Coach Brian Le Roux determined to buck stereotype as girls-only pastime
Brian Le Roux is determined to eradicate outdated views towards gymnastics and help encourage more males to take up the sport.
In his role as head coach of the Bermuda Gymnastics Association, Le Roux is on a mission to help change longstanding perceptions surrounding the sport, believing for too long it has been wrongly considered something for the girls.
As a result, he feels that males of all ages have been deterred from considering gymnastics as a viable pastime despite the multitude of physical and mental benefits as well as providing transferable skills for a host of other sports.
“There is definitely a lack of males in gymnastics,” Le Roux said. “The main reason behind that is a lot of people still hold on to the idea that it is a girls sport, which is not the case at all.
“Historically, that has always been the main issue and I’d like to change that perception.
“There is also the issue that women have had the focus on them when it comes to gymnastics and what people see of the sport, so males don’t see themselves in the sport.
“It is a great sport for males of all ages. Gymnastics can give you the foundations for pretty much any other sport with transferable skills.
“People consider it ’girlie’ because they don’t believe it is challenging, but that is completely untrue.
“It’s all about core strength, balance and co-ordination. On top of that there is also the mental aspect to it. It is a really tough and challenging sport, and you have to be very physically and mentally focused to be able to do it.”
Despite concerns surrounding a lack of males in the sport, the BGA is actually bucking the trend, boasting a full boys team who have enjoyed medal success overseas in recent years.
However, Le Roux is still aiming to increase numbers within the club and believes the key to enticing more males is to introduce them to the sport at the earliest possible age.
“We have a team of around ten boys at the club already who have done really well,” he added. “My aim is to grow that group; I’d love to see that happen.
“As a club we run a class just for boys on Saturday at Saltus Grammar School, but we also have a number of co-ed classes as well. That way we can have boys and girls taking part together and enjoying it.
“For me, the key is to catch them early. It’s the reason why we try to get into the schools and preschools and attempt to identify possible gymnasts at an early age. If we can do that, there is a greater chance that they will want to keep participating.”