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What to Look for When Choosing a Gymnastics Gym
When choosing a gymnastics gym for your child it is important to know the right questions to ask to get the information you need to make an educated decision on which gym is right for you child's individual needs.
Are there coaches certified professional members of USA Gymnastics? All reputable gyms should involve themselves in our National Governing Body for the Sport of Gymnastics to make sure they are continually up to date on all the new information, changes in the code and following the Code of Ethics for our sport.
What are their standards on Student to Coach ratios for their classes? Low student to coach ratios are necessary for a successful learning environment. Most reputable gyms follow a recommended ratio of 1 coach for every 8 to 10 gymnasts. This gives each student the opportunity for individualized attention during classes to work on specific issue that relate to them only rather than just generalized group instruction.
Do they have a clean, well lit facility, and is their equipment properly maintained? Emphasis on safety in our sport is a must. Having the proper equipment and environment to train is imperative to the success of any student.
What is their program philosophy? Any reputable philosophy will emphasize building life skills through gymnastics rather than a win at all cost attitude. Children need to be in a program that is designed to build them up and develop leadership and self-esteem, as well as, encourage them to take control and responsibility for their own health and well-being.
Are the children happy and do they appear to be having fun and learning? The number one reason a child begins a sport is because it is fun. The number one reason a child quits a sport is because it isn't fun anymore. However, there is a fine line between learning and fun. You want a program that encompasses both fun and learning to receive the maximum benefits out of the program.
Are the children dressed in proper gymnastics attire? The standard gymnastics leotard is has a very big purpose. SAFETY! Loose fitting clothes can cause serious injury in the sport of gymnastics not only to the child, but also to the coach who is spotting the child. A good gym will require the proper clothing for their students.
Does the gym have a parent viewing area for you to observe? Most gyms will have an area for parents to sit and observe classes if they choose. You should be skeptical of any facility that does not give you the opportunity to watch your child's classes in progress. Knowing what you child is working on and being able to ask questions about what they are doing is imperative to helping your child succeed. IMPORTANT NOTE: The viewing areas are for observation only. You should always leave it up to the coach to do the teaching. Never offer your opinion or try to coach your child during a class. If you feel the need to speak to the coach or child, schedule and appointment and do so at the proper time.