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switching gyms - what to ask

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gymadison

New Member
Jan 20, 2008
31
Virginia
we have been at a gym for two years - my dd7 is now a level 4 and will start competing this coming season - we have until july 1st when our contract goes into effect and our current gym is a disaster from a communication and business stand point - its short staffed and many promises for change have come and gone over the last year - long story short - my dd and i are going to another gym tuesday night to check it out - i have heard all good things about the new gym and dd is only concerened with gymnastics she could care less where she goes as long as there are gymnastics when she gets there - my question is what should i ask - what should i be looking for when i get there?

bj
 
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Billy

Guest
Always check for clean, safe facilities, plenty of equipment that is all set up properly, enough coaches. Also watch to see if the girls seem happy, are doing appropriate training, getting good workouts but still enjoying themselves. I also like to check out the parent viewing areas, restrooms, etc. You can also talk with some of the other parents to find out about how the gym is run, etc.
 
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gymgramma

Guest
Shawn had good advice. In addition, check out the ratio of coaches per gymnasts. also check out the coaches spotting abilities and what their philosophy is on spotting - do they even believe in spotting gymnasts on any skills or do they not believe in spotting. check to see if the gymnasts do a proper amount of stretching & strength building conditioning each practice.
 

iluvgym

Coach
Coach
Club Owner
Feb 6, 2008
139
All good advice............also remember that EVERY gym will have it's own internal problems, and the grass isn't always greener!
 

gymdog

Well-Known Member
Coach
Former Gymnast
Proud Relative
Jul 5, 2007
5,121
-First: do you have a team handbook? If yes, many of the answers to the questions below will probably be covered in it.

-hours/schedule for the level you are interested in

-tuition - including booster fees or other fees associated with being part of the competitive team. One tuition may seem higher, but it might be offset by not having other fees, and one may seem lower but there are other fees.

-How is moving up handled?

-Can you "try out" a day at your current level?

-Are there other girls your daughter's age at her current level (if she is 7 going on level 4, then probably yes...but it doesn't hurt to check that out)?

-Try to get a feel for their retention rate. Do they have gymnasts in high school at various levels (not just 9 or 10)? (take into account team size, if it is very small or very new then they may legitimately not really have this...but if it is large, then they probably should). In my experience this can say a lot about the environment in the program.

-If my daughter decides not to do USAG competitive, is there another competitive or recreational track for advanced gymnasts?

-How many meets per year for the compulsory levels? How many will require car travel? Will any require air travel? What happens if there is a family conflict? What is the policy on missing practice within a week or two of a meet?
 
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Billy

Guest
What is the policy on missing practice within a week or two of a meet?

This is a good point. At our gym, missing a practice during the week before a meet means you don't compete at that meet.
 

Aussie_coach

Moderator/Coach
Staff member
Gold Membership
Coach
Proud Parent
Gymnast
Club Owner
Jan 4, 2008
3,468
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Australia
I would look at equipment.

Does the gym have a fully sprung floor? How many bars and beams to how many girls? Do they have a proper vault table? Do they have other equipment for training the new skills safely such as foam pits, resi pits, tumble traks and so on?

How many hours are the level 4's working out and what are they? How muc will this increase as she moves up the levels?

How much is the tuition? club fee's and insurance? Meet entry fee's? Warm ups and leotards and so on?

Coach to gymnast ratio?

Do the kids seem ti be always busy and doing things or is there a lot of standing around and waiting for turns?

Do the kids seem happy or do they seem unhappy?

Do the coaches seem to be encouraging or exsessively negative?

Does the standard seem good? Do the coaches pay attention to proper form or is it simply do the skill regardless of what it looks like (meet scores will tell you this aswell)

Do the gymnasts seem to be doing a number of safe drills before attemtpting skills and are they being spotted or are they just being asked to do skills without proper physical preperation?

How are the parents treated? Are you welcomed into the gym or made to feel like an additional extra?

Will they accept your daughter onto their team or does she have to go through some sort of testing?

Where do the girls go from level 4? Do they have a successful optionals program?
 

gymadison

New Member
Jan 20, 2008
31
Virginia
thanks to all of you for posting such good questions for me to ask and what to look for! you guys are great - i will post and let you all know what happens :)
 

gym law mom

Active Member
Proud Parent
Dec 23, 2006
2,527
Country
USA
I would absolutely ask for at least 1 free practice with the team she'll be on. If you're going to meet with coaches at this new gym, then I would expect they will have your dd try out then or set up a time for her to come back and do it. When we switched gyms our current gym let my daughter practice with them for 1 week at no cost. It was a great way for them to watch her and also for her to get the "feel" of a different gym.

If the coach doesn't know much about the booster club(and many don't), then ask if there is a parent booklet or something you can read over. You don't want to commit to the gym only to find what the booster club "requires" is not something you can do or are comfortable with.

I think the most important thing is to take a couple of days and really think over what you saw, heard etc. and if any questions, then you have time to ask. You don't want to make a change and find out in a month this wasn't what you thought it would be.
 

Scout's Mom

Member
Oct 2, 2007
89
Texas
Just a word of caution......In our area, there are no secrets. Once a gymnast starts looking at other gyms, it gets back to the current coaches like lightning! There are some coaches (though, thankfully, not all) who will ask you to leave if you've checked out another gym.

I would gather info anonymously over the phone at first before taking my child to the gyms that you've determined are a good fit.

Good luck!
 
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flippymonkeysmom

Guest
Just a word of caution......In our area, there are no secrets. Once a gymnast starts looking at other gyms, it gets back to the current coaches like lightning! There are some coaches (though, thankfully, not all) who will ask you to leave if you've checked out another gym.

I would gather info anonymously over the phone at first before taking my child to the gyms that you've determined are a good fit.

Good luck!

That is a really good point too. We are having some issues with my dd's gym and she wants to try another gym but knows the second she walks in the door her coaches will know she was there. She wants to wait until she is 100% sure she wants to switch.

Also, before you even ask any questions I would just observe if there is a viewing area. Sometimes you can learn a lot just by watching how the coaches are working with the kids and getting an overall "feel" for the place.
 
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KBT

Guest
Maybe you can do most of the initial scoping out to make sure you like the place before your daughter has to try it out and have people know. I would sit in the viewing area for a while and just talk to parents. You'll get the real story from them - you don't always hear the real story from coaches and owners. Not because they're trying to keep secrets, but sometimes they don't know, and they are trying to sell their gym. I would also ask for a free trial practice.
 
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