Finding the best gym

Status
Not open for further replies.

Caligirlzz

Member
Jun 4, 2009
155
Chicago
How do you figure out what is the best gym in your area? We have 2 decent gyms very close but I don't know what to look for as far as which one is best for my daughter to train at. I can fo sure drive 1 hour to get to a few great gyms but I won't due that until I know my dd can really compete. Do old meet performances prove anything?

My thought is that if a gymnast is really good and dedicated she will succeed anywhere. Does anyone agree/disagree with that?
 
Did ChalkBucket help you?... help us too.

If you can't help financially... tell a friend about us!

Pogo

Member
Mar 20, 2008
84
Northern California
Pick your gym with care

My thought is that if a gymnast is really good and dedicated she will succeed anywhere. Does anyone agree/disagree with that?
I respectfully disagree.

First, coaching really does make a difference. The quality of coaching should be your primary criteria. If you don't know who the best coaches are, then do some research and find out which gyms tend to have girls who not only do well but have come from other gyms to improve.

Second, there should ideally be a core group of gymnasts your dd's level and age. A "lone wolf" won't last long in mid-level gymnastics. (Obviously, elite is a different story because most gyms won't have multiple elites). Gymnasts learn from each other and the social aspect is what keeps many, if not most. gymnasts in the sport.

Third, a gym's reputation matters. Reputation affects scores. Reputation can affect college recruiting. It certainly will affect self-image and self-esteem.
 

ky7403

Member
Mar 3, 2009
107
Mississippi currently
I agree with POGO.

Another thing you want to look for in a gym is what do you and your daughter want to get out of the sport. If she just wants to do this for fun to see if she likes or to fill time between seasons of other sports then you do not want to take her to a gym that has level 4's working out 16 hours a week. If she does want to be involved in the sport competitively then a gym with a good reputation and work ethic as well as coaching quality is something that you should look into greatly before choosing a gym.
From personal experience being dedicated and working hard for what I wanted in a small gym with unexperienced coaches and a less than great work ethic didn't get me very far. I won state at level 6 and then just topped out at that I competed level 7 but did horribly. I loved gym to much to not be successful in the sport so I changed gyms. Gymnastics was my life I want to earn a scholarship but I got hurt. I stated in the spot until my senior year of high school and now I coach. The gym that I went to had a great work ethic, experienced coaches, multiple gymnast in every level, and many different programs to fit every child's needs. With that being said; no matter how hard your daughter works to be successful is as much determined by her as it is her coaches, peers, work ethic of the gym, and the facility.
Hope this helps
 
Last edited:

gymjoy

Member
Jan 31, 2009
410
totally agree with both post above.
Coaching is the most important thing to look at when looking for a gym.
It can make or break a gymnast - even one with natural ability and dedication. It can also take the hard working gymnast with a bit less ability and make them great. Good coaches can spot the shooting star and the late bloomer, and guide them both.
If you can look at their meet scores over a several year period. How did the gymnast do? Were they consistent? Did scores rise over a season? Do most of their girls do well - or just a couple? Do the girls move up levels over the years and stay with the gym? Do they have lots of compulsories, but few optionals?
When we moved cross country I studied Meet Scores Online for the area we were going. I looked at all these questions. I could look at individual gymnast and see how they progressed through one season and through the years. I could see if they moved to or from certain gyms and how that changed their scores. It was very interesting and instructive. It certainly helped us pick the right gym for our dd.
 

Caligirlzz

Member
Jun 4, 2009
155
Chicago
I respectfully disagree.

First, coaching really does make a difference. The quality of coaching should be your primary criteria. If you don't know who the best coaches are, then do some research and find out which gyms tend to have girls who not only do well but have come from other gyms to improve.

Second, there should ideally be a core group of gymnasts your dd's level and age. A "lone wolf" won't last long in mid-level gymnastics. (Obviously, elite is a different story because most gyms won't have multiple elites). Gymnasts learn from each other and the social aspect is what keeps many, if not most. gymnasts in the sport.

Third, a gym's reputation matters. Reputation affects scores. Reputation can affect college recruiting. It certainly will affect self-image and self-esteem.


I am actually glad you disagree because in all honesty I feel coaching has everything to do with it. I have many examples, but I really wanted to see what would be said without my .02c.

So tell me where to begin in my search for the best gym in my area, PLEASE..pretty please. I knew how to find the best all star cheer organization but I have no clue how to find the best gymnastics place.
 

mariposa

Proud Parent
Proud Parent
Sep 25, 2007
3,529
Country
USA
It is all about finding the best gym for YOUR gymnast. Scores aren't everything, so you really have to try to get a look at the whole picture. Coach to gymnast ratio, philosophy on moving girls through the levels, training style, how many hours they train a week for each level at lower and upper levels, too.

Coaches make ALL the difference. My daughter has been at her new gym for 2 months and she looks like a totally different kid. Being in the right gym for her has made a huge difference in how she learns skills, how she sees herself as a gymnast and how strong she is, too. She is in smaller groups now and that makes a big difference and her group of level 4s are all pretty close in age, which is a bonus. She did great with older girls, but loves having a whole bunch her age. I would not have believed that it could make such a huge difference in such a short amount of time, but it has. I truly feel that my daughter is now in the right gym for her. I feel safe leaving her there and know that the coaches truly care about her and want her to succeed.

Good luck doing your homework and finding a good gym for your daughter. It is hard, but worth it in the end. Also, I am sure you know from cheer that all gyms have issues. You have to pick which issues you are willing to deal with and know when to stick around and wait for things to get better and also when enough is enough.
 

mariposa

Proud Parent
Proud Parent
Sep 25, 2007
3,529
Country
USA
Maybe you could send a PM to either Ingymmom or Emma's Mom since they compete with gyms from the Chicago area. :) They could maybe give you some opinions on how the girls look at meets and what they have heard about the gyms near you.
 
