For Parents Gym Switch - What to look for in a good gym

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Proud Parent
Jun 20, 2011
My dd (level 4) has one more meet to go this seaon, two if she qualifies for State. The likelyhood of her qualifiying for state is slim, due in part to her coaches and in part, the last meet is likely to be a tough meet.

My dd started gym when she was 3 and she is pretty good. She is currently 8 and I'm a realist. I know, that she probably isn't going to be an Olympian. She wants to be an Olympian, but I’m never going tell her flat out that it’s impossible. My hopes are that she continues to love the sport and stick through it and hopefully get a scholarship and compete in college.

The gym she is currently at only goes up to level 6 and she will need to change gyms at some point if she wants to continue. The coaches have been nice, but the owner is annoying and refuses to communicate with parents and has made some decisions in the past that have left me irritated and frustrated. The coaches have very obvious favorites and it your kids isn't one of them, they don't get the coaching, feedback or support or some perks of being on the team. There was a special event recently, and all but 2 or 3 girls got to participate. My dd was one of the one’s left out and it was clear, our family isn’t on the favorite list.

There are some pretty clear things that she needs to work on and she has had a good meet season. She’s made top 5 at a few meets on some of the events, but struggles on bars. We do privates when they let us and she really tries hard, but the things I see that she needs help with, they just have her keep repeating the same mistakes over and over and they aren’t getting better. I know she is going to need to repeat the same level, which I’m guessing will be level 3 next year? Again, the coach has been far from upfront about the changes for next season and most of the parents are in the dark about the changes.

I’ve had a number of people, including former coaches tell me, we really should consider switching gyms, and there are a couple of gyms in our area to check out, but I don’t know what to ask or what to look for. I don’t like drama, I don’t want to be one of THOSE mom’s. I want this to be a one-time switch and I want my dd to be happy. Any tips and suggestions?


Proud Parent
Aug 16, 2012
First, who cares if you are one of THOSE moms if you are doing the right thing for you and your daughter? It sounds to me like you should switch gyms. Look for gymnasts at higher levels, obviously, but also, look for a coach who you can talk to. Who gives you her email and welcomes questions. Who asks if your child is happy with the program. We had to switch gyms twice to find a good fit. You don't always know right away, unfortunately. A month was about how long it took, both times, to really tell what we had gotten ourselves into. To me, good communication with the coach was our number one issue. The fundraising, contracts, costs, etc, yes you should have a list of questions going in, but you need to know there is some degree of "customer service" , meaning both YOU and your daughter are happy wherever you go.
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Proud Parent
Mar 12, 2010
Who cares if shes never going to be an olympian!? She still deserves to be happy, well coached, and have great opportunities! I would Be checking out other gyms. Most gyms just want to keep kids in the sport as long as they can. And take them as far as they can go. And it should be a fun wonderful experience! 8 yrs old at L4 is awesome...dont let them tell you different!
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Proud Parent
Oct 23, 2009
NJ Region 7
We were in the same exact situation that you find yourself and dd in. My dds gym had just started usag with a novice coach and we parents had no clue what to expect. As our dds competed we noticed our girls weren't as polished as other teams and after many meetings with the owner asking for him to help the coach several girls left for a more experienced gym. At L 4 States those girls did very well while dd came in 28th and as she puts it now "got a thanks for coming ribbon". That night she told me she wanted to switch gyms. My husband and I searched for gyms in the area then looked at if they had any elite girls and how many girls got scholarships to colleges and how overall the girls do at States. When we narrowed it down dd tried out at 2 and told me which one she wanted to be part of. She was accepted and has done well but lol has no dream of becoming an Olympian. So look on the State website and visit gyms that might be a good fit for your dd. Mine ended up choosing a different gym then her two teammates but is very happy but the other girls are no longer in gymnastics. Best wishes for a good switch :)


Proud Parent
Aug 30, 2012
We also switched gyms after the L4 State Meet as it was very obvious the coaching my daughter was receiving was not really up to par. She was doing pretty well and we "liked" her coach and her team very much, but she felt unprepared and didn't do as well as she could have if she'd been coached properly (some of the routines were not taught to meet the standards). Within 3-4 months with the new coach, she looked like a completely different gymnast (a much better one!). I would look around, visit a few places and make the move now. If you have to move by L6 anyway, you should move now because she may pick up bad habits that are hard to unwind as a L6/L7 gymnast.

Good luck!


Proud Parent
Sep 27, 2011
Region 4
If your daughter isn't getting good coach and you don't like the gym, this is a no-brainer--time to switch! Since your daughter is currently interested in gymnastics long term (and I say "currently" because we all know how things can change!), I would definitely make sure the gyms you visit have higher level gymnasts--check out their ages too. If all their level 7s and 8s are 9 and 10, then it might not be the best fit for your daughter (some gyms just push younger gymnasts for their team and while 8 at level 4 certainly isn't old for the vast majority of gyms, those gyms wouldn't be the place for her). Check out how the gyms do at meets, but also check out higher levels too--there are many gyms that do fantastic at Compulsories, but can't coach optionals to save their lives. And definitely visit and have a trial for your daughter--once you narrow it down to 2 or 3 places. Good luck and keep us updated on how your search goes too!
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