What do you think makes a great meet?

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gymbratsmom

New Member
Sep 2, 2007
44
Michigan
My dd's gym is hosting one more meet this year and we are looking at ways to improve. What thing have you really liked about a meet? What things have you hated? We are looking for any and all ideas including thing to have at concessions, vendors that you have liked or anything else you can think of. Thanks for all your ideas.
 
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bogwoppit

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Feb 26, 2007
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Love

Small flights
comfy seats
real food
a photographer that's sells prints on the spot
results sheets available
medals going out 50%,
a clear announcer
flowers for sale
meet pins for sale
Gym suit company who came and would put bling on a suit or t for free if you bought it from them!

Loathe
Hard chairs/bleachers!
Blocks of 30 gymnasts and only medals for top 3
No photographer
Only candy/junk to eat
Poor visibility of events
Running over making flights later and later
nasty bathrooms

My I do love/loathe a lot of things don't I!!!
 

gymjourneymom

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Mar 9, 2008
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I love it when meets have a fun theme:cowboy, summertime, pirates, circus. Something that sets a fun tone. And when they do fun stuff like handstand contest or line dances prior to awards. And play theme related music in between rotations. Anything to lighten the mood & keep it fun. Not sure if the upper optional levels appreciate that stuff though. I like it when the lower level girls all take "something" home in the AA. Or if they go out "extra" places with awards, so more girls take something home. Basically I just like to feel welcome...like the gym is glad we came! When you've gotten up at an ungodly hour & driven in traffic, to an unknown area, your worried about your DD, stress,stress, stress...it's nice to be greeted with a smile! Mostly I just care if a meet is well organized & runs smoothly & in time. Having people directing traffic in the parking lot can be helpful too. Being able to buy "real" food on site is great! I like to be able to buy a gift to be sent out on the floor to DD & her teammates during awards. A good sound system is important. A photographer is great. I also love....eletronic score boards!!!! Sorry I'm rambling...I know I can come up with more if you need it:D.
 

Robindq

Member
Dec 16, 2007
418
28
Ontario, Canada
I think bog and gymjourneymom pretty much summed it up.

As a gymnast what I have liked the best at meets:
- anything that makes the competition less stressful
- I like the handstand contests, handstand walking etc. at the end of the competition (and I'm 17 haha, so i guess that never gets old...for me anyways). It's such a good, fun, positive way to end to the competition.
- Photographers and like Bog said, pics for sale right at the comp (CD's or print outs)
- Judges that smile, seem like real people, and aren't intimidating lol
-and the obvious: small flights, small groups (i think 10 competitors per age group/level or less is good...i don't know if you can help that size much though)
- Uhh for the goodie bag things I personally think T-shirts are the best (with the name of the comp on them)- I pretty much like something that has the name of the meet on it so i can remember it
- Leotards for sale are good...and/or those customizable T's and sweaters are pretty cool
- for medals I have only ever had 1,2,3 and then ribbons usually to 8th...
- Oh and try to make it quick and on time!!! The best competitions are the ones that don't take ten years. Go in, compete, have fun, go home...minimal waiting time for other flights or for your huge flight to finish competing.

Good luck
 

gymdog

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Jul 5, 2007
5,121
Time is important. It can get tricky with awards and warm ups and sessions overlapping so you have to watch that. Results can also be a...um, pain to deal with getting. If you decide to use a new score system, take it for a dry run first. If there's some way you can set up so you're prepared to have awards in a different place than open stretch needs to happen, that's ideal, but with some set ups you only have the floor.

Electronic scoreboards are very nice but for a smallish or even medium meet, they're pretty much out of the question cost-wise, unless you have a contact that owns them who will let you borrow them. And then you can run into warranty issues with the software, etc. Yeah I don't know. Not worth it for a small meet in my opinion but maybe other people have vastly different experiences?

Plan something to fill up the dead time in between the last routine and when you're ready with results....contest, etc. Handstand contest is kind of ubiquitous but you can also do something ahead of time like ask teams to come up with a cheer or something to perform.

