Welcome to our Gymnastics Community
Wanting to join the rest of our members? Feel free to sign up today.
Sign up

Need Ideas to improve competitive program

Status
Not open for further replies.

Ingymmom

Active Member
Jul 12, 2007
981
Our competitive gymnastics team program has only been in place for about a year and a half, and we are trying to find ways to help it grow. Our gym also has a T&T program, and this program seems to have no problem staying full - although they also have a big turn around. I would love to hear any ideas out there to improve numbers (especially for our optionals) .

Our story, we only have 2 coaches that train some rec classes, a mini team class and our L5-10's, and already seem to be spread thin. They are great, but tough coaches that expect their gymnasts to work - which seems to be our biggest problem. We lost an incredible L8 last week to softball/cheer and now we only have a few optionals left. 1 L10, 1 L9, 1 L7, and 1 training L7/8. :eek:

any ideas/help to improve numbers would be greatly appreciated.
 

ZJsMom

Active Member
Proud Parent
Former Gymnast
May 11, 2007
998
Pacific NW
Country
USA
Since it's a new program, you probably just need to give it time. The way to have more optionals down the line is to funnel more compulsories into the program now. Making sure there's a strong level 5 team will build the base. And hopeful the girls who have come up through the program together will stick together through the optional levels. Of course, there'll be some attrition, but there should be a core that loves gymnastics, the team and their teammates and will stick it out as the training gets harder.
 

JBS

Administrator
Staff member
Verified Coach
Proud Parent
Former Gymnast
Sep 3, 2005
5,543
Wisconsin
Country
USA
The #1 priority of any gym looking to have many team kids should be developing a great preschool and rec. program. This is were all of your team kids come from.
 

bogwoppit

Former Admin
Coach
Proud Relative
Proud Parent
Gymnast
Former Gymnast
Judge
Club Owner
Fan
Feb 26, 2007
16,517
Country
Canada
Two coaches will find it hard to develop a full team and rec programme. Even if they work all the hours there are in a week.

With two coaches, in reality, no more than 20 kids can be in the gym at any time. To maximise the potential of the club and the space it obviously has, they should consider hiring some good rec coaches. As JBS pointed out, most of your team girls will come from rec and tiny tot development classes.

This would allow your two coaches to focus on team, which would perhaps help to retain the present girls.

As for how hard the coaches are, would they be prepared to change to help increase gymnasts retention? If they are open to ideas, you could suggest some team activities, i.e. team sleepover/pyjama party at the gym night, a reward system for new skills etc. In order to have gymnasts stay in the gym they need to create a strong sense of belonging and team spirit. They can still be strict and expect a lot, but perhaps giving the gymnasts a carrot to chase would be more beneficial than just the stick approach.

They must be strong coaches though, your vids certainly show very strong basics and even more advanced skills, therefore it is not the quality of the coaching that makes girls leave.

Just IMHO of course, every gym is different and that's probably a good thing as most girls are different too.:D
 

gym law mom

Active Member
Proud Parent
Dec 23, 2006
2,527
Country
USA
I think the larger team programs basically resemble a pyramid---large base and it does get smaller at the top. Obviously, you won't have as many L10s as pre-teamers, but that large solid base is where you hope to develop some of those future optional girls. It will take time and more coaches. The 2 you have may be very good, but for many reasons(safety etc) they can't coach everyone. Many rec coaches are part time and maybe looking to work their way up to coaching a team, so it would be worth it for the gym to look at some college students etc. to help build the rec team.

Another fact of life is there is a big drop around L6, so you're not going to keep all those girls anyway. Most optionals are in or starting middle school and they have that pull of doing other activities, more homework etc. Also optionals get more expensive and if the parents are paying for meets, coach fees etc., it can just become too much of a financial burden.

Our gym has been rebuilding the comp team and they started out by redoing the whole pre-team structure and getting more girls involved which has given them fairly good sized compulsory teams. Now, we're seeing it pay off with the optional program growing. We should go from 2 L9s to 5(1 L9 may move up to L10), 3 L8s to 5 or 6 and 7-8 L7s.

Another thing to look at is how many gyms are there that are close to you and already offer competitive teams? Can your gym come up with some different classes etc. not offered elsewhere? The 1st step to a larger team is to get those little ones in the door for classes. With this being an Olympic year, maybe that will help.
 
K

kvgymnast

Guest
wow! that is a super small team! does your gym have any advertising or commercials, that could be a way to make them known at least.
 

