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How to find the "right" gym??

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callys_gym_mom

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I'm the mom of an almost 6 yr old who has been doing gymnastics since she was 18mos old. We selected the gym we are currently at because they have a really neat program for the little ones with small equipment and a special seperate area for them.

The credentials of the owners are great, the facility is awesome -state of the art; however, she has been going for 4 yrs now and just does not seem to be advancing or being challenged. Her strength is great, she can climb the rope all the way to the ceiling and has little six pack abs, but her technique and flexibility are not getting much better.

The negatives of the gym are that the teachers in the pre-school classes do not seem to be very experienced. There has also been a high turn over in teachers in teh 4 yrs we have been going. The owners have been branching into dance, fitness and karate now and seem to be more concerned with making money than teaching gymnastics. It also seems like they are maxed out student to instructor ratio-wise on the competitive levels and instead of continuing up the levels, more kids end up quitting. On the other hand, the kids who make it to the team level seem to do well in competition.

In your opinions - am I better off switching to a smaller local gym with not as advanced facilities, but where the focus is more on the gymnastics and less on the making money. Or stick it out at the big gym and hope the she is one who will not get bored and quit before there is a spot for her to move up?
Thanks!!
 

canadiangymmom

Active Member
Jun 26, 2006
566
Ontario, Canada
I haven't ever been in your position before because we didn't start gymnastics until my daughter was 7, so it's hard for me to say what I would do. I guess if I was in a similar situation I'd be trying to weigh out how much my daughter was learning and how excited she was to go to each class. Is she in a rec class? pre-team? Do her coaches know she wants to learn more and be involved at higher levels? Some gyms seem to have a high turnover in children and often have rotating coaches. As a result, the programs are geared at the rec gymnast who has no plans of competing.

I think if her technique and flexibility aren't improving and competing is her goal, I might start by discussing this with the head coach at the gym. Find out if they have plans for her and whether or not they are aware of her goals. If they aren't on the same page, I might consider looking at what other programs are available in your area.

Good luck,

Canadian gym mom
 
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callys_gym_mom

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Thanks for the input...

Tonight was her first night of the 5&6 yr old class at our current gym and she was noticably ahead of the other girls in this class. I guess you would consider her class a rec class, but they don't really differentiate. Also because of the lack of teachers and the fact that the owners just had a baby they are kind of restructuring the class progressions. One of the things that kind of bugs me about this gym is that instead of letting the parents know when they think the child should move up, they have "evaluation days". Basically, if YOU think your child is ready to move up you pay a $10 fee and come in at a set time to have your child evaluated and they will tehn tell you if she should move up. I don't know if this is their way of seeing who is willing to invest the time and money or what. I thought that it was the instructors job to put the gymnast in the skill group they are suited to??

So, anyway, she is signed up for the next 7 weeks at our current gym, but we are going to the smaller gym this Saturday to check it out and have her evaluated to see what class she would be placed in there.

This is all new to me, but she really has a knack for gym and loves it, so i guess it's time for mom to start learning more! LOL!:D
 
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Megley

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I don't have a ton of experience either, but it seems to me that if your daughter is 6 years old and has been in gymnastics for four years, the coaches should have determined by now whether she will be competing and have moved her at least to a pre-team class. She should be working on skills as well as conditioning. My daughter turns 5 in October. She started in a beginner class last December and was moved to a developmental class in February and then to pre-team in June. Her coaches already know that she likely will compete at Level 4 next year. Her classes are 6 hours a week now and they are working on all the skills they will need for the Level 4 routines as well as some Level 5 skills (mostly for beam and bars).

I have never heard of your gym's method of charging a fee and having the parents determine whether a child should be tested to move up. That seems to be a very strange way of identifying gifted gymnasts. At our gym, the coaches usually approach the parents about moving the children up. Good luck at the new smaller gym. Perhaps that is the right move for you if they will be teaching more skills. Let us know how it goes! :)
 
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gracefulone

Guest
I'm a gymnast of ten years, all but 2 of those at the same gym. In my opinion, it would be better to check out the smaller gym, especially if they're going to teach more skills. Your dd is obviously very strong, but she's not getting the skills that use her strength. Good luck!
 

JBS

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Sep 3, 2005
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callys_gym_mom said:
Basically, if YOU think your child is ready to move up you pay a $10 fee and come in at a set time to have your child evaluated and they will tehn tell you if she should move up.
That's a great way to drive business away. You are already paying for classes, it is their job to show you constant progress. If progress in not already built into classes, then there is a problem. But what do I know, I'm only the program director of a 900 student gym.
 
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callys_gym_mom

Guest
We loved the smaller gym!!!

She went this morning to try out the class there and it was great! The facility is not huge and state of the art, but their focus on the girls was WONDERFUL!!

When I called the girl I spoke with on the phone told me they would put her in the beginner class and after she comes to a couple classes they'll have a better idea of where she belongs.The head of the beginner thru pre-team classes was out of town when I originally called, so she did not know our story but she picked up on the fact that Cal was more advanced and had her trying different things to see how much she could do. I am also just sick seeing how much she can do, but didn't know exactly what the coach was talking about until they showed her because she had never been showed some of the basics at the other gym. I am kicking myself for not moving her sooner and also for thinking that a fancy expensive gym must be better than a small one!!!:mad:

I am really amazed at the level many of your little ones are at already!! Cally & I are both excited about gymnastics again - something we had lost when she was climbing a rope and doing forward rolls every week!!
 