Put the results online at the end of the last session but make you're in compliance with the new USAG regs on that. Something about ages...I don't know exactly what though. It's online somewhere.

Try to figure out how to pronounce names before announcing awards. In girls, people are ALL over you about awards announcement but that's normal. If there's a problem they need to address it with the coach and who needs to talk to the meet director.

Goody bags. Well, I guess I'm a bit of a curmudgeon on this front due to my hatred of generating waste, but these have also become fairly ubiquitous I suppose. My personal choice would probably be a snack in a small bag. Granola bars or pretzels work well. If you have to do a gift, something like a scrunchie that will get use is probably all right.
 

Geoffrey Taucer

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Love:
-Good food in the coaches hospitality room.

...

Actually, that's all I've got. But you'd be surprised how many gyms this can bring in; there's a boys gym in NC that wins it's bid for a meet almost every year (this year being a rare exception) because of their legendary banana pudding. I'm not exaggerating in the slightest when I say that banana pudding tops the list of reasons we (the coaches) like to go there.
 
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gymjourneymom

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Mar 9, 2008
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Love:
-Good food in the coaches hospitality room.

...

Actually, that's all I've got. But you'd be surprised how many gyms this can bring in; there's a boys gym in NC that wins it's bid for a meet almost every year (this year being a rare exception) because their legendary banana pudding. I'm not exaggerating in the slightest when I say that banana pudding tops the list of reasons we (the coaches) like to go there.
LOL!!! I guess it's true what they say....the way to a man's heart is through his stomach!!!!:D
 

vmom

Member
Feb 15, 2008
130
I dislike the awards being in a room so close to the competition area that you can not hear over the floor music. I'm also not a fan of only calling up the athletes for AA and then telling how they placed on everything else. For example, " 5th AA is Jane Doe. Jane placed 1st on floor, 3rd on bars, 6th on beam and 4th on floor..." What if this is the ONLY competition that she placed in the top 3 on any event? She doesn't get to see what it feels like on the top tiers of that podium. I realize it saves time to do awards this way, but I feel the athletes don't get their moment in the spotlight unless they placed in the top 3 AA. I also feel like every athlete deserves a medal or small trophy in the AA, especially if you don't medal out very many places for individual events. It's not fun to make a 10 hour trip and leave the meet with a crying kid and nothing to show for the experience.
It's nice when team awards are divided into large teams and small teams.
I like to have photographers on site.
Raffles are fun, but be sure to display them prominently.
If there is room (and cash allows), a kid zone is good for young siblings.
Goodie bags are a big deal, but a free leo, t-shirt or sweatpants are fun too.
Please have enough medals available if you are allowing ties without a tie breaker, be prepared to give two medals.
Don't choose the longest version of the Star-Spangled Banner ever to open every session.
Don't let young kids flash scores without adult supervision, unless you really enjoy irate parents!
Make sure the results are correct if at all possible before announcing awards. I've seen a couple of incidents where girls had to give medals or trophies back. Not pretty.
A free massage for the parents would be nice (ha ha).
 

gymnomore

Member
Aug 3, 2007
208
I vote for a tee-shirt or string backpack or some substantial item with the name of the meet on it rather than a bag of junk. Everyone else had great ideas that I second.
One other thing I might add: If you use an electronic scoreboard, BE SURE and have back-up flash-scorecards for when (not if) the scoreboard goes out at some time....because invariably, it will.
 
C

cathiann

Guest
Agree with nearly everything everyone has posted. I love nice decorations too--makes it more festive and fun. Have an announcer that is actually GOOD at it--doesn't go too fast, speaks clearly, etc. If you don't have electronic scoring, make sure the girls flashing know to do it SLOWLY and turn it towards the audience too.

Our booster club hosts meets every year and we've been told by coaches and judges that they love our food in our coaches & judges rooms--and since the coaches pick the meets, I'd vote you make sure you have good food in your coaches rooms LOL!

