Choosing A Gym
What to Consider When Choosing a Gymnastics School
Here at A+ Athletics, we believe that gymnastics is the foundation for all sports. We also believe that gymnastics is for all children, regardless of ability level. Therefore, our program is designed around creating a fun, positive, warm, loving, and safe gym that will give athletes the longevity they need to be successful in gymnastics, life, and any sport!
Gymnastics is, without a doubt, one of the most beneficial physical activities in which children can participate. It truly is an excellent source of exercise for kids. When the gymnastics program is structured and presented correctly, children benefit in the areas of physical fitness, self-esteem and life skills that will serve them for a lifetime. Choosing the gymnastics school which will accentuate all of these benefits is key to a great gymnastics experience.
Parents often wonder how to begin finding the right gymnastics center for their child. Collecting information, speaking with the administrators and staff of the schools in your area, talking with other parents and observing the school are all beneficial actions when deciding on a gymnastics center. There are many factors to consider when choosing a gymnastics school. We have compiled a list of important questions to ask when making your decision, as well as our answers as they pertain to A+ Athletics.
First, quality schools will allow for a free trial class to see that the class, gym and instructor are a good fit for you and your child. It is important to visit the facility and make some basic observations, such as:
- Is the facility clean and free from the smell of stinky feet?
- Are the students happy and do they appear to be having fun and learning?
- Are the gymnastics coaches engaged and interactive with the students?
- Do the instructors offer positive and motivational feedback to the students?
- Are the instructors willing and active in approaching and speaking with the parents?
- Are the classes organized and is there a sense of professionalism about the school?
- Does the school exhibit proper safety measures and have quality, well-maintained equipment?
- Is there an observation area where parents feel welcome and are able to see all or the majority of the gym?
Next, ask questions of the administration and instructors, such as:
- What is the school’s program philosophy and is the staff actively following their philosophy?
- Is the school a recreational or competitive gym?
- Is there a plan for regular staff training?
- Does the school have written lesson plans?
- What is the student to teacher ratio?
- Are all of the instructors and staff CORI (criminal background) and SORI (sexual background) checked?
- Is the gym and all of the instructors USAG members?
- Are all of the staff members CPR/First Aid certified?
Is the facility clean and free from the smell of stinky feet?
Our facility and mats are cleaned daily by a professional cleaning company using all–green cleaning products and recorded for accountability.
Are the students happy and do they appear to be having fun and learning?
The number one reason a child chooses to join a sport is because it is fun and the number one reason a child chooses to quit a sport is because it is no longer fun. Our classes are designed to mix elements of fun and skill learning/progression in order for our students to receive the maximize benefit of our kid’s fitness program.
Are the instructors engaged and interactive with the students?
Our classes have a low student–to–instructor ratio which allows our gymnastics coaches to engage with and learn the needs of every student.
Do the instructors exhibit positive and motivational feedback to the students?
Our instructors are trained to provide positive feedback with every correction which creates natural motivation and a positive experience.
Are the instructors willing and active in approaching and speaking with the parents?
The instructors at A+ Athletics are happy to speak with parents any time before or after classes and they try to make contact with every parent at least once per month.
Are the classes organized and is there a sense of professionalism about the school?
We strive for organization and professionalism in all of our classes and administrative interactions. Constructive feedback is always welcome and helpful, appropriate suggestions are implemented.
Does the school exhibit proper safety measures and have quality, well-maintained equipment?
An emphasis on safety is a must in the sport of gymnastics. A safe gymnastics school will have proper equipment that is well maintained, students should be dressed in proper clothing for gymnastics (leotards for girls, shorts and t-shirts for boys), and instructors should provide spotting on more difficult skills. We have a variety of quality equipment for all ages which is regularly checked for maintenance, mats are cleaned daily, and our coaches are all trained in proper spotting techniques.
Is there an observation area where parents feel welcome and able to see all or the majority of the gym?
At A+, parents are always welcome to watch their child’s gymnastics class. Our viewing area allows for a view of 100 percent of the gym at all times. We want parents to be able to see and hear everything that is going on. The way our coaches treat our athletes is our number one asset: we would never want to hide that behind glass.
What is the school’s program philosophy and is the staff actively following their philosophy?
A+ Athletics believes that gymnastics is beneficial for all children regardless of their particular abilities and future sports goals. We believe that it is our job to create lesson plans that are fun while still providing essential skill learning.
The word gymnastics comes from the root word gymnasium which historically means both physical and intellectual education and development. Any reputable philosophy will emphasize building life skills through gymnastics rather than a “win at all costs” attitude. Our philosophy is to build a well-rounded child that develops leadership skills and self-esteem while encouraging them to take control and responsibility for their own health and well-being.
For the child seeking a serious long-term commitment to the sport of gymnastics, it must be understood that to become a college or national level gymnast, your child will have to participate in the sport for at least 10-15 years, on average. With a commitment of that length, the child must continue to have fun and enjoy the sport which reemphasizes the importance of finding a fun, positive, warm, caring, and safe gymnastics gym for your child to attend. A+ Athletics took “gymnastics” out of our name because of the stigma the word has attached to it regarding pushing kids toward the expectation of the reaching the Olympics. The fact remains that only 6 gymnasts compete at the Olympics with two alternates every four years. Also, on average, only 10% of gymnasts ever make it to the team level. The more realistic goal is to use gymnastics training as an activity for enjoyment, physical development, strength, coordination, and, for some, to become a college athlete.
Is the school a recreational or competitive gym?
A+ Athletics is a recreational and competitive kids gym. Our number one goal is not winning first place. Alternatively, we stress redefining winning as always performing with your best effort, continuously learning and improving, learning from mistakes and not beating oneself up over them, and competing with yourself to do your best.
Is there a plan for regular staff training?
We have weekly staff training which encompasses teaching and spotting techniques, lesson planning, and class management.
Does the school have written lesson plans?
Yes, we have written lesson plans for each class each week.
What is the student to teacher ratio?
Our classes have an 8:1 student to teacher ratio.
Are all of the instructors and staff CORI (criminal background) and SORI (sexual background) checked?
Yes, all of our staff and teachers are CORI & SORI checked.
Is the gym and its instructors members of USAG?
Yes, the gym and our instructors are USAG Professional Members.
Are all of the staff members CPR/First Aid certified?
Yes, all of our staff members are CPR/First Aid certified.
One of the main things to remember when deciding on a gym is to never be afraid or intimidated to ask questions. Make sure that you know what is important to you and your child when looking for a gymnastics center. A quality facility will be happy to take the time to make sure that your questions are answered to your satisfaction without being offended or making you feel like you are being a burden. Let A Plus Athletics show you how top-tier gymnastics clubs should operate.