C

cher062

Guest
How do you figure out what is the best gym in your area? We have 2 decent gyms very close but I don't know what to look for as far as which one is best for my daughter to train at. I can fo sure drive 1 hour to get to a few great gyms but I won't due that until I know my dd can really compete. Do old meet performances prove anything?

My thought is that if a gymnast is really good and dedicated she will succeed anywhere. Does anyone agree/disagree with that?

I disagree. I think its the coach that makes the difference. You can be in the smallest gym that looks like the worst but with the right coach you can have some really great gymnasts.

As far as the "best" gym goes. I think what is "best" for one gymnast may be the "worst" for another. If the parents and child is happy at his/her gym and is happy with how they are doing and progressing then they have a gym that works for them. I think if you have a coach that knows their stuff is dedicated to the gymnasts and doesn't really have the favorites few you found a gem of a gym.
 

gymjoy

Member
Jan 31, 2009
410
The best place to start is by making a list of all the gyms in your area. You can usually find a list of gyms for your state on your states online USAG site - most states have one. They might also list some previous meet scores, and as others have pointed out good meet scores don't always make the best gym for your gymnast - but they can point to you to the more serious gyms. Then call and make an appointment to talk with them and observe a practice. For the ones you like ask if you can do a trial practice or two. The trial will help you see which coaches and girls your dd meshes with better. Talk with other parents while your there - it will give you a good idea about the atmosphere in the gym (are they supportive or do they gossip alot).
Good luck.
 

dunno

Well-Known Member
Coach
Former Gymnast
Proud Parent
Club Owner
Apr 28, 2009
9,292
if you are in chicago, the 2 closest are Aerial in downers grove and IGI in westmont. they are both straight west out of the eisenhower xpressway.

why don't you post precisely where you are since chicago is pretty big.
 

Panda-girl's Mom

Active Member
Jan 9, 2008
781
I think another important point is with the economy is to look at well established gyms that are not going to fall apart. Coaching is important too but unless that coach is an owner how long are they going to be around. I would look at the coaching in general I know my daughter does better with some coaches but they have different coaches on different days and they change coaches as they move up. From experience I think the amount practice time they get is important I think the more hours of practice and conditioning make a big difference. The most important thing is your daughter happy if your daughter is not happy going to practice it does not matter how great the gym is.
 

MdGymMom01

Active Member
Mar 5, 2008
2,236
North America
I respectfully disagree.

First, coaching really does make a difference. The quality of coaching should be your primary criteria. If you don't know who the best coaches are, then do some research and find out which gyms tend to have girls who not only do well but have come from other gyms to improve.

Second, there should ideally be a core group of gymnasts your dd's level and age. A "lone wolf" won't last long in mid-level gymnastics. (Obviously, elite is a different story because most gyms won't have multiple elites). Gymnasts learn from each other and the social aspect is what keeps many, if not most. gymnasts in the sport.

Third, a gym's reputation matters. Reputation affects scores. Reputation can affect college recruiting. It certainly will affect self-image and self-esteem.

I totally agree with all of this. I think that coaching is probably one of the most important factors in looking at a new gym. Think of a coach as being your child's teacher. You will always remember that great 2nd grade teacher or that 5th grade teacher that challenged you and you learned so much from. Gymnastics is the same way. Young children really look up to their coaches and are like sponges when it comes to learning new things. The right coach that works well with your dd and all the kids for that matter is a great find.

I also think it is very important for young girls to have that commoraderie in their team. Kids do learn a lot from each other like Pogo said and the social benefits will take the girls a long way. They learn so many things about teamwork, supporting each other and conflict resolution when the catty fights and dissagreements break out (and believe me they will!!).

A gyms reputation also teaches the girls good ethics of how to behave. Kids need good strong role models with good morals and ethics to guide them through their gymnastics.
 
G

gymnastics07849

Guest
To find the best gym you should probaly check out a few in your area and watch. You should see how hard there working and if the coaches are nice and friendly.
 
N

NOG

Guest
When we were gym shopping, I looked for excellence in coaching, a well established gym with a great reputation (progressing gymnasts) and a well run gym (no management issues). Then, I called a couple of the Optional parents at the gym that I had decided was the best fit. I picked Optional parents to call figuring that they've been around the longest and had the best of idea of how things are run at the gym. I asked them, pros & cons, along with day to day running (was management easy to deal with, do they say one thing..but do another, any issues with day to day running, equipment safety, etc). I found the parents VERY helpful and VERY honest about all issues (good and bad).

I also looked at the drop-out rate of girls (are more girls leaving than coming? If so, are the leaving the sport, or are they gym-hopping? That makes a big difference. Girls generally quit at a certain age (teen years) to spend more time with school activies. If they are switching to other gyms, then that is an indicator of other problems. The gym we decided to go with had a reputation of pulling in gymnasts from all the surrounding gyms (some from 1 1/2 away), so that is a great thing and says a lot about a gym.

Hope this helps,
Dena
 

Caligirlzz

Member
Jun 4, 2009
155
Chicago
I think another important point is with the economy is to look at well established gyms that are not going to fall apart. Coaching is important too but unless that coach is an owner how long are they going to be around. I would look at the coaching in general I know my daughter does better with some coaches but they have different coaches on different days and they change coaches as they move up. From experience I think the amount practice time they get is important I think the more hours of practice and conditioning make a big difference. The most important thing is your daughter happy if your daughter is not happy going to practice it does not matter how great the gym is.

Great point, thankfully our gym has been around a long time!!
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Thank you for supporting our sponsors Energym Music & Norberts!