Oh--if you host a weekend long meet, please have a weekend rate as well as a daily rate--some of us DO come the entire weekend. Also, don't make competing gymnasts pay to get into other sessions that weekend (we were at a meet in Dallas last year that made them--we didn't go back this year--one of the reasons we didn't!).
 

Blackie6

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Mar 1, 2007
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Lots of great suggestions already, but I did want to add about the long wait between the end of the last rotation and the awards. We went to a huge meet this weekend where the meet itself was run very well and the girls moved thru the events very quickly, but it took about 45 minutes to get the awards underway. Had we known it would be more than "just a couple more minutes" we could have given DD something to eat. I also love things in the goodie bags that the girls can use. Scrunchies are nice. At our hosted meet we did T-Shirts and a Lancome lip gloss that my DD absolutley loves and I try to steal from her. This meet we went to this past weekend gave out hoody sweatshirts with a coupon you could use to get their names airbrushed on for only $10.00, what a uniquie idea! My DD wore it TWO days in a row.

As a parent I also have to add the comfortable and available seating. It is so hard to be squeezed in like sardines. Even though we all get up and move around for good pictures, we like to be able to just sit sometimes when the meets get long. I know sometimes you have no choice, you have to use what the venue offers for chairs, LOL

Also, medals are nice at the lower levels. My DD is a L4 and last year almost all meets gave out medals. Being only 6, she never really won any of them. This year as a repeater she was almost always up on the podium finally, but often came off with just ribbons. Maybe awards was everyones big budget cut? Girls love clankity clank!

Shopping! I admit, I like to walk around some and browse thru gifts, leos and pins between rotations while stretching my legs. Especially at the lower levels we are aways looking to buy something for our DD's for a job well done that day.

Food, I am not a big food buyer at meets, unless it is first thing in the morning and a bagel will usually do it for me. But, I can see when you are someplace for a couple hours you want something other than pizza or a hot dog so variety is nice.
 

gymbratsmom

New Member
Sep 2, 2007
44
Michigan
Thanks for all the great ideas. Our parent club puts the meets on at our gym and we have had great reviews but we are always looking for something new and improved.

bogwoppit you mentioned result sheets available. Do you mean that when the meet is over there are sheets with every score on it? I have never heard of anything like that before. I know that our coaches put the results online immediatly after each session.

We do have hard metal chairs but our meets do go fast. This past weekend each session had about 70 girls in it and took about three hours from start to finish including awards. Everything ran smooth and the person putting in the scores is great and very fast. The only thing we have to wait for is the judges to verify the scores before we start awards. We always have adults flashing the scores because we have been to meets where the kids do it and it is very frustrating.

Any more ideas?
 

bogwoppit

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Feb 26, 2007
16,709
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Canada
bogwoppit you mentioned result sheets available. Do you mean that when the meet is over there are sheets with every score on it?
quote]


Yes, I have been to meets where you could buy the results for 25 cents a sheet, makes some money and the girls like to keep them. I have also been to some meets where we never know how our girls did unless they actually got on the podium 1-8, in a flight of 30 girls it is nice for them to know how they did.

It sounds like your meets are already great, nice to see a gym that wishes to continually improve.
 

eeyoretumbles

Member
Jul 13, 2008
234
rainy washington
I have never heard of a result sheet, but that sounds like such a good idea! I'm alwayyyss wondering what I got, and end up going online to see if it was posted.

I love:
scores flashed up by hand, not electronics [our gym has electronics, but it always ends up going slow or something goes wrong, and you never see what score you got]

cool march-ins! if anyone is from WA state, cascade elite always does the coolest march ins, with the lights off and these cool spotlights going on

not necessarily goodybags, but something like a t-shirt, something the kids won't end up throwing away haha

photographers

calling awards, from like 8th to first or something like that. i hate it when it's called first to 8th.

calling awards to the 8th girl but 10th is always fun.

doing awards for individual events!

and handstand contest someone mentioned sounds like a good idea, i always love those! or something that involves all the gymnast, at the bunnyhop invitational we always dance around and grab one of our parents too. maybe some team contests or something too.
 
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