Rhythmic Gymnastics 101: You’ve found a Rhythmic Gymnastics Club....now what?

There are almost 100 Clubs offering Rhythmic Gymnastics across South Africa. You’ve found a Club and your child is excited to start. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind.


Is the Coach a qualified SAGF Coach?

The South African Gymnastics Federation (SAGF) is the official organisation responsible for regulating the nine Gymnastics Disciplines in South Africa. 

Coaches need to pass a number of courses prescribed by the SAGF to ensure that they are qualified to coach Gymnasts. Their Club also needs to be registered with the SAGF, otherwise Gymnasts are not able to compete in Regional, Provincial or National Competitions.

What do you need to budget for?

  • Training Fees: Paid either per month or per term depending on the Club Rules
  • SAGF Registration Fee 
  • Club Registration Fee: Not all Clubs charge this
  • Rhythmic Gymnastics Equipment: Some Coaches do not require Beginner Rhythmic Gymnasts to buy their own set of equipment immediately. However, once they start competing it’s important that each Rhythmic Gymnast has her own set of equipment
  • Club Leotard: If your child competes in any competitions
  • Club Tracksuit: If your child competes in any competitions
  • Competition Entry Fees

Once a Gymnast competes at a National Competition she will be required to wear the Provincial Leotard and Tracksuit.  


Where would your child start?

Depending on the age of your child and her skill level she will probably start in either Level 1, 2 or 3.

SAGF has developed a comprehensive Levels Programme that systematically teaches Rhythmic Gymnasts the apparatus technique and body requirements needed for each Level. 

Level 1, 2 and 3 have 3 set routines; Level 4, 5, 6 and 7 have 4 set routines; Level 8, 9 and 10 have voluntary routines. Routines are done with or without hand apparatus to music.


What Equipment is required for each Level?

Level Equipment 
Level 1 Rope
Level 2 Hoop and Ball
Level 3 Clubs and Ribbon
Level 4 Rope, Hoop and Ball
Level 5 Rope, Clubs and Ribbon
Level 6 Hoop, Ball ad Clubs
Level 7 Rope, Ball and Ribbon
Level 8 Hoop, Ball and Clubs
Level 9 Same equipment as Junior Olympic
Level 10

Same equipment as Junior Olympic (set by FIG) for under 15

Same equipment as Senior Olympic (set by FIG) for over 15

What would your child wear to training?

  • Leotard / tank top
  • Shorts/ hotpants
  • Socks
Some Rhythmic Gymnastics Clubs have a training uniform that they require the Gymnasts to wear.

What could a Rhythmic Gymnastics Training Session could look like?

  • Warm-up
  • Stretching
  • Basic body preparation
  • Apparatus technique
  • Routines with music
  • Conditioning and Cool-off

In the beginning your child would attend a training session once a week for an hour to an hour and half. The time and number of sessions increases gradually as the child progresses through the Levels.


Why can't my child miss a Training Session every now and again?

Try and attend every training session. When you’re building a house, your most important component of the structure is a solid foundation. Constructing a solid foundation takes time, patience and commitment. If anything is missed, at a later stage the Gymnast will struggle with new skills and technique. You're going to see 'cracks in the house' due the foundation not being strong enough.

Each lesson is important as it gives the Coach the time to train the Rhythmic Gymnast and the Rhythmic Gymnast to master new skills systematically. You cannot rush the basics. 

What about Competitions?

Coaches are able to enter Gymnast in Club, Regional and Provincial Competitions. To compete at National Competitions, Gymnasts have to qualify through the Provincial Competition.

Managing expectations?

Don’t have unrealistic expectations of your child. Not everyone goes to the Olympic Games - this should never even be a factor in the beginning. Rhythmic Gymnastics is an amazing and unique girls sport. It helps develop spatial awareness, hand-eye co-ordination, musicality, creativity, body strength, flexibility, posture and most importantly self-confidence and discipline. 

It is important that your child enjoys every minute of the process and is encouraged and inspired to try new skills.

Photo Credits: www.sport-kid.net and www.fulltwist.net

Michelle Kleu
Michelle Kleu