Building a successful club like Esprit Gymnastics Club

Building a successful club like Esprit Gymnastics Club…one of the great presentations at Sports Marketing Network’s Sustainable Community Sports event on 26th June at Watford FC, Vicarage Road

By Mark Hows, Chairman Esprit Gymnastics Club, Swindon

Mark has worked for the last 30 years in marketing and graphic design when aged only 21 he started his own company, the mhd partnership ltd.

With no knowledge of gymnastics, other than being married to a coach, he agreed, in 2004, to help 2 coaches, who were training in a Leisure Centre, find a permanent home for gymnastics in Swindon and Esprit was born. Mark’s philosophy of customer first has ensured that in only 8 years, the club has grown from humble beginnings into one of the most successful gymnastic clubs in the South West.

With more than 750 members attending its 20,000sq ft facility, working across Awards gymnastics, Women’s Artistic, Rhythmic, Display, Tumbling, Adult and pre-school, it has already produced British Champions, International medal winners and an Olympian competing at this year’s games in London.

The centre is also home to Martial Arts, Dance, Pilates and Zumba schools as well as Sports Massage therapists etc. and regularly holds BG courses, English and GB training and selection events.

Here’s how Mark describes the success of Esprit: If you ask gymnastics coach the question above you usually get the same answers…

  • Take great coaches
  • Give them great equipment
  • Give them great premises
  • Give them the time they need
  • Give them talented children
  • Give them lots of funding to support them

Well I’m not a gymnastics coach and know nothing about the sport, so when I agreed to help start Esprit, I looked at that question.

What I saw was, when a coach looks at the question, they think, ‘how do you build a successful ‘gymnast’, but the question actually was – ‘how do you build a successful club’?

And you create a successful club by first identifying WHO your customer is, identifying what they want and then set about exceeding their expectations.

Once you have achieved this, you will be on your way to having a successful club and once you have a successful club you will invariably then develop great coaches, working on good equipment, in great premises, with the time and funding they need to support talented gymnasts.

If you want to learn more about this event and how to book a place, contact Svend Elkjaer on 01423 326 660 or email

This entry was posted in Community, Customer, Enterprise, Event, Partnerships, Sport. Bookmark the permalink.

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