Beth Tweddle Talks Total Gymnastics

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This month 24Seven Lifestyle magazine had the honour of chatting with Olympic gymnast Beth Tweddle. Beth chatted about Total Gymnastics and how this could be implemented into the school curriculum. The Total Gymnastics programme is already up and running throughout the North West, with the programme available for school years Reception through to year 6. The project is working in partnership with the Association for Physical Education.
So far over 70 schools across the North West have joined Beth and the team for their school gymnastics, and many more are set to join throughout this academic year. Beth talked to us
about what makes Gymnastics such a great sport for children and for adults.

What would you say are the benefits of Gymnastics and introducing it into the school

Certainly it teaches discipline. The thing with Gymnastics is that it’s more fundamental movements, so it’s teaching them about balance, strength and also teaches them motivation and determination. These are just a few of the different reasons why I would encourage parents to get children to try gymnastics at a young age.

The Total Gymnastics programme gives teachers valuable experience working alongside a qualified coach, and the pupils the opportunity to receive high level training. The children are taught a wide spectrum of skills including rolling, jumping, balancing and travelling as well as improving their strength and flexibility.

What advice would you give a parent whose child wants to try Gymnastics?

My advice would be to first find a local club and the best place to do this is on The British Gymnastics site, which has a search engine you can use to find the nearest Gymnastics Club.
Try to get them to go along with a friend because it can be a little bit daunting if they go on their own. If they enjoy it and they have a friend there it’s more likely that they’ll stay.

The total gymnastics programme also aims to offer children attending after school clubs in conjunction with the curriculum more opportunity to try the sport and they are also given the opportunity to join a club and progress through awards schemes and achieve badges, stickers and certificates.

A lot of our readers might think that gymnastics is for younger people. Is this true?

Actually sometimes parents will say to me my child’s 9 years old is it too late? I’d say it’s never too late. Even at an older age they’re still going to pick up the discipline and coordination.

Recently Total Gymnastics Academies was awarded approved provider status by Manchester Active Schools, which will allow them to offer even more schools their gymnastics programme. Beth Tweddle’s School of Gymnastics is now available for all Manchester primary schools and is branching out across the North of the UK, bringing specialist coaches into schools to deliver a unique gymnastics programme to any year group.

Do you think Gymnastics could benefit fully grown adults?

Many of the British Gymnastics associated clubs will offer adult classes. It’s great for fitness and for a bit of a laugh. So just find some place that’s nearby and find some friends to go along with. You can still learn new skills.

Nutrition is important in most sports. How important is it in gymnastics?

Obviously for an elite level gymnast it’s important to follow a healthy balanced diet. When I was competing in the Olympics I was training for about 5-6 hours a day, so it was important that after my sessions I was replacing the energy I had used. And with the youngsters again it’s a healthy balanced diet so just encourage them to eat well. Nobody’s saying they can’t have a treat everyone deserves a treat now and then. Teaching the youngsters sport and healthy eating is a good lifestyle choice.

What do you see as the future of Total Gymnastics?

I would love to see Total Gymnastics go nationwide. One of the reasons I retired is that I found myself gravitating towards the youngsters and loved to help them rather than doing my own work. I realised my desire for competition had changed and it wasn’t a bad thing. I just want every child to try gymnastics for the enjoyment factor and the social aspect. The children in our classes make so many new friends. I’ve got a lot of friends I’ve made throughout my journey and I’m still in contact with them.

Beth Tweddle was the first female gymnast from Great Britain to win a medal at the European Championships, World Championships, and Olympic Games. Beth represented Great Britain at three Olympic Games. She is the 2012 Olympic bronze medalist on uneven bars, the 2006 and 2010 World Champion on the uneven bars and the 2009 World Champion on floor exercise.
For more information on Total Gymnastics and Beth Tweddle visit:

Article by Christopher Willingham Mncp

Christopher is a writer and mental health care professional. To book an appointment contact Christopher at or Tel: 07779121743


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