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gracefulone

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I'm very happy to hear you're impressed.Sometimes it's all about exploring your options! Congrats once again.
 

canadiangymmom

Active Member
Jun 26, 2006
566
Ontario, Canada
That's GREAT! I'm glad you've found a better placement for your daughter. It will be a lot more fun for her if she gets to learn new skills.

I'm looking forward to hearing all about her new journey in the gym:)

Canadian Gym Mom
 
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Megley

Guest
I'm just posting to add my congratulations. It sounds like this is definitely the right move for you and your daughter. As Canadiangymom mentioned, your daughter will just love learning new skills. No doubt she will be practicing them all over your house soon!
 
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GymAunt

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Sorry to revive an old thread... but I had some questions.

Glad to hear Cally is happy again! My niece trains at what I would definitely consider a small gym. She took a pre-school class when she was 2 and due to financial problems didn't get back into it until last year. They did the same thing with her.. started her in the beginner class and next thing we knew she was competing in L3. This year she's doing PREP Optional and loves the new stuff she's learning. She's been learning skills from L4 & L5 for her upcoming competitions and is having a blast. We've discussed moving her to a bigger gym, but watching some of the coaches at the area gyms interact with their girls at competition has us a bit concerned. They seem to be all about the scores.. and while Ash loves getting high scores, we're afraid of the other coaches taking the fun out of it for her. Plus the smaller gym has smaller classes and more one-on-one instruction. They also strive to keep things as affordable as possible for the parents, spending less money on competition leotards and warmups. It kinda makes them look bad at the competitions though, they're the only ones wearing short sleeves (they don't get those until either L4 or L5) and they don't have team warm-up suits. Although most of the girls got sweatshirts this year for Christmas with their names on the back.. so they look more like a team now. The main thing that concerns us is they don't seem to explain to the girls what to watch for in competition as far as deductions, which results in her gym placing quite low in team competitions. But Ash has always kinda been the "star" of her gym and routinely places higher than her teammates. So that makes her feel a bit better. If her parents would chip in some money, she'd probably move to a different gym, but right now her grandparents are paying the bill and it's a little tight with all the entry fees and stuff.

Just curious, what are most of you paying for gym dues and competition gear?? None of the local gyms post these fees on their websites... and we would like to get an idea of the norm for comparison shopping purposes. Grandma would like Ash to have the best chance at advancing, but can't afford some outrageously high-priced gym. She's made a promise to keep her in it as long as she can possibly afford it, since Ash has set her goals around gymnastics. She wants to go to the Olympics (don't they all?) and own her own gym some day. This girl isn't the type to give up.. and puts everything she has into acheiving her goals once she sets them. I'd hate to think the money alone would keep her from making her mark some day. :(
 

JBS

Administrator
Staff member
Verified Coach
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Former Gymnast
Sep 3, 2005
5,543
Wisconsin
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Just curious, what are most of you paying for gym dues and competition gear?? None of the local gyms post these fees on their websites... and we would like to get an idea of the norm for comparison shopping purposes. Grandma would like Ash to have the best chance at advancing, but can't afford some outrageously high-priced gym. She's made a promise to keep her in it as long as she can possibly afford it, since Ash has set her goals around gymnastics. She wants to go to the Olympics (don't they all?) and own her own gym some day. This girl isn't the type to give up.. and puts everything she has into acheiving her goals once she sets them. I'd hate to think the money alone would keep her from making her mark some day. :(
I have a few different roles. I think very differently when I am acting as Program Director as compared to Coach. Here is the Program Director view:

Not posting prices is a very good business decision...it forces potential customers to come in and see the gym/program. It forces the personal relationship. It helps stop the comparison shopping...which as a customer, you really need to do. I suggest calling all the other gyms, if they are good, they will try not to give there prices over the phone either...usually you can get it out of them.:D As the Program Director, I regularly go the other gyms in our area and pick up price sheets. I know we are better, for this reason, I always price about the other gyms in the area. Price means nothing about the quality of a program, but look out for gyms that don't seem to be financially stable.

Recreational prices will always be more than team if you base it on an hourly rate. Overall, prices vary greatly. Check out this post, average price are highlighted in red about half way down:

http://www.chalkbucket.com/forums/showpost.php?p=588&postcount=13
 
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Megley

Guest
Our gym is right about in line with the prices that JBS posted. I have a son and a daughter in preteam - 3 hours per week for him and 6 hours per week for her and the total right now is about $240 a month. Both of them are on track to compete Level 4 next year so our costs will be rising. The cost per hour goes down, though, the more hours you are paying for. As for competition expenses, our gym requires either a $500 payment per family per gymnast or you can work bingo nights to raise your portion of the money. That pays for team leos (very fancy long sleeved leos with lots of sparklies), team warmups, at least one or two team workout leos, plus gifts like sweatshirts and teddy bears that the kids get after each meet. I am not sure how other clubs work the competition bit. I expect that many have booster clubs that do fund raising to help pay for team expenses. Best of luck to your niece. I hope she achieves her dreams.
 
Oct 15, 2007
60
Tennessee
I would suggest at least trying a different gym.
Even if it's smaller, if the focus is more on the actual gymnastics (which is your main reason for going) than it would be better for the DD anyway. My gym has two locations, and I'm at the smaller but i still progress at the same rate as the other girls who are in my level at the bigger gym. The only unfortunate part about being in a smaller gym is that your DD would have to work a lot harder to get the skills because of lack of equipment.
 

maddiekate

Member
Aug 8, 2007
303
West Coast
I only know a few of the rates at our gym:

Level 3: 2 hours a week, 88$ a month
Preteam 4: 8 hours a week, about 200$ a month
Level 4: 12 hours a week, IDK how much.
 
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