Rielasingen-Worblingen: Gymnastics Arlen attaches great importance to family – and is now looking for a successor to Eric Mathis

The Turnverein (TV) Arlen is a small club with about 370 members. Especially when compared to the larger gymnastics clubs in the area at times.

While younger members are having fun with their parents while doing parent-child gymnastics in the gym, Chairman Eric Mathis, Vice Chairman Ulrich Graf and Association Secretary Stefan Brenlinger talk about the advantages such a small association should offer.

Parent-child gymnastics is popular

Lisbeth Straub-Ambrosio is the parent-child group coach. Kids between two and four years old here are supported by sports and there is a huge demand for what is on offer. “It’s all about exercise and general sports,” says Straub Ambrosio.

Coach Lisbeth Straub Ambrosio and Luis throw balls into the cones that have been prepared for this.

Coach Lisbeth Straub Ambrosio and Luis throw balls into the cones that have been prepared for this.

Kids should get their first experience with gymnastic equipment and enjoy climbing, jumping and playing ball games. The course leader is creative and always comes up with new ones for her course, which kids go through and climb with their parents.

The club was about to die

When Eric Mathis became president of the association 19 years ago, he was dying, Mathis says. At that time, there were only two gymnastics groups: one for seniors and one for seniors. Because of the age structure of about 60 members at the time, the club continued to shrink. For Eric Mathis, taking the position was tied to the condition that the association be rebuilt.

Two years later, Ulrike Graf joined the management team and created the Nordic Walking Group. This was something very special at the time. New back gymnastics groups and shows such as Tai Chi and Chi Gong have also contributed to the expansion and stability of the association. Even today they are still a part of the sports show.

Suddenly the number of members increases

Within a short time, the gymnastics club had grown to over 300 members and has remained stable ever since. The mandatory rest periods in sports operations due to the Corona pandemic have cost the club only a few members.

No sooner had any of them left, according to Eric Mathis. He is confident that the situation will return to normal and more members will actively benefit from the club’s offerings.

What makes a small gym strong?

“The family side,” says Ulrike Graf. Mathis adds that cross-group activities enhance cohesion in the club, for example through a joint hike in the fall. The club is also in a good financial position. This makes it possible to hire highly qualified trainers despite the low membership fees.

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When asked if there is any competition between gymnastics clubs in the community, the interviewees shook their heads hard. TV Arlen’s motto is: healthy sport locally. “From a mathematical point of view, we do a lot for the elderly in our community,” Stefan Breinlinger says.

It’s not about competition

At TV Arlen, you don’t play any competitive sports, so there’s no reason to compete. He illustrates this using the example of table tennis players in a club: “We are hobby and entertainment players. We meet like-minded people to play table tennis. It is all about movement and fun.”

In TV Arlen you can do sports and gymnastics in different groups. Some groups have been together for many years, and new members are always welcome. “Exercise is important for fitness,” says Ulrike Graf. In addition, she maintains social contacts. At TV Arlen, no one will be forgotten, and that’s what makes the club strong, the Chiefs agree.

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