Ingymmom

Active Member
Jul 12, 2007
981
Thanks for the replies, advice & comments - I agree with the program taking time and starting from the bottom & working up. We had a very successful compulsory season (a great optional season as well) & this next season is geared to be even better - it seems like things are taking off, but unfortunately our gym owner wants the program to be very strong right now without adding our much needed equipment (mainly a pit bar). I have tried suggesting ideas, but all she does is complain to the parents and compare our program to others in the gym - not taking into consideration that many admittedly started because of our gymnasts. She is making our program feel seperated from the other programs in the gym. Is this a normal occurence for gym owners to discuss financials & coach problems with customers? I am trying to stay positive and see things from her perspective, (from the monetary side). I have referred many people to our gym but they did not all join the gymnastics team. Some are in rec, some joined T&T team. Don't all programs add to each other in some way?

I really want to stay positive & I would love for this program to work out because it is only 5 minutes from my home & it can be incredible - the coaches are great, it is a huge facility. What kind of marketing do other programs do? Is it unethical to advertise in the paper, or via flyers for competitve gymnasts to work out with our coaches (the team) for a week at no charge to try the program? We only have 2 coaches so to have a safe successful program we are somewhat limited in how many can work out at one time are we not? Is there a guideline for coach to gymanst ratio? Is there a positive way to approach the owner and show her how a pit bar would only benefit her program? She is currently adamant about doing nothing for our program, and the coaches are finding it difficult to safely move girls to the next level (especially our optionals).

Tx again for your replies and help, it is much appreciated :)
 

Ingymmom

Active Member
Jul 12, 2007
981
wow! that is a super small team! does your gym have any advertising or commercials, that could be a way to make them known at least.
very small, we also have a few L5's and L6's. No advertising for the team at all - except what people see when they come in.
 
K

KBT

Guest
Is high school gymnastics big in your area? If so, you could offer a high school prep class for your middle school kids who still like gymnastics, but don't want to be spending 20+ hours a week in the gym doing USAG competitive gymnastics. You could also offer a summer high school class for kids to learn new skills in the off-season. You'd need someone to be well-versed in NHSF rules, but that's not a huge obstacle.
 

JBS

Administrator
Staff member
Verified Coach
Proud Parent
Former Gymnast
Sep 3, 2005
5,543
Wisconsin
Country
USA
What kind of marketing do other programs do?
Word of Mouth
This is the most important marketing that can be done.

Mail Marketing
Try a mailing list from someplace like InfoUSA. You can target your results to a radius around the gym, zip codes, household income (we use $40,000 +), houses with kids between the ages of (we use ages 2-12), and many more options.

We use the same list for about a year and we send postcards (full color high gloss) to save money on postage. We have sent out 3 mailings of 5,000 postcards over the last 6 months.

Website
Make sure you have a great website. We are currently redoing ours.

Local Business
Customers of the gym have a lot of buying power. Offer to put fliers from other local businesses in the gym if they will display yours.

Car Window Stickers
Sell car window stickers to as many people in the gym as possible. Great to see them driving around the town.

Gymnastics Car Window Decals & Stickers

There's a few to get you going.

Is it unethical to advertise in the paper, or via flyers for competitve gymnasts to work out with our coaches (the team) for a week at no charge to try the program?
Yes. That would signal "war" to any local gym around you. Just advertise that you have a team.

We only have 2 coaches so to have a safe successful program we are somewhat limited in how many can work out at one time are we not? Is there a guideline for coach to gymanst ratio?
See the following post: http://www.chalkbucket.com/forums/parent-forum/121-hours-gym-2.html#post588

Is there a positive way to approach the owner and show her how a pit bar would only benefit her program?
If the program is in financial trouble, then anything that costs money can harm your program. Try getting the booster club behind you. Then you could do some fund raisers and buy the bar for the gym.
 
Last edited:

Ingymmom

Active Member
Jul 12, 2007
981
kbt, That is actually a fantastic idea for a gym to offer a program like that - especially in the summer when enrollment is low. Not sure if I would call HS gymnastics "big" in our area, but our local hs does use our gym to train for their brand new program & I think one of our rec coaches is their team coach as well - not sure about the last part.

Now for us, I don't think that offering new classes is the exact solution as our gym as a whole seems to be doing ok. It is just are one competitive gymnastics area that never seems to occupy more then 15 girls at a time....
 

JBS

Administrator
Staff member
Verified Coach
Proud Parent
Former Gymnast
Sep 3, 2005
5,543
Wisconsin
Country
USA
Now for us, I don't think that offering new classes is the exact solution as our gym as a whole seems to be doing ok. It is just are one competitive gymnastics area that never seems to occupy more then 15 girls at a time....
How many preschool + rec. kids does the gym have? We currently have about 70 team kids and 500 preschool + rec.
 

