recreational activity – all the way from pre-school, parent and toddler, to junior advanced recreational, casual youth activities, and even two nights a week adult “Have a Go” sessions, based around fun informal training.
I think this is an outstanding achievement, and the management team of the centre must truly be applauded for the holistic approach they have managed to create within their centre and their sport of gymnastics.
Gymnastics is a sport for the dedicated, and while I deliver my personal coaching, I often talk about meaningful and purposeful practice.
I see this as an approach which creates a mind-set which produces very high-quality training that leads to elite performance – and this is a trait which is on show in abundance at this hot bed of talent.
There was another area that was “stand out” for me, and that was the incredible level of physical fitness and body conditioning that was on display. The four young gymnasts have clearly earned this through hundreds of hours of committed and dedicated training.
I asked Josephine and Rebecca how this level of athleticism was developed and they told me that the training programmes they design and deliver includes high levels of physical preparation, technical learning, strength training and flexibility.
They went on to say that this approach, along with a hardworking athlete, supportive parents and dedicated and skilful coaching creates a promising foundation for the development of these Ipswich-based elite gymnasts.
And that is exactly what I witnessed during my time at the centre – one thing is certain, I’ll be taking all my elite tennis players along to the centre to watch these young athletes at work!