The young coaches got tired of the insecure atmosphere and founded a new gymnastics club – “We need to do more radical things”

The young coaches got tired of the insecure atmosphere and

The rebirth of gymnastics. The motto of Mariposa, a gymnastics club that started its journey at the beginning of January, is based on strong values ​​and the personal experiences of four young coaches.

They tried to develop the working atmosphere in their previous club in a more positive direction, but the work seemed pointless. The coaches understood that change requires courage and great actions.

They started a new club.

– It seems that not everyone is ready for change, or at least there is no safe environment for the coaches to do what they want. The pressure of the sports culture is so strong, says Voimisteluseura Mariposa’s executive director and coach Alisa Karukannas.

– Insecurity does not only affect gymnasts, it also affects coaches. I felt that something more radical had to be done, that the culture of the sport would start to change. Those of us who have the courage and resources must push this change forward.

The coaching culture of gymnastics has become a big topic of conversation after Urheilu reported in November about the suspicions directed at the former head coach of the Finnish national team.

Former head coach of the national team From Laura Aho were suspected of years of improper activity. The gymnasts talked, for example, about their constant dieting and the resulting health problems.

Read also: The former gymnastics national team coach received a disciplinary sanction for improper behavior

After the news coverage, the sport and coaching culture of gymnastics has been discussed more widely in the public.

– Time alone with these own thoughts has been allowed. It’s quite a struggle with yourself when you see wrong treatment of athletes. It is mentally difficult to deal with, Alisa Karukannas continues.

The coaches who founded the new club themselves are familiar with training under the guidance of tough authorities. Rhythmic gymnastics has its roots in Russia, where hard methods are commonplace. Coaching may include, for example, office rolling, manipulation and weight management.

Many young coaches continue in coaching positions after their own careers. Some want to work in different ways, humanely. For some, the methods learned are deeply rooted.

– As a gymnast, the self-esteem of many has been destroyed, and as a coach, there is no self-confidence and no courage to do one’s own thing. Your former coach might be your colleague. It is difficult to change the operation, and approval is important for a young coach, Karukannas analysed.

– Old clubs would need new managers, new coaches who would be in favor of reforms.

Fliku 82 is a pioneer in ethics

Mariposa wants to do things in a new way.

In the club, we start from the idea that each gymnast is good on their own. No one should be bullied or humiliated. Security and transparency are key issues.

The same values ​​are also considered important in the Gymnastics Club Fliku 82, which has been operating for decades. The Helsinki club, which started its activities in the early 1980s and focuses on balance gymnastics and team gym, paid attention to ethical issues from the very beginning.

– It is important to us that the operating environment is safe both mentally and physically for the children and that it increases the child’s self-esteem. Here you can experience success and joy, and you can enjoy the sport for a long time, Fliku’s executive director and coach Blue Mantila states.

– The children spend a large part of their free time here at the hall, and that is why it is important that the coach and the coached have a good relationship.

Fliku’s head coach Mine Sofuoglu says that the conflicts between adults must not be visible to children.

– Children take models from adults, and it is really important that the interactions between adults are in order, Sofuoglu says.

At Fliku, parents are kept informed about the club’s affairs. Transparency goes a long way.

– Feelings are often asked, that with a really low threshold, you can easily intervene if something has seemed boring. Whenever you work with people, all kinds of situations can come up. The most important thing is how to deal with them and how to move on from them, says Mantila.

– Parents are sensitively included in the discussions. They are always aware if there has been a conflict situation that had to be addressed, Sofuoglu says.

Success does not require inhuman training methods

In connection with the discussion about coaching culture, there has been talk about whether certain coaching methods can be justified by sports success.

Mariposa and Fliku 82 think that success does not require inhuman and harsh training methods. Medals are achieved when the athlete feels well.

– We put education first and only then come competitive goals. A healthy young person is the number one priority, Sofuoglu states.

– The best are the moments of joy and of course also the moments of sadness. It’s great to be present and support the gymnast. When you can be a safe adult for a child. The best moments are when you connect with the child, Karukannas smiles.