Choosing the right gym for your child is important. After all, that's where they will spend most of their time during training. It only makes sense that you'd want to find the proper environment that matches your child's needs and values. Here are some things you should remember when picking a gym for your child.
Check if the gym is a member of USA Gymnastics, USAIGC (United States Association of Independent Gymnastics Clubs) or AAU Gymnastics (Amateur Athletic Union). This ensures that the gym is safe, insured, and only employs staff who have qualified backgrounds. These gyms follow a set of rules from USAG, USAIGC or AAU so you can be sure that the programs they offer meet standards. USAIGC requires 100% of all coaches, staff and volunteers to complete and pass a background check.
Watch how coaches and other staff interact with gymnasts. Bonus points if they are approachable, attentive, and knowledgeable. A great gymnastics experience begins with the right people supporting your child.
Make sure that the gym is clean and uses quality equipment. Your child will be spending a lot of time using gym equipment and tools so you want to invest in a gym that guarantees safe training.
Find a gym that is within a reasonable distance from your home. Your gym's location will be important as your child progresses with gymnastics. As they progress, they'll need to spend more time in the gym. If you need to commute or drive to the gym, keep in mind how far is too far for your family.
Take note of the size and schedule of classes the gym offers. Do they fit into your schedule? Are there weekend and after-school classes? How big are the classes? Small classes mean that coaches and instructors will have more time to be hands-on and attentive.
It's a good thing to know if your child will be around other children their age. This way, your child will get the chance to make friends and build their own support network.
Find out if the gym's fees fit your budget. Don't hesitate to ask if fees include meets, camps, or other activities. Also, consider additional costs such as travel, gear, among other things if your athlete will be pursuing the competitive track. It's better to know early on if your child can continue their classes and or competitions without any hassles.
Some gyms offer trial classes for beginners. This is a great way to gauge if the gym is right for your child without any commitments.
Coaches, instructors, and staff should be transparent and open to questions/feedbacks. A great gym cares for parents as much as they care for the children.