Choosing a Center For Your Kids

10 Things You Should Consider When Choosing a Gymnastics Center for Your Kids

Like many other parents, I have been looking for activities for my kids to get involved in over the summer break. Then it dawned on me; GYMNASTICS! But how do you choose the right gymnastics center for your children to attend? How do you ensure your children are safe and happy while engaging in such a sport? Well, here’s what I found to be the ten most important things to consider:

  1. Is the gymnastics center affiliated with a governing body?

Many places have governing bodies that overlook the quality and safety of the organizations providing gymnastics training. It’s a good idea to look into if they are a member or otherwise affiliated with these governing bodies. In the United States, USA gymnastics is the governing body over gymnastics. Being a member of USA gymnastics requires specific liability insurance, strict safety policies, standards for the behavior of staff and volunteers, and an overall commitment to the welfare of gymnastic participants at the qualified gymnastics center (USA Gymnastics, 2019). Their website also provides a list of suspended members so you can weed out the bad apples.

  1. What size are the classes?

Like classes of all types, the instructor-student ratio is very important. If there are too many students and not enough coaches, it is more likely for the students to get hurt and to learn at a slower pace. Choosing gymnastic centers with a smaller class size will increase the likelihood that the class goes smoothly. I would suggest looking for classes that have at least one coach or instructor per ten students, preferably more.

  1. Are the coaches attentive, friendly and engaging?

For this one, you will have to go to the gymnastics center and watch a class. Pay attention to the coach’s demeanor. How are the students interacting with the coaches? Are the coaches paying attention at all times? Just as important, are the students paying attention to the coaches? You want to ensure that your children are in the hands of caring instructors.

  1. Are the programs and classes age-appropriate?

Students of different ages have different capabilities. Are the classes divided up based on the students’ age group along with difficulty? A class full of students of different ages with different abilities and maturity isn’t ideal. Those who are able to do more will be held back while those who are too young or inexperienced will be left behind.

  1. What state is the equipment in?

It is absolutely crucial that the gymnastics equipment is well maintained and in good condition. Avoid any gymnastic centers that have any equipment that is in disrepair or seems old. Safety should be a number one priority and while preforming gymnastics the last thing you need is for the equipment to break while your kid is using them.  Even if the equipment never fails, equipment in disrepair shows that the gymnastic center isn’t taking safety seriously enough.

  1. Is there room for advancement?

Be sure to ask about what the path options are like for students that attend the gymnastics center. Are their opportunities to compete? Are there ever shows that the students can display their new skills at? It is best to find these things out beforehand instead of your kids getting their hopes up only to find out they will never perform in front of anyone.

  1. What are the costs?

Like everything, the costs need to be considered. Shop around and find the going rate for gymnastic classes and camps in your area for your children’s age groups.  If the prices are higher, why? Are their advantages to going to that particular gymnastic center; more advanced equipment, more experienced coaches? If the prices are lower than the going rate in your area, what is the reason? Are they in a bad part of town? Are there a lot of complaints?

  1. What kind of reviews does the gymnastic center have?

Firsthand experience is very useful. Check out reviews for the gymnastic center and see what other parents and older students have to say about them. If the gymnastic center has a website, check to see if they have testimonials. See if they have a Facebook page and look through the comments and look at reviews on common review sites. Keep in mind, even though the first-hand experience is useful, people are more likely to post reviews when they are upset opposed to when things go well so you may see more of those reviews than satisfied ones.  

  1. Does the gymnastics schedule fit your personal schedule?

Make sure to check the available schedules and see if it fits into your existing schedule. Consider the time it takes to travel and what time you will arrive home. This may be even more difficult if you have multiple children at different difficulty levels or age groups because they would be attending different classes. Maybe there are errands you need to run in that area anyways and it actually works out for the best!

  1. Does the gymnastics center have a trial class?

Second to safety the most important thing to consider is will your child really enjoy going to gymnastics. Are they a good fit for the specific gymnastic center’s dynamics? Are they a good fit for gymnastics in general? Will they get along well with the coaches and fellow participants? Well, that is hard to know before you try. Trial classes are best for this. In these classes they are paid for separately so that your child can get a feel for the sport, instructors, and other students, without making any long-term obligations.

 

Using these ten considerations, I was able to find the perfect fit for my children. They have been happily attending a summer gymnastics camp and we intend to enroll them in afterschool classes when school starts back up at the same center! With these same considerations I’m sure you, too, will find the perfect fit for your children.

 

References

USA Gymnastics. (2019). Member Club Registration Requirements. Retrieved from USA Gymnastics: https://usagym.org/pages/membership/pages/reg_requirements.html?prog=au