It’s an exciting time, you have decided to enroll your child in gymnastics lessons! You have probably already heard all about the benefits of this sport in a child’s life. You know that gymnastics starts a healthy lifestyle early, increases flexibility, strengthens muscles, develops strong social skills, improves coordination, creates a strong work ethic, and provides the ultimate base training for all sports. The question is, now that you know you want to participate in this sport what’s next? How can you find the best place for your child, what should you be looking for?
All gyms are not the same. Choosing a gym can be stressful and confusing. If you are looking for your child’s introduction to the sport you want it to be safe and fun. As they grow in the sport you want an environment that encourages, inspires, and that can keep them challenged. As former gymnasts, current coaches, and parents of gymnasts, here are some things we recommend you prioritize when choosing a gymnastics gym.
- Member of USA Gymnastics. USA gymnastics member clubs agree to abide by a certain set of rules or their membership is terminated. As well as holding these gyms to the highest standards this membership is also required to host gymnastics competitions.
- Gymnastics training equipment and set up. Does the gym you are looking at have a foam pit? A tumble track? Multiple balance beams and bars? What about the set up-does it look safe? Are the tiny gymnasts safely segregated from the more advanced? Having the correct equipment, and enough of it, allows gymnasts to train to the highest level in a safe environment.
- Coaching philosophies. Possibly the most important aspect to choosing a gym is finding an establishment that values education in a manner you agree with. A good gym will find the right balance between challenging the kids to strive for improvement while keeping the focus on fun. Coaches and staff should be approachable for comments, questions, and concerns. They should be knowledgeable and caring. Do the instructors teach children morals, values, character, health, fitness and good work ethics? A gym that helps students succeed breeds confidence and a desire to learn more.
- Safety and sanitation. These days one thing in the forefront of every parent’s mind more than ever is “will my child be safe here?” Here at Salem, we follow all CDC guidelines and even go above and beyond to keep every child safe, and our facility sanitized and clean. You can find the full details on our website.
- Class times and varieties. Classes should be separated by age and skill levels-this allows for more individualized teaching. Finding a gym that has a variety of class levels at a variety of times will be beneficial as your gymnast grows. Life can get crazy at different times and being able to find the same level class for your child at different times will make your life easier.
- Gym reviews. One of the best ways to research a gym is to find out what other parents are saying. How do they like the classes, coaches, and administration? Talk to some parents there if you can, visit their facebook page, look at their google reviews. A gym’s reputation can tell you a lot about them.
- Trust your gut. Walk into the gym and meet the staff. Observe a class if you can- are you seeing the above points exemplified? Imagine your child in this environment, interacting with these coaches and fellow students. You should feel comfortable in the surroundings and with the employees, for yourself and your child.
At Salem, gymnastics is our passion and we are proud to have been sharing this with the children of the Triad for forty years. With so many benefits it’s no wonder that parents love this sport to teach their children life skills used in all athletic and professional futures. We hope these pointers will help you find the gym where your little one will grow in strength and confidence.