Following the Olympic Games, there has been a full review of the High Performance programme within British Gymnastics with the view of a complete integration of the Olympic disciplines with the non-Olympic disciplines.
In light of this, previous tumbling National Coach, Craig Lowther has officially been appointed the Head National Coach of trampolining, tumbling and double mini trampoline (DMT). Craig will be accountable and responsible for delivering High Performance technical programmes, with a goal of designing and implementing a programme of selection and activity and contributing to a sustainable performance legacy within the three disciplines.
Craig has achieved great success on a national and international scale evident by his total of 134 World and European medals produced in acrobatic gymnastics and tumbling throughout his career.
Tim Jones, British Gymnastics Head of Performance Sport said: “Craig brings a wealth of experience and expertise to his new role as a former gymnast and National Coach. He is a familiar face on the World scene and we hope this will help us to build the perception and reputation of our Programmes at the start of this Rio cycle.
I am sure that his no-nonsense approach will accelerate the speed of development of all of his disciplines, and we can look forward to some successful years ahead”.
Having now begun his new role, British Gymnastics thought it was time to catch up with Craig to find out a little more about his background, his plans for and the years ahead….
Craig, tell us a little bit about your background in gymnastics?
I competed in the 1988 World Championships and I did every single one up to 1994. I won some World and European medals and travelled the world to places like Russia and China. Back then in this country there weren’t many places to train that had a full length tumble, so it made it very difficult at international events therefore I went abroad to learn and progress. I started coaching in 1993, when my own coach asked me to help out. I really enjoyed it and when I retired in 94 I started coaching acrobatic gymnastics including the men’s fours at the 1996 World Championships. I also had some tumblers competing and winning medals at an international level and it went from there really.
Your passion for gymnastics and coaching is evident by your enthusiasm shown at the end of the tumble run – is this something that is important to you?
I work so hard with the kids prior to competitions and I guess really show my emotions for two reasons - it’s a release for them after working so hard and for me I’m over joyed for them as prior to their performance the training regime is really intense. I’m really passionate about gymnastics, I don’t think you can stop showing your emotions and I think it’s important not to, up to the routine I’m very intense so once they have landed and done the best they can that’s it for me and I’m really happy. I coach like this too, I have a strong work ethic with them, they work hard but I make sure it’s not just about the gym and competitions it’s also a life experience outside. Anything and everything I do is the best for them.
What are your thoughts on tumbling moving back to sit within trampolining competitions in the UK and what do you feel you can bring to trampoline gymnastics?
I think the move into trampoline gymnastics was a natural one for tumbling, especially as it has been done at world level for a while now. The history of tumbling used to lie within acrobatics but we are moving forward now and trampolining opens more doors. It’s really exciting having them all together for the first time, I’m excited because I think I can bring a passion to the programme and it can work like it has in tumbling we have the ability to really push into the medals at World level .
What are your plans for the 2016 cycle?
In 2013 I really want to make an impact at the World Championships and World Age Groups and the British Championships in July are a key qualification for this. I really want to sort a strong junior squad programme running ahead of 2016. The key is the structure and strategy introducing defined programmes and targets to reach. I have now moved all the national squads to Lilleshall as it will really unite all the disciplines and after all it is the home of gymnastics. Overall I’m really excited about my new role and where we are headed.