Gymnastics is a beautiful and challenging
activity for young people. Finding the right gym is the first step and the most
important one. A good school is one in which
everyone in the organization, working both separately and together, seeks a
common goal. That goal isn't necessarily
represented by the number of trophies displayed. What is of primary importance
is that the school effectively trains the child in gymnastic skills and is
building the child's self-esteem and life skills that can serve them for their
entire life. In choosing the gym that is right for your child, do consider that
warm caring relationships between the staff and students is an very important
We would suggest that you visit the gyms in your area. Talk to the staff,
perhaps other parents, and observe a practice. Many gyms offer a complimentary
practice to a assess your child's skill level and for the child to get a taste
of the instruction. Take advantage of this. Another approach, especially if you
are new to the area, would be to call or email a gym near
you, but outside your immediate area and ask for them to
recommend a gym near you. They are likely to know all
the gyms and may give some good advice.
Here is a list of things to note when you are visiting
a potential gym. (They are not in any particular order):
- Do the kids seem to like the
instructors and have fun?
- Are staff members USA Gymnastics Safety
- Is the equipment in good condition and
appropriate for the
development level of the students?
- Is it a safe
place. Some signs to look for: floor-level
trampolines, spotting harnesses, and a safety
"pit" (where gymnasts land after doing
difficult maneuvers) that is filled flush to
floor-level with foam blocks. The floor exercise
area should have a spring floor -- springs underneath the mats to
reduce the impact of landings.
- Are the instructors approachable after
practice (or class)?
- What’s the reputation of the gym?
- How is the overall cleanliness and
organization of the school?
- How does the gym communicate with it's
people? Is it effective?
- Are the kids busy and active or standing around?
- Is there a calendar of events?
- How long has the gym been in operation?
- Is someone answering the phone?
- Does the gym have a statement of
purpose and philosophy posted?
- Is there an emergency plan for injuries
or inclement weather?
- Is the gym’s curriculum intended to
produce competitive gymnasts? Is this what you are looking for?
- Is there a sense of professionalism
about the school?
- What is the cost? Is it reasonable?
- Is there a booster club? What are its
- How much travel time is involved from your house
to the gym?
- What feedback do you get from friends who
have experienced or observed the gym?
- Do class or practice times fit
reasonably with your schedule?
- How are you and others treated
- What is the makeup practice policy?
- Are parents allowed to observe practices?
We like gyms that permit observation, but please
understand that interaction between the parent and
child should be minimal. The instructor should be
the focus for the child.
- How does the gym sound during class,
happy or stressful? understand that a pre-school class will be different in
tone than a mid to upper level competitive
gymnastics practice though.
- Is there any plan for regular staff
- Are there clearly stated rules for
staff, students and visitors?
- Is your child enthusiastic about the
school and gymnastics?
In conclusion, it must be said that there is no gym is perfect. Each has
it's good and bad points. The challenge is to choose the one that you
feel the most comfortable with. Good luck!