When in recent years there have been fewer and fewer competitions in our district for the lowest divisions, I myself began to organise a mutual gymnastics competition to offer my D2/5th division gymnasts something more. Sometimes I did this alone, other times with a trainer from another club. I also organised the club championships for a number of years.
Tips and tricks for organising a gymnastics competition!
Organising a gymnastics competition always gave me great pleasure and a lot of satisfaction afterwards. And with a few handy tips, I am sure that organising competitions is not such a big task. So in this blog, I will share a few tips and tricks on how to organise a (mutual) gymnastics competition*.
How do you organise a gymnastics competition?
1. Start on time
This may sound very logical, but in practice I noticed that the organisation is sometimes started up too late. You then make it unnecessarily difficult for yourself and it costs a lot more time in the end. Make sure you have a date and location at the beginning of the season. That way you can ask for help and arrange for judges right away!
2. Save your documents
Organising something for the first time is always more work. If you do it right the first time and adapt immediately, you can rely on those documents every year after that. I usually let registrations run online via a Google Form that I could easily adapt every year. I also always made the counting table files that way because someone had put them together once and in the following years I only adjusted the names. This also applied to the time table and the participants list.
3. Be flexible
When organising a gymnastics competition, you need to be flexible, both in your preparations and on the day itself. There are gymnasts who drop out and there are gymnasts who join in, often just when you have already completed your schedule. That is unfortunate, but try not to make it bigger than it is. Often it is solved in no time! I have always advocated a relaxed atmosphere during these competitions. That way it is much easier to solve things. For example, if there is a gymnast who has lost the plot during her floor exercise, let her redo that exercise. These are competitions where that should be possible, I think! And how nice it is when it works afterwards 😊
4. Work with deadlines
Although it is good to be flexible, it is also good for you to work with deadlines. By this I mean that registrations have to be in before a certain time and you as an organisation have to announce the classification in time. Furthermore, it is useful to collect the registration fee before a certain time to ensure that participants will participate. If it is too informal, there are also enough who easily cancel and that is a shame if you have put a lot of time in it!
5. Use all assistance offered
Do you have many parents who would like to help? Then always try to use them, no matter how small the task. It is a shame if parents offer their help and you don't make use of it. There is a big chance that they will not volunteer next time, especially if it happens more often.
6. "Digital payment"
Often new parents do not know that they have to pay an entrance fee and do not have the cash to pay it. The association had bought an ATM machine (from SumUp) that worked great during these events and the money came directly into the association's account. Because this device was not always available, I used Tikkies the last time. There is an option to make QR-codes and print them out. By having a number of fixed amounts available via a QR code and a QR code to adjust the amount yourself, people could also pay digitally.
7. Keep it simple
In the end you organise these competitions for the gymnasts. Although it is super nice to have a raffle and a goody bag for the gymnasts, it is not necessarily necessary for a fun experience. Judges are also super fun, but a lot of hassle. So keep it simple. Provide medals and a diploma. And take care of thank you's for the volunteers and judges. Make sure there is something to eat and a lunch for jury members and volunteers who are there all day and then keep it simple. Also for judging and music, make it as easy as possible for yourself. For example, just play the music on your laptop and make sure you have prepared it in advance. D-scores, if you want to show them, can also be written on a small whiteboard!
8. Do not take pictures
Actually, this falls under the heading "Keep it simple", but I will mention it separately. Because of the privacy rules, you can't just have photos taken. Besides the fact that it costs extra work to find a photographer, it also costs more work to arrange that only those gymnasts are on the picture who are allowed to be. Last time I did ask permission from the trainers to share names of gymnasts when registering. But we didn't put anything online. Also on the day itself, we have asked parents to indicate whether they had problems with score lists being distributed among the trainers. We also stated that photos could only be used for private purposes. So I think we have covered the most important issues!
9. Use your network
If you have already organised a gymnastics competition a few times and know your parents a bit better, use the knowledge that they have. I approached some parents personally at one point because I knew exactly what they wanted and could do for me. You can then approach them personally. I had a parent who wanted to do the printing for me and a parent who wanted to do the thank-yous. There was also a parent who I could always use for the catering and I could always ask my little brother to design a diploma. The most tedious part was arranging the judges, but a fellow trainer was a judge herself and had all the contacts. So I asked her to use her network to arrange jurors! Together, it was easily arranged.
So, if you want to organise a gymnastics competition next season, you now have some tips and tricks that will definitely make it a success. Do you already have experience with organising a gymnastics competition? Let me know in the comments.
* The official competitions require a greater investment of time and must be conducted according to certain rules. I also have experience with this, but it is not the focus of this blog.
Also read my other blogs on the Gymnastics Tools website.