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Ideas for Adult Class format

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RissaRoo

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Jun 7, 2011
7
Hey everybody,
I'm a secretary for a small recreational gym, and interest is mounting for an adult class. Just trying to brainstorm some ideas for the best format for it.
Since the ability levels will be pretty varied, I'd guess open gym would be the easiest. But maybe some structured group time would be helpful too.
So, if you got to make your own program, what would be your dream class?
 

stargazer

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Oct 24, 2010
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There is an adult gym class at my gym and I find it works well enough. There is an organized run and warm-up with stretching, then the two coaches present essentially tell everyone to do their own thing, and if they need help to make sure they ask. This works well simply because there are a lot of people who come to practice parkour (running and flipping off things-usually outside), a lot of retired gymnasts, cheerleaders, staff who still want to train, and current gymnasts looking for extra gym time. There are a few people who are new to gymastics each time, but the core group can train fairly independently. Just a note, it is age 16 and up.
I would prefer it if there were more staff around to help out and spot skills. There can be up to 40 people on a busy night, usually 15-30 regularly. I am a fairly independent worker, but if I'm working on a new skill and need spot or a good deal of corrections it would be easier if there were more staff to help with the less experienced gymnasts, while someone else worked with the more experienced people on bigger skills without taking away from the new guys.
I wouldn't mind if they set up an extra, more closely monitored class with drills, exercises and conditioning, but I'm pretty happy with the way it works right now.
Good luck with organizing it all!!
 
Feb 26, 2011
235
At my gym we start with a group warm-up and stretch for about 25 minutes. Then we can either choose to do about 25 minutes of conditioning that the coach leads (always fun and different things on different apparatuses) or we can go straight to free time. After the conditioning we have about 30-45 minutes of open gym where the coach can help you with whatever you want to work on. This format seems to work very well because it has enough structure that new people can be guided but also has the flexibility to allow those who have been in the class longer to do their own thing if they choose to.
 

Aussie_coach

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Biggest thing, adults need structure too!!!

I have seen so many adults classes just run as a free for all. Everyone warms up and then they go and do their own thing. The drop out rates are so high. The class numbers will dwindle because the adults see it as a free for all and don;t feel its important to be there every week, and just come when they feel like it, which means the viability of the class is low. Also it only works for ex gymnasts who already know what they want to work on and what they should be doing and just need the facility and a watchful eye.

The other problem with adult classes is that adults are impatient, they want to learn the hardest skills and they want to learn them now. They aren't as prepared to just do the drills and master all the lead up skills. With kids we have lots of programs and rewards designed to make the lead up skills fun, so the kids want to learn them. A lot of adults don;t have this.

The class needs to have a structured warm up and then a focus. It does not have to be the same for every student in the class. Lots of drills are important because 1. adults are much harder to spot, they need to learn how to make their body do what it is supposed to do, they can't just be held in the position. 2. You need to know and they need to know the skill is safe before they attempt it. Drills should be fun and the adults should be able to feel like they are progressing towards set skills.

Coaches need to set individual goals. Many adults are inflexible so the goal of walkovers is not going to work for all. Each adults body type will suit different skills, a good coach will find what best.

Adults need lots of praise and encouragement. Even more so than kids, many coaches prefer not to praise because they see it as patronizing but adults need it. They are not like kids, kids have to do things every day that they can't do yet or are no good at, they have to run in races even if they come last, they have to study math even if they can't understand it and so on. So they deal better with not succeeding every time. An adult has their life set up around what they can do and what they are good at. They may never do things they struggle with. They aren't used to it, they need encouragement.

Also kids get praise all the time from teachers and parents when they do things even slightly well. Adults often work long hours and care for a family with no thanks at all. If they can come somewhere where they are praised and they feel good about themselves. They will be there every week.
 
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Feb 26, 2011
235
Everything Aussie Coach said is so true!! As long as you keep those things in mind as you plan your adult class, you should have a pretty good program :]
 

RissaRoo

New Member
Jun 7, 2011
7
Thanks for all the suggestions, everyone!
It's looking like the gym owner only has interest in an open gym format, and I'm not sure how on-board he is with spotting. This makes it difficult because most of the interest has come from parents who never actually did gymnastics before, and want to try now.
If I take the lead to run the class, I'm sure he'd allow us to have the open gym, and I feel confident that I could instruct a bit of structure (ie stretching, explaining basic moves and drills) However, I'm really no help for spotting. I'm 5'2" with very little spotting/coaching experience, and most of the interest has come from guys. I feel like it would be irresponsible to invite them to come try the gym when they have virtually no experience and we have limited support for them.
But I still want an adult program... do I exclude the newbies, or hold out until we can find someone that's willing to really coach new students?
 
B

BlairBob

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I think an agreeable option right now is to open the class but have some staff onhand that can give the beginners drills to work on or to warm them up.

Frequently for the kids doing open gym, we have an instructor run them through a quick warmup.
 

marie83

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I'd try if possible to make it semi structured in that there is a lead warm up, perhaps some basic conditioning or skills, then split into groups, depending on numbers and then spend some time working on each apparatus.
It can be quite a difficult class to run as others have mentioned - different abilities, different numbers each week etc.
Good luck!
 

