Seven hours of training every day was worth it
Beaconsfield School year seven pupil Finlay Morgan writes about his experience at a gymnastics training camp at the national training centre at Lilleshall
IN November, I competed in the men’s artistic gymnastics finals at Birmingham’s GMAC centre. I came fifth and, as a result of this, I was offered a place on a training camp at Lilleshall, the Gymnastics National Training Centre in Shropshire.
This training camp took place in the last week of term, which meant that I had to miss a few days of school, but it was really worth it as I had an amazing time.
The training centre is one of the finest gymnastics training facilities in the world and offers a base for top-level international athletes. As the home of the British Gymnastics Association since the 1970s, the centre is well equipped to cater for all levels of gymnastic training, and you often see world famous gymnasts, many of whom have completed in the Olympics. When I went last year, I met Sam Oldham and Max Whitlock and this year I met Daniel Purvis and Christian Thomas, who gave us an interview where we were able to ask him questions. I found this quite inspiring as he is the current international champion on high bar.
It took two-and-a-half hours to get there and my coach drove my training partner and I to the camp. When we arrived, we went straight to the gym to start training, a session that lasted three hours, followed by lunch and a break until 2.30pm when we then trained for a further four hours. We had a quick break to check into our rooms and take a shower and then came down for dinner in the dining hall. This was followed by our evening activity – on the night of our arrival we watched the 1998 Olympics final.
The rooms at Lilleshall are very luxurious and all the rooms have inspirational quotes on them, the quote on our room was “Nothing can stop the person with the right mental attitude from achieving their goal; nothing on earth can help a person with the wrong mental attitude”.
The rest of the days followed the same format with training after breakfast for three hours and then again in the afternoon for four hours and with an evening activity, including basketball and football, and we also watched a movie.
Lilleshall was an amazing experience, made even better this year because my friend came
HARD WORK: Beaconsfield School Year 7 gymnastics ace Finlay Morgan with me. The training was not too demanding but the long days were quite tiring.
I learnt quite a few new skills, including landing my first double-twisting somersault. Overall, I had great fun and would do it again in flash.