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Gymnastics: a coach of 10 years explains the sport's appeal

People always ask me: how did you become a Gymnastics coach? I simply saw a newspaper advert.

I had a genuine passion for the sport, and no previous experience was necessary, so I just went for it. I turned up to do the Assistant Gymnastics Coach course and I was terrified as it was way out of my comfort zone (I am a sales person!!).

Derek Callaghan, twice Scottish Senior Champion, who competed at two Commonwealth Games and represented Scotland 40 times, took the course and it was fantastic. After the two-day course, we had to do mentored hours within a gym to gain the qualification.

Derek's dad, Robert, a well known figure in gymnastics, was delighted to have an extra pair of hands at my local Club, Falkirk School of Gymnastics, and took me on as a volunteer. Three years later, he supported me through the Womens' Artistic Club Coach qualification. Some 10 years on, I am still there and love it as much as ever.

Gymnastics is an amazing sport and contorts the body into positions that the human body was never designed to be in. If you imagine when you first teach a child a back flip, once you've done initial prep, it is a case of ''ok, so what I need you to do now is jump backwards on to your hands'' can you imagine how alien that would be?

No contest, the best thing about being a coach is seeing the look on your gymnast's face when they achieve something they truly never, ever thought they could do and with many this can even happen within a session - it is so rewarding!

Around 10 years ago, Gymnastics was ramped up across Scotland (hence the advert I answered). We now have 164 clubs and over 16,000 affiliate members of Scottish Gymnastics. The sports development objective was to encourage participation at grassroots level through the schools programme and private clubs with view to discovering gymnasts to go towards London 2012 and Glasgow 2014.

Gymnastics is the sport that takes our breath away and often looks physically impossible. Strength, grace and perfect execution combined with extraordinary power, flexibility and choreography will be on display at Glasgow 2014 in July.

Two disciplines, Artistic and Rhythmic, will unfold at The Hydro. Artistic Gymnastics was first included in 1978 and Rhythmic in 1990. The eight days of Gymnastics will start with qualification rounds with hundreds of gymnasts competing for limited places within each of the finals.

The best thing about the Commonwealth Games competition is that we'll get to see gymnasts you never normally see on an international stage. We will watch gymnasts from Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales competing, not just four nations under one GB umbrella. We can see exactly what talent we have in Scotland and who might be possibles for future Team GB.

The Team Scotland Rhythmic Gymnasts team will comprise 21-year-old Rebecca Bee (current 2014 Scottish Senior Rhythmic All-Around Champion) from Aberdeen, 15-year-old Lauren Brash from Livingston and 16-year-old Glaswegian,Victoria Clow.

Team Scotland's Men and Womens' Artistic Gymnasts will be announced by Scottish Gymnastics around the end of May.

Dan Purvis, Daniel Keatings and Frank Baines seem to be sure things and although Adam Cox competed poorly at the recent 2014 Scottish national Artistic Gymnastics Championships, he is a quality gymnast and can try to gain additional points at the final Commonwealth Invitationals in Perth at the end of April.

From a women's perspective Amy Regan as reigning Northern European All-Around Champion looks a good bet as well as Cara Kennedy, Carly Smith and Kirsty Campbell.

Our biggest hope for multiple medals has got to be Purvis as he is a fantastic all rounder. I've seen him compete on several occasions and he is focussed, precise but relaxed and always smiling and has been key in putting Scotland on the map on an international Gymnastics stage for the first time in many years.

He recently took silver, narrowly missing out on first place at the British All-around Championships at the end of March and in February, was crowned all-around Champion at the 2014 Scottish national Artistic Gymnastics Championships. Not to mention being part of the medal winning Team at London 2012, of course.

If you can't wait until the Commonwealth Gymnastics, you should get tickets for the Commonwealth Invitational for Artistic and Rhythmic Gymnastics in Perth on April 25-27. This competition provides a final opportunity for our gymnasts to gain points to go towards their potential selection.

Running alongside these invitationals will also be the 2014 Artistic Celtic Cup where Scotland compete against Wales, Northern Ireland, Ireland, Isle of Man to be crowned Champions of the Celts. A great way for you to gen up on who's who ahead of the Games.

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