Faith

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most of the interest has come from guys.
The big warning I would have is that a lot of guys join adult gym for other reasons- parkour, breakdance, martial arts, x-games sports- and they want to practice their "tricks".

IME it's these guys that need the most supervision and coaching, especially if you have a few egging each other on to do macho stuff. They aren't particularly bothered about warm up, drills etc, they just want to get on with trying to flip or whatever. If there's going to be an injury, it will be one of these men.

So in your case, if it's mainly going to be men, and not ex-gymnasts, I'd be looking for coaches. If your group is more ex gymnasts, and more females- sorry to be sexist here ;), then I'd say you can run it more loosely- get one of the ex's to run the warm up, and have a coach on hand for advice if people want help with something specific.

Having said all that :D, I do prefer some close coaching. I learned full twists and handspring fronts as an adult, and I'd never have been able to teach myself, more from a confidence issue, as soon as a coach started telling me to go do x,y and z I did it. Some skills though, like re learning upstarts, I just needed a bar and time to do it again and again until I got it.
 

aerialriver

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May 4, 2009
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The open gym format just throws up huge red flags for me. You need to be in control on what is going on in your gym and it should never be a free for all. Open gym for kids is a little different as it is gymnasts working on skills they are working in their level in class with plenty of supervision (hopefully anyways) with adults as someone had mentioned they want that BHS and they want it now! Guys are even worse with the parkour stuff.

We have had successful adult and teen classes at our gym. They warm up together, they all go to one event together i.e. beam and everyone does the basic beam warmup such as releve walks, kicks etc. then if you have varying levels some may work handstands on a floor beam, someone else may work cartwheels on a high beam and maybe some one will work BHS. Then you move from event to event in the same manner.

You don't have to spot, just have a lot of prep drills. And to keep interest say everyone can work cartwheels on beam today but the advance folks do them on regular beams and the beginners do them on a floor line. Or everyone can work front tucks but the beginners do a small jump into a forward roll into a pit. You just have to be creative. Good luck!
 
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Kiwi

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The big warning I would have is that a lot of guys join adult gym for other reasons- parkour, breakdance, martial arts, x-games sports- and they want to practice their "tricks".

IME it's these guys that need the most supervision and coaching, especially if you have a few egging each other on to do macho stuff. They aren't particularly bothered about warm up, drills etc, they just want to get on with trying to flip or whatever. If there's going to be an injury, it will be one of these men.

So in your case, if it's mainly going to be men, and not ex-gymnasts, I'd be looking for coaches. If your group is more ex gymnasts, and more females- sorry to be sexist here ;), then I'd say you can run it more loosely- get one of the ex's to run the warm up, and have a coach on hand for advice if people want help with something specific.
At our gym, it is actually the other way around. There are a lot of parkour guys who just go do their thing, with one coach supervising and available for specific help on request. There are a few ex competitive gymnasts (male and female) who also tend to do their own thing. This was pretty much how our adults class went last year. But this year they added a more structured class with a more hands-on coach. He does a group warm-up, stretching and conditioning. It is mostly beginners, a mixture of males and females, and at first there were only a few of us, but numbers have increased lately. If you were not a competitive gymnast, then you really need a lot of coaching. What happened last year was that beginners would come along to try it out, not get coached and then not come back. While some of that has also happened this year, there are also some people who are coming back and sticking with it for a lot longer.
 

MastersGymnastics

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Nov 6, 2011
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We have an interview up on this topic. It's a hard balance to get for a good adult class format right. I don't agree with everything that Rick says but he makes a lot of good points. I find that non-gymnasts are the most dangerous and need the most supervision but including them is essential to a successful program.
 

mindy

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May 31, 2011
9
I agree with Aerialdriver. I went to a gym in California for 6 months who's adult class was nothing more than an open gym setting, with a million kids running amok. I had no real direction because we would all be scattered. The only thing I was able to learn there was a fhs onto a mat at the end of the tt and a bhc. I moved up here, where our class has the exact same settup as aerialdriver's. We would all be on the same apparatus, but work on different things depending on skill, and our coach would be able to see and instruct all of us. Then we'd all move to the next thing. At this gym, in 6 months, I've learned fhs on the tt without the mat, front tuck onto mat at end of tt, front hip circle, shoot through, jump to high bar, level 3 beam dismount, handstand on beam, and I'm getting close on my kip and mill circle. All this in the same amount of time that it took me to learn 2 things in my old open class gym. Adults really do crave structure, and they learn faster with drills and coaches pointing out what needs to be fixed.
 
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aerialriver

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That article makes me think of a couple of questions. So do you think it is better to have a scheduled class that adults have to sign up for or do the drop in thing? The issue I see is a lot of adults do have a goal, and some are pretty high goals like ex gymnasts wanting to get a BHS on the beam again after 20 years and most of them want it now which is fine but can't be acomplished if they drop in once every other month. So if you do a drop in program how do you keep motivated adults interested?
 

tkdgirl368

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Jun 8, 2012
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I really wish my gym would ask this! I currently go to a gym whose adult class is the basic free for all and it's so frustrating! The guys just basically try to do the craziest flips they can, so the coach constantly watches them. Everyone who doesnt want to do that is left with no direction. Unfortunately that's how all the gyms around my area are like so im stuck and better off trying to learn from youtube videos at home...
 
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