For Parents 30 kids - level3 "preteam"

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Hello all I am brand new to this! J did some tumbling (on a team) and is 6. She is interested in learning more "gymnastics" so we went and had her evaluated at a gym. They placed her with their "preteam" My questions is this? Last night was her first night and there are 30 kids in the class. It is a 3hour class 3x a week. There are 4 coaches. Is this normal? That seems like ALOT of kids to me.

J was evaluated at two other gyms, one was going to put her in their advanced rec class to start, the other 2 levels down from their "preteam"

I guess what I am really asking is do you think that this gym just has all these kids there doing the 9 hour a week program because its a numbers thing or are they really ready? I know that gymnastics is a business and the gym owner has to keep the lights on, so Im not being critical, just asking.

9 hours and 200 a month is alot if J just isnt there yet, but I have no way of knowing.

Thanks in advance. You guys are great and a wealth of knowledge. I have learned so much just reading the archives!

gym law mom

Proud Parent
Dec 23, 2006
Thats not a class---its a mob! Do they divide the girls up among the 4 coaches and keep them moving from drills on vault to some work on bars or are they all doing the same thing? A 1:8 or so coach to gymnast ratio would be fine if its kept at that. I could see them all together for conditioning if all 4 coaches are supervising.

You'll find some gyms that will put a girl on "pre-team" if she can do a forward roll and others that want the girl to have some basic bar, beam and tumbling skills before going onto pre-team. Obviously, your dd is at least at the level of the other girls in tumbling if not ahead of them and the coaches may feel they can catch her up on the other 3 events. Do you know what type of classes feed into the pre-team program at this gym or is it just anyone who is interested.

If you're really wondering if this is just about getting another $200/mo. from a family, go back to the other gyms and ask why they would put dd at the level they suggested and what she would need to work on to move up to pre-team. You may find that even though they would not have her in a pre-team program, she would get more instructions in the fundamentals of the sport so when she's ready to move up, all the basics are in place.


Proud Parent
Jun 26, 2008
Hi, welcome!

4 coaches for 30 kids would work out to 7-8 per coach which I would consider a little on the high side but still within a normal staffing range. Have you watched the practice? If the coaches are good, and there is not a lot of waiting for a turn time and the the practice seems to be run well, I don't think that it would be a problem.

I run practices with 6-7 in a group and try to always minimize wait time. I do a lot of drills and independent practice and stations and the girls always have something to do. The problem with a larger group is that if they are standing waiting their turn, you are paying for that and nothing is getting accomplished. If that isn't the case then you are probably OK.


Moderator/Proud Parent
Aug 25, 2007
North Carolina
That seems excessive to me, but DD is at a very small gym. Our entire team (L3-8) has 18 girls.
I am not sure how big this gym but I would imagine it would need a HUGE rec program to end up with 30 girls on L3. That said we have Been to meets where there were teams with large numbers of girls at a certain level. Can't say I actually counted but maybe 15 or so.
7-8 girls coach maynot be too bad, but if all the girls are young (under 7) they could get very easily distracted if they have to wait for a turn. If there were stations at each event to do while waiting to work with coach or be spotted they may be ok.
I would not be comfortable with that many, but again we are in a small gym atmosphere that we love and that is not for everyone either.
The fact that two other gyms had her placed in rec classes would lead me to think she may not be ready for L3, but maybe she is and the other gyms didn't have room or didn't see some potential that this gym did.
Did she like one over the others? That is a lot of hours for L3 IMHO and a lot of $. But depending on where you live that may be the norm for your area.
Can you ( without DD) watch a couple of the classes at each gym to get a better feel. I would watch this team practice a few times to see how well they handle that many kids before committing, especially if there is some sort of contract you have to sign.


That's a lot of kids in a class, if they keep them all together! As far as whether she's ready? I'd watch some practices and see how she does in comparison with the other girls.

Midget's Dad

My dd is in the level 3 team program at our gym and we have 10 girls working with 2 coaches on any given day. Then again we are fairly small.

But as it has been said above 30 with 4 does not seem impossible, just a lot.

The hours seem high to me as well. Our girls do half that, but then again I have noticed that our gym seems to be on the low end of practice hours.

I would spend some time talking to the other gyms again and observing the classes they had suggested and comparing it to what you see at this one.


Proud Parent
Proud Parent
Sep 25, 2007
I think you got all the important questions to ask from the previous posters. Unless they divide the girls up amongst the coaches, that would seem worrisome to me. Also, 9 hours a week for level 3 is a lot in my opinion. My level 4 goes 10 hours a week. The preteam at DDs old gym went 6 hours a week (2 hours x 3 days a week) and the preteam at her current gym did 5 hours a week (2 1/2 x 2 days a week) at the highest level, the 2 developmental classes before that are 1 hour/2x a week and 1 1/2 hours/2x a week).

