Gymnastics PR problem.

Everyone that I’ve spoken about regarding going to a gymnastics club, kinda gives me an ‘eyebrows raised, fake interested, glazed over eyes’ type of response. However if I was to mention, martial arts, people would get it straight away. Everyone that I manage to get to ‘go’ to a gym… seems to love it and want to go again.

Whys that then?

I’m guessing its an age thing. I’m an old git, so its not the norm. But then maybe thats part of the problem too. I know I would have loved to be doing this ten years ago. But actually didn’t know it was even available to me. Hence the PR question. I bet nearly everyone enjoyed mucking about on the gym equipment at school. So where exactly the transition from ‘yay’ to ‘nah’ occurs in peoples heads, I’m not sure.

Why can’t gymnastics be cool? Could there be a 2 tier approach? To ‘teaching’ the fun healthy element as opposed to the ‘coaching – we’re all off to the olympics’ approach. There’s enough free-runners and traceurs, and garden tramp flippers to target with a decent PR spin. Maybe its budget? Maybe its because most gymnasiums are government subsidised, so ‘excess’ cash for PR isn’t available.

If so, that sucks… cause its 2007, and PR doesn’t have to cost a penny anymore.


Filed under free running, Gymnastics, parkour

2 responses to “Gymnastics PR problem.

  1. Pete Cracknell

    It’s a very interesting question – I’ve spent most of my life trying to understand why gymnastics lacks mass public interest, (even if I am obviously biased).
    I believe there are 2 core reasons, 1 that people believe they will never be able to accomplish what they see on TV/youtube, or that even if they could they would risk injuring themselves.
    Secondly it’s got quite a stale appearance. As soon as gymnastics got tweaked, moves re-worked and renamed as tricking it became a lot more popular. Ask the average person what springs to mind when you say gymnastics and most will say leotards, 15 yr old tiny girls, beam and poncey dancing.
    I used to run gymnastics at University and you could tell guys were embarrassed coming along for the first time, as from their peers point of view they may as well have joined ballet. There are male teens out there who don’t want to admit to wanting to start gymnastics in fear of ridicule, but finally grow a pair and try it at University (or later of course!). It’s only 6 months later when they’re impressing the ladies by the lake with backflips and a six pack they realise how great the sport is!

    If BG (British Gymnastics) or FIG (FIFA for gymnastics) were to modernise and embrace tricking rather than repel it they could attract a whole new market (15+ males). Or even if Tricking one day got it’s own governing body and BG/FIG partnered up to provide structured guidance/insurance to the audience they’ve never really had:
    ‘How’d you flip like that, I wanna learn?!’

  2. some good points there man. I do think tho, people who take their casual flipping seriously, ‘will’ eventually find their way to a gym. (like the cream always rises etc) … but as for hitting people at a younger age and giving it a ‘cool’ or at least not uncool label would benefit everyone. There’s this big problem with breaking tradition regarding long established sports, its really hard to loosen the reins for any sports body, even if the end result is ultimately more enthusiasts. I recently saw a piece on the news about Poll Vault sessions happening on the beach, whereby they can introduce more people to the discipline. Whoever dreamed up that idea I take my hat off… so maybe all is not lost after all.

    personally I wanted to do gymnastics 10yrs ago… but lacked facilities and confidence to give it a blast.

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