Ingymmom

Active Member
Jul 12, 2007
981
How many preschool + rec. kids does the gym have? We currently have about 70 team kids and 500 preschool + rec.
I don't know exact numbers, but I know that our gym has a lot of activity in the evening. We have our small gymnastics team, a T&T team of about 30 and then our rec side including gymnastics, cheer and tumbling of probably 400 children. This is current, I am certain the numbers will decrease in the summertime. Our gym is almost 2 years old now. We also have an ice skating side, but I have no clue what goes on over there.
 

JBS

Administrator
Staff member
Verified Coach
Proud Parent
Former Gymnast
Sep 3, 2005
5,543
Wisconsin
Country
USA
Our gym is almost 2 years old now.
Not even 2 years old with 15 on team....sounds like great numbers to me. Just keep growing, team grows slowly. Just build up that preschool program and you'll see huge team result in only 2-3 years.

T&T is getting very popular...it's much easier. T&T is probably pulling some kids from you. Which is great, it's all the same gym.

Overall, there is basically nothing you can do to improve optional numbers in a short period of time. You can't build a pyramid from the top down. Start at the bottom and that is preschool.
 
Last edited:

Ingymmom

Active Member
Jul 12, 2007
981
Not even 2 years old with 15 on team....sounds like great numbers to me. Just keep growing, team grows slowly. Just build up that preschool program and you'll see huge team result in only 3-4 years.
I wish I could get the O to see it this way. Out of our very small team we have the youngest L6 in the state, ranked 9th out of every age group - her 1st season competing ever. A first year L5 ranked 14th out of every age group & a first year L7/8 - competed both this season & ranked 5th in the state out of every age group (although she recently left gymnastics to pursue other sports) & 2 girls training for L10 this upcoming season. Every one of our L5's had not competed prior to this last season and they all qualified for state in their 1st meet. Every one of our gymnasts at every level qualified for state with a 34 or better at their first meet. I really agree it seems they are headed in a great direction... but our O is really vocal in how disappointed she is... it is disheartening.

T&T is getting very popular. T&T is probably pulling some kids from you. Which is great, it's all the same gym.
Fantastic coaching on the T&T side as well. Great program, problem - our O compares the two and blames our coaches for not building our team more quickly like T&T has. But they are both so different... I just don't know how to explain it well without discounting either program.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

jasmine196

Verified Coach
Verified Coach
Proud Relative
Aug 29, 2007
102
We are currently in our 3rd year as a team. We have slowly been building up our program from nothing 3 years ago to about 60 kids now. We only have 1 full time coach and 3 part time coaches for team. The full time coach also does all the pre-team and TOPs classes. We pull from our recreation program. Last year we had about 30 girls levels 3-6 on the team. They did ok, but nothing impressive. We decided last year that we would take the time to build up our program. We added more hours and worked really hard. This year, our level 4's won the senior age division at the state meet. We can't believe how well they did. This year we had girls levels 3-7. Our 7's didn't do so hot, but they will all be repeating Level 7 next year and hopefully they will do awesome. So this last season we had 20 Level 4's, 7 Level 5's, and 5 Level 7's. Next year we are projecting having about 20 Level 4's, 15-16 Level 5's, 6-7 Level 7's and 1 Level 8. We really don't do level 6 except to pass our girls out of the that level. So some of our new level 7's may or may not compete depending if they are ready.

The problem that we are facing now, is lack of coaches. The head coach moved up way to many kids last year, and with more coming in this year we are short coaches. We also had a couple girls move up to Level 4 that were not ready, and did not want the comittment, so they were moved into another rec class. I would assume by the end of next season we could be close to 70 girls Level's 4-8. The one thing that I worry about is I'd rather have quality gymnasts and parents who want to be there and who put in a 110% daily, then quanity. But only time will tell.
 

Ingymmom

Active Member
Jul 12, 2007
981
jasmine - your team has really done well. It seems that our team would be larger if we had a Level 3 or level 4 program. There are many more girls in those levels.

We had the same occurence with move-ups. Our O insisted that the pre-team move up to team to make space for other classes. The coaches expressed their concern, but had no choice but to do as the O wanted. These girls were not ready for the team intensity and 3 quit is less then 2 weeks. It seems it just would be wiser to let time and consistency help our program grow, but for whatever reason the O has been very impatient. I love the coaches but am beginning to feel we are fighting a losing battle here.
 

jasmine196

Verified Coach
Verified Coach
Proud Relative
Aug 29, 2007
102
Ingymmom-

Actually those numbers do not really include our level 3's. They only include our USA girls that are in level's 4-8. We have a rec league that does level 3 and level 4, and those combined would add another 25 girls to the team. We usually have the little ones do level 3 first then if they are ready they would go to level 4 USAG. If they are not ready then they would go Level 4 in the rec league. Hope thta makes sense.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Similar threads