Year 2017 in Review

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What a year we have had! 

As I am sitting down to write this and thinking back over the last twelve months I am extremely proud at what we achieved this year and so excited as to what we have to look forward to next year! 

The best comment I have heard from someone is that if you don't think you are making progress with something then look back on the position you where in this time last year. If I look back on what we are doing now, what our plans are compared to last year we have made an amazing amount of progress. 

Class Development

We have developed a full Athlete Development Pathway from the ages of four right up to adults. We have classes six days a week with over 180 involved in those, which is a huge leap up from where we were last year. We were only starting our 4-6 programme and there was obviously no guarantee of it being succesful. Since then we have established two groups and kids have been promoted into our 7-10 group, which is great to see everyone progressing. We have a full pathway of classes, from 4-6, 7-10, 11-14 and Adults, with different levels within those classes. This also includes after-school programmes throughout a variety of different schools, obviously our evening classes, and we are also now involved with dlr sports-partnership, having officially become the only recognised Calisthenics Sports Club in the country!

We now have within our club a full set of Athletes who have competed nationally at the Bar Monkey Festival, which was a fantastic achievement for them and I am still very proud of all of them. They are the first set of kids to compete in an underage Calisthenics Competition in Ireland and that is a phenomenal achievement! 


Bar Monkey Festival

Obviously organising the Bar Monkey Festival, which feels like a lifetime ago now, was another fantastic achievement for us, and another fantastic event which opened more people's eyes to Calisthenics and the fantastic level of Athletes that are in Ireland! I am very proud that we have managed to organise something as large scale as the Bar Monkey Festival and it can only get bigger each year. We have extremely exciting plans for next years, and I am sure each year we will just continue to learn more and more, and the level of athletes will continue to improve. When you look at the age demographic of the Athletes involved, not to mention all our underage kids who are improving all the time, then it is only going to be more exciting each year as the standard of everyone continues to improve so quickly! 


Bar Monkey Bash

Everyone involved in our club I am proud to say has improved in some way or other, whether that is just through improving their confidence or learning a small skill, I am really proud of everyone who has been involved.

We finished the year off essentially with the Bar Monkey Bash, a fantastic day where the kids that were there got to show everyone who brought them how much they have learned since joining Bar Monkey. It was an extremely proud day for me seeing how much everyone enjoyed showing the skills they have learned and reminding myself that this all started with me training alone in a park! 

Again, going from the Bar Monkey Festival in July to the Bar Monkey Bash in December, it was amazing to see the progress of everyone and the increase we had in terms of people participating at competition level! I'm sure everyone who was there would agree that the guys really done themselves proud. It was also a fantastic day for they guys that watched as they got to see another level they can aspire to.

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International Calisthenics Cup

Obviously I would have to mention our experience at The International Calisthenics Cup in Eindhoven, where I won! One of the biggest highlights of our year initially just to go over, but then to go on and win was an incredible feeling. It was a surreal out of body experience during the competition and the adrenaline running through you just takes over. But it was an amazing experience and especially with it being our first international competition I don't think there will be one as special. It was a brand new experience, and all it has done is increase our interest in going on and competing again at other international events. This event helped us to put Bar Monkey on the map and it genuinely was an amazing feeling being able to show everyone at the Bar Monkey Bash the trophy. This gives everyone involved belief that they can go and do something like that too and this is why, as I say all the time, I am always so excited about the future. It is amazing for me to say that we as a club have the first three Irish International Athletes as coaches and I know it means we are doing things right and our members are learning from some of the best athletes in the country, which to me is an amazing achievement for all of us involved. I know how much work myself, Aaron and Jamie put in to coaching and our training and it just amazing to see so many others sharing the same interest as us.


What's the plan for 2018 then?

As always, I am excited by the future. Excited by it's possibilites and what we can achieve this year. 

As I said, looking back on where we are now compared to last year we are in a stronger position. I want to be able to do the same again next year, I want to look back and see that we have made more progress again. I am now a sports leadership tutor with dlr sports partnership, meaning I will be teaching in secondary schools and hopefully developing more coaches, with the aim that next year we will have more people involved in the coaching side of the sport. Currently we have three full time coaches and two part time. 

I am currently deveoping Coaching Programmes that are in conjunction with our Athlete Development Pathway so that this will hopefully lead to more clubs across the country as they are shown how we currently structure our programmes. 

We have plas to enter more international competitions and train more internationally next year to gain more experience and bring that back to the club and improve our own teaching by learning different methods and styles of movement. 

We have so much to look forward to with regards to our classes as the kids are only improving all the time, and it is obviously hugely exciting to have another year working with them and seeing how far they can progress.

We hope to have more National Competitions for our groups to be involved with and part of, but also not too many so that they can also just focus on training as opposed to just training for competitions. Two completely different styles of training and they have to be balanced accordingly, especially at a young age. 

We have plans to improve upon the Bar Monkey Festival again next year, I am sure that the standard will be extremely high and exciting again. We also have plans to introduce team competitions for adult sections, creating more team ethics surrounding training, as opposed to just individual competitions.

All in all, it is just another year to get excited about, another year of working hard, making progress and being excited by what the possibilities are.

I hope you all had a great Christmas and you are as excited about the New Year as I am. 

Happy New Year!