Is your child in love with gymnastics? Does she/ he always tries acrobatic movements in the house or feels excited to watch with you the Olympic games? Maybe you observed also a special grace or flexibility and intend to give a try to gymnastics.
If you search for a club for your child, this is what to look in order to choose your best option.
1. Recreational or professional?
Recreational gymnastics is addressed to anyone from little to big ones who are just starting out in the sport, to seasoned gymnasts who’d like to train without the pressure of competitions. After all, it’s never too late to start, and this sport caters to anyone looking to enjoy its benefits.
Competitive gymnastics requires a much higher level of commitment – in terms of time, money and pressure and expectation. Places on a competitive squad are limited and are made by selection, so as much as you might have expectations as a parent or gymnast, there is also a level of expectation from your coaches and team members. Some competitive gymnasts start training at a young age, but we also see numerous children come into the sport later on and progressing well, because they are naturally athletic - and because they work very hard.
So, first step is to decide which direction it is: professional or hobby.
2. Coach profile
Choosing the coach it is a very important aspect, because she/he will be the guide and the role model for the future performance if your child. Are the coaches of the club certified professional members of USA Gymnastics? Certified coaches will stay up to date on the latest information in the sport, as well as the code of ethics for gymnastics. In addition, you want the coaches to be approachable. Capable and caring coaches are essential. A good coach will also find the right balance between challenging the kids to strive for improvement while keeping the focus on fun.
3. What's the student-to-coach ratio?
The best ratio is one coach for every 8 to 10 students to ensure that each child receives individualized instruction and assistance in techniques as needed.
4. Trial Classes and Visits
All gyms should encourage walk-in visits and allow you to schedule a trial class.
When you visit take a look around. Do you see happy looking gymnasts enjoying themselves and the sport? Does the equipment look safe? How do the coaches interact with the students? Is there an observation room/area so you can watch your child during class? Watch how the instructors interact with the children. Are they enthusiastic? Do they get and keep the kids motivated? Do they give a positive with a negative – “Excellent, next time try to look in front!”
5. Finding the right gym
Is your child serious about being a gymnast? Do they just want to try a weekly class, or invest in multiple trainings and gymnastic meets? Take this all into account when choosing a class, as it may mean considering a location that is further away.
6. The Cost
Of course you also need to consider the cost - monthly training costs, equipment etc. If it is a competitive team, are there any extras that come along with it? What are other costs you will incur throughout the year (competitive gear costs: warm-ups, leotards, etc)? Are meet fees included or will you need to pay those when meet season comes around?
Is there a mandatory competitive team camp during the summer and is it included?