I first became aware of the judging courses as an adult gymnast and parent of young gymnasts. I saw it as a way to pay something back to CETC after being a member for a couple of years and enjoying the friendly, welcoming atmosphere and dedication to the sport that the Club has. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a world champion or a total beginner, the Club is always focussed on your personal development, so I wanted to do something to help. I signed up to the Club Judge course in October 2018, and I was extremely grateful to receive Club funding to cover the course fee.
The course itself takes place over two days, and is run by very experienced judges. The people there had a wide range of experience, from previous judges who were refreshing their qualification, to gymnasts just old enough to qualify, to parents with very little knowledge of trampolining at all. Everybody was in much the same boat – we were all nervous! It’s a pretty intense two days, as we covered both the rules of competitions and judging and then moved on to watching videos of routines, learning what to look for and how to score each move. I had had no idea, despite learning for over two years, how many mistakes I was making! I went back to class determined to make my tucks tighter and kick-outs earlier. There are two parts to the exam – a multiple choice paper and a video exam, where you score 10 routines. I found the video element by far the hardest, but the instructors took us through everything repeatedly and really took the time to make sure everyone felt ready.
I judged at Club Champs in December, but the real test came with judging at the first Scottish Gymnastics competition of the year in Glenrothes in January. I was anxious about making mistakes, but the Chair of Judges was extremely reassuring and walked us all through it. He got us to practice judging the competitors warming up, and I was able to see that I was being a bit too generous and toughen up my scores appropriately! The day flew by and I even judged DMT in the afternoon. I didn’t get it right every time, but I could see that on the whole, my scores were reasonably consistent with the rest of the panel, and that helped my confidence. I’m looking forward to the February competition when I’ll be judging again, and I’d encourage anyone to go through the course – the sport needs volunteers to keep going!
(Rhiannon Virgo - parent)