South Essex's women's section continues to go from strength to strength, with our gymnasts now starting to impress at national competitions. The women's side of the sport in this county has truly been put on the map by now retired British legend, and friend of our club, Beth Tweddle.
The female competitors use four different pieces of apparatus: Vault, Uneven Bars, Beam and Floor.
The Vault should have a very powerful and fast run up which enables the gymnast to perform a high and long vault which will include one or more rotations and finishes with a controlled landing.
In a Bar routine, the gymnast will perform swinging and continuous movements which include movements in both directions, above and below the bar, twists and somersaults and an acrobatic dismount to land.
The Beam is seen to be one of the hardest pieces of apparatus to master as the width of the beam is only 10cm. During the routine they need to perform acrobatic elements, leaps, jumps and turns whilst demonstrating elegance, flexibility, rhythm and balance.
During a Floor exercise the gymnast will include movements that show strength, flexibility and balance and combine moves such as somersaults, twists and leaps which is performed to music.
Girls for these squads are selected by experienced coaches following an initial trial. The girls are chosen because they demonstrate natural physical requirements and potential.
Once in this squad the gymnasts follow a training programme designed to improve flexibility, strength and coordination which will allow them to develop the required skills at a later stage. Regular attendance is very important for gymnasts in these squads.
These squads are for selected gymnasts who wish to work towards taking part in competitions.
Gymnastics is a demanding sport and squad members and their families need to realise that entry into a squad requires enormous commitment.
In order to be successful a squad gymnast will need to attend regularly, be committed to their training programme and develop a high level of self-discipline.