I think you should ask the questions Gym Law Mom suggested to the other gyms and see what they say.

Might want to check meet scores at level 4 for the 3 gyms. Though that is looking out in the future a lot. I wish I had checked out more things when I put my daughter in her first pre-team type class. We ended back where we started anyway. I based it on her being happy and getting more hours for our buck, which ended up probably not being the best thing. Don't regret it, but could have saved some big bucks and she would have not competed until this year.

Some gyms do have lots on team for the money. Others just have really big programs. I would look and see how big their other levels are, too.

Good luck finding her a good gym and welcome to the CB!!
Feb 28, 2008
Bethlehem, PA
30 sounds like a lot, but it definitely depends on the size of the program. I don't remember how many were in DD's developmental class because she only did developmental at our current gym for 6 weeks. There were about 25 in her level 4 class. Now we are down to 20 in level 5.

We had 4 coaches for developmental and level 4. We have had 2-3 for level 5 (I wish it were 3 more often). We'll see what things will be like in the fall.

Our gym always divides the girls into groups after warm-up/conditioning.


Proud Parent
Oct 26, 2007
I also think that 9 hrs is a lot for preteam. If they are practicing this much in preteam what are the hrs like once they move up. 30 is alot but I am sure that many will drop out during the year. Our 4s and 5s trained together last year and it was 28 girls. They had 3 coaches also. Most of the time they broke into 3 training groups and spread around the gym. Occasionally they would all work together and then in was too many IMO even with 3 coaches.
Jan 2, 2009
We always combined pre-team and level 4, so we had about 20 girls (give or take) and 2-3 coaches. we did 6 hours in pre-team and 9-10 hours in L4. Some of the L4 moms were concerned about their kids being at the gym too late at night, and many of them got picked up early, but the gym is huge, and the coaches were good about having more than one station for the girls so they could be conditioning while they were waiting for turns. most of the time the "bg" girls worked out at the same time, just rotating apparatus.

I agree with everyone else about watching practice and checking scores before you decide (we went to 4 gyms before we found where we wasn't a case of "the mats are always more blue somewhere else" it was just ignorance on our part and trying to save some money) My DD isn't happy unless someone is going to challenge her, so sometimes you have to find the right fit!:p

let us know how it goes!
Just about all gyms select kids for their teams. I speculate some use a pyramid approach for screening. That is, they would select a large number of kids to start out any preteam or other programs (say TOPS). (parents are more than happy to pay and see their kids shine) Then either they would pick a percentage of these kids to qualify for the team or they would focus on the few gifted ones once making the team.

I would suggest, in addition to watching the preteam lessons, also notice the size of their L4 and L5 teams. Also useful may be to observe the team dynamics at these levels. L4 and L5 are without exceptions the largest groups on any competitive team. With a preteam that large, I would expect their L4/5 to be about the same size.

As for adequacy of coaching, I think 30 kids for 4 coaches is lacking for a preteam. Preteam kids are not accustomed to full blown training. They just don't have the strength or the experience to do skills on their own. They need a lot of attention/guidance/supervision and a lot of spotting. Maybe that's why they require an unusually large number of hours. But, that tells me the down time between turns could be excruciatingly long, something again not ideal for preteam kids.

Just my 2 cents worth. Good luck.


In our world 30 is not that big at all, especially if the ratios are correct and the kids are kept doing something. Our gym has over 220 girls in levels 4-10. We are used to a lot of kids. Our level 5 team last year had 37 kids.

you have already received, as usual, excellent advice from the usual suspects ;);). Follow their advice and you will be fine...



Thank you!

Thank you all very much for the replies! The gym is large (like 20,000 SQF) and while the kids are practicing, there are the team girls practicing as well as req classes going on. Very busy place. I looked at some of the gym meet results and it seems there are alot of girls on the team. They seemed to do pretty well. As I would expect, the other 2 gyms had less girls competing on the team level but the scores were equal to a little better for this gym.

Alot to digest and think about. J has practice tonight again. Mondays is conditioning and then Wed and Fri Im not sure yet. There was another set of girls there practicing (looked to be level 4-7) and there were about 30 girls there also.

The L3 girls were split into 3 groups of 10 I think and there was some downtime, but plenty of equipment. One of the moms mentioned that on Wed they split into those that will compete and those that wont. I guess we will see tonight!

Thanks again, your insight is really helpful! This is all pretty foreign to me, and there is so much to learn.


