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Choosing a Gym
(for gymnastics training)


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 building block. 

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 Certified?
  • 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 demands?
  • 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 there?
  • 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 training?
  • 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!

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