The 2013 to 2016 cycle of gymnastics is going to be a very busy one  for all of us in Scotland; we hope it brings a legacy of success and growth to the sport. MAGym spoke to Men’s Artistic Judging Officer, Pam Bowie about upcoming events in the competition schedule and what this means for clubs.

Learning opportunities.

To ensure that the competition programme manages to keep apace with how fast things are moving, Scottish Gymnastics are banging the development drum and looking to help build a thriving judging team in Men’s Artistic Gymnastics. On the one hand, leading up to the 2014 Commonwealth Games, the Glasgow 2014 team are working with governing bodies of sport to provide excellent learning opportunities; ensuring our top officials are ready when the action begins and that they continue to work effectively long after the final Scottish somersault nails its landing to the roar of the home crowd.

Continuing the trend, Pam and the Scottish Gymnastics’ education team are rolling out their second phase of judge education courses for this new cycle. As Pam puts it:

Significant interest in Men’s Artistic judging has been recognised as awareness grows amongst the clubs that having several skilled judges on hand to compliment the excellent work of their coaches and gymnasts is invaluable.

New courses announced.

Scottish Gymnastics are running a Club Judge course in Edinburgh on Saturday the 12th and Sunday the 13th of October. A Regional course follows a month later running from Friday 8th to Sunday 10th November. More details are available on a promotion flyer sent out to clubs. If you are interested in enrolling on these upcoming courses or want full up-to-date details then visit the Scottish Gymnastics website and search in the Education Course Calendar.

The importance and joy of judging.

Judging in Men’s Artistic Gymnastics is one of the most important roles in our programme; without judges the gymnasts simply wouldn’t have the opportunity to compete and would, therefore, have nothing to work towards. Many volunteers who take up judging find the work incredibly rewarding, not just because it’s satisfying and interesting to help out and ensure fair scoring at events but also because the judges work together so well – existing judges will tell you they support each other and thrive on the social interaction in and out of competition. As judges increase their skills, knowledge and level of qualification over time so increases the opportunities available to them to judge, travel, and ultimately represent their country on the international scene. For many gymnasts, this (along with coaching) is a fantastic way to stay involved and to continue to reap enjoyment out of the sport long after they hang up their hand guards.

Pam recommends that new judges take their time progressing up through the qualification tree starting with the Club Judge course, which is the introductory level suitable for anyone and where they have the chance to learn without being overwhelmed. Pam can be contacted via Scottish Gymnastics.