Moderator/Proud Parent
Aug 25, 2007
North Carolina
best of luck to J and keep us posted ( no pun intended, while maybe !). As long as there is adequate staffing for the size of the group and J is having FUN, all is good.


Proud Parent
Oct 10, 2008
She will probably come along very quickly on 9 hours/week with relatively advanced tumbling skills and that's what they are thinking putting her in a 9 hour pre-team. Does she like going 9 hours? My almost 6 goes 6 hours now (some weeks they will add a Saturday) and likes it. She is home schooled so it is the longest stretch she's in a program.

My daughter's new team has about 6-7 level 2's. They have one coach assigned to them. I think there is a good deal of waiting, but now that's she's closer and going longer (3hrs), I do not watch as much. She is not complaining.


Our gym can have that many in a pre team but usually they keep the 8:1 ratio and do rotating stations with the groups. so one group of 8 will work on bars while another work on beam then another is working at a conditioning station etc... then after a bit of time they rotate around. At the lower levels (preteam - L4) I have found there are usually are more girls. Of course size of the gym and number of coaches will make a difference too. Our Pre-Team really is an evaluation class and a lets get them ready for L4 class. We have 3 stages to our pre team. Those that start at the lowest level (Bronze- 3 - 4 hrs usually 4 - 5 yo) are a big group. After that first year about 1/2 don't move on usually because parents didn't realilze the commitment level that was needed so they quit. When they move up a level (Silver- 5 - 6 hrs 5 - 6 yrs old) more hours are added on and again parents see more money going out of their pockets and more time living at the gym and quit. Our last level is Gold (9 hrs a week 5 - 7 yrs old) by this time we are down to a group of about 6-8 girls that are dedicated with parents that are committed. Its a 3 year process but there are girls that come in and are put right on the Gold level. Maybe with all the girls your gym has they have varied levels too but they all just practice at the same time.

I don't think 9 hours a week is too much either for someone on track for team - as she moves up in the levels the hours will be longer (my DD at L7 is at about 20 hrs a week). Plant your money tree now (passing you a seed quarter - LOL) its going to get alot more expensive and clear your calendar - this is definitly an all consuming sport. Don't forget to start looking for the ever important fanny cushion to sit on when at the meets. Bleachers are hard and 3 - 6 hours on one starts to make one's fanny fall asleep.

Oh and welcome, welcome, welcome to the wonderful world of competitive gymnastics.


Proud Parent
Mar 20, 2009
30 girls is a big group. I would be afraid my DD would get lost in the shuffle and 9 hours a week seems like alot for preteam. Our Level 4's are required to go 6 hours but have the option of another 3 hours if they want (which she does). The cost is much lower than that for our Level 4 team. How old is your DD. Is she younger than 7? I would think 9 hours would be too much for the younger girls. Just my 2 cnts.


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Club Owner / Manager
Jan 4, 2008
I don't tthink 30 is too many at all with 4 coaches. Thats only 7-8 kids per coach. If the group warms up or stretches and does conditioning together thats fine. More sets of eyes to watch and then divides up between the 4 apparatus.

9 hours is about the norm for level 3 in Australia. The average for level 3 here is anywhere between 6-12. Level 4 do 12-16 usually.


Thanks again for the insight! I spoke with the HC of the L3 "team" I miscounted.. There are 24 girls. They are divided into two groups. One that competes and one that doesn't. So essentially J is in the gym 9 hours learning her skills but is in the group that will not do practice meets. I looked at past photos and the L4 group is huge to me. 20+ girls. The L5 group photo has 15 girls, the L6 had 12 girls and from there the photo is labled "optionals" and had 10 girls. These numbers seem to fit what you guys said.

There is a viewing area and a group of "those moms" In listening to the other moms, this group doesn't train as effectively. Im not getting a kind vibe from these moms but really there are only 5 sets of moms that stay out of 24 kids so maybe they are not representative of the parents as a whole.

I was watching practice yesterday and have mixed feelings. They divided the girls into 4 groups of 6. They did ballet, floor, and beam. I could only really see the beam and there was a fair amount of time spent just waiting. The girl running that station looks young and not all that into what she was doing KWIM?

Ugh this so sounds like I am harping on the gym and thats not my intent.

This coming week I plan on visiting/contacting the other two gyms to see what the best fit for J is.
At least the ratio is more reasonable. That is good to hear.

When it comes to L3/preteam coaching, see if the team coaches are ever involved. Sometimes, they may have a helper type of coach helping them when they are not fully available, which can be a majority of the time. But, they should pay attention to what is being done and the progression of the gymnasts. You should also see them communicating with the helper frequently. In our gym, our team coaches do personally train the preteam kids around half of the time (but they only do 4 hours total).
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