Academics and Students Team up with British Gymnastics to Shape Future Coaching Curriculum

​14/02/2017

​PhD Biomechanics student Sophie Burton (left). 

The University’s expert Biomechanics team will contribute to the way future gymnastics coaches and ultimately future gymnasts are taught and trained.

A long-standing relationship with the UK’s gymnastics governing body has been formalised with Cardiff Met Research Lead Professor Gareth Irwin being formally invited to develop British Gymnastics’ Coach Education system and clinical practice with British Gymnastics’ Sports Science and Medical Team.

Former Wales Gymnastics team coach Professor Irwin will transfer extensive research findings into coach-friendly educational materials for British Gymnastics’ ‘Research to Practice’ agenda, which will ultimately be rolled out across Gymnastics coaching programmes worldwide.

Two of his PhD Biomechanics Research students, Beccy Straker and Sophie Burton, will also contribute to the framework, with Beccy focussing on research into landing during gymnastics and male and female differentiation within the code of points or scoring system and Sophie’s focus being on different ways that children learn and develop fundamental gymnastics skills.

British Gymnastics’ research agenda resonates with the University’s own Internationalisation priorities, with both Beccy and Sophie benefitting from the expertise of international supervisors from the Universities of Ostrava and Georgia.

Their preparation work has taken place locally at Cardiff’s Somersault Gym and on the University’s Cyncoed campus, where students and young gymnasts benefit from top of the range equipment.

Beccy said: “It is great that my research, which focuses on the Influence of Skill Complexity, Growth and Development on the Landing Mechanics of Female Gymnasts, could be used to inform future coaching techniques.”

Professor Gareth Irwin said: “Like Cardiff School of Sport, British Gymnastics prioritises embedding scientific rigour into their coaching education system. Our content will use the research that has emerged from the CSS Sports Biomechanics Research Group.”