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We have recently moved to a new state and have been checking out a couple of gyms in the area. The problem is I'm at an impasse over two gyms and I need help to point me in the right direction. DD is almost five and a level 3, there are only 3 gyms around here that we will consider because the rest are not close enough.

Gym #1 is lets just say is nicer on the eyes. It has newer, and more equipment, bigger building so it's more space. It has a nice waiting area for parents with a playroom for younger siblings...thing coming in handy with a 1 year old! All the coaches are former gymnast that have a degree, and they seemed to work all four events in the hour and fifteen minutes that they were there. I like the idea of her doing this because it keeps thing fresh. However it is more expensive, this level is still only required to go only an hour a week, dd has been going two days a week since I can remember. I asked if we could still send her twice a week and they said yes but they only train level three on Monday's and Wednesdays at one time, and it's with two different coaches. Now dd had two different coaches back home for both days and I think it was a little tougher because both taught skills differently.

Gym #2 is old, it's been there for ever. It's not very big, the equipment is old, and they don't have as much equipment as we are use to (ex: no trampoline's, just a tumble track). Level 3 is taught by two young level 10 gymnast that attend the gym, and I'm not sure if this for some reason bothers me or not. Also for her first class all they worked on was floor, nothing else. No rotation what soever. This level is required to go twice a week for an hour but they are moving that up to twice a week for and hour and a half. They do have from what I hear a great Checzlovocian (I know I spelt that wrong) couple coaching the team girls. DD would be on the pre-team and they did talk to us about defeintly having dd on the team, where as the other gym did not really talk to us to much about this. They have a lot of compulsory girls competing, and the kids who are older have been there since they were young. They are cheaper than the other gym, and also have an amazing record here, they are one of the top gyms.
So now you see my problem, where do I go from here. My sister thinks I'm being a snob saying I'm squimish because the second place is old and not as nice. I need some other gym moms opinion's.
Jul 29, 2007
I think we all would like a state of the art gym, but many times you are paying that extra money for it. I think I would rather have the better coaching than the better facility. After all, we are wanting to get the best coaching possible for our dd's.

As far as the two level 10's coaching, I wouldn't be concerned if they kept the girls on track and didn't let them just play. Sometimes with younger coaches (due to lack of experience and maturity), they will not be as disicpline oriented or as skill corrective as they should be. For example, watching your child do a skill wrong and not correcting it.

The coaches at the nicer gym may not have mentioned team b/c they haven't watched your dd to see what skills she actually has and how far advanced she is.

I would go back and have my dd practice at each of their classes and see how she likes it. She may have a strong preference as to which she would enjoy more.

Good luck.


Gym #1...You really don't want level 10's coaching the little ones...they deserve professional coaching just like all the others.
Feb 26, 2007
A level 10 can be just as qualified as a 40 year old mom who has never done gymnastics. Some of our best young coaches have been gymnasts themselves, got their certification for rec and beginner team at 15 and have moved on from there. In the US where there seems to be no real certification system I would be sure to ask what qualifications do your child's potential coaches have, minimun should be first aid and good in house training.

The fact that the older gym still has girls there who began there is a good sign. Doing one apparatus per class is not such a good sign.

The new gym would be expensive as upkeep on a place like that is not cheap. Parent lounges are fun, but they can be a hot bed for gossip and gym physcho moms:eek: In a few years you really won't need a lounge, just a second job to pay for team!

I would make a list of questions that I wanted answering and go back for a second class at each gym.

Which does your DD enjoy the most. Ask them what a typical class would be like, how many rotations do they do. How often will DD get to do bars? You are the customer, think of it like buying a new car, you have to trust these people with your little one.

gym law mom

Proud Parent
Dec 23, 2006
You can end up paying alot for "window dressing." We went from a state of the art gym to an older one. One of the top gyms in our state is nothing much to look at---maybe 10,000+ sq. feet, but there teams are VERY good. Yes, my gymmie would like a few more beams/bars and just have them knock a wall out to make the place bigger, but she is happy and learning alot and the head coach wants the girls to be one big family.

I think Bog had a good idea about writing down questions. I would also do a list of pros/cons and let dd do 1 more class at each place. Then sit down with dh and decide if you do gym#1, is it affordable---one thing is the cost will go up as your dd moves up. While you have some concern about L10s coaching we have some very mature teens on this board(graceful comes to mind) who are coaching and sound more experienced than many adults. If gym#2 is going to offer 3 hours/week with the same coaches then odds are she'll do more than floor in 1 week. Ask---see what their normal rotation is and if an "older" coach monitors the group. Since it doesn't sound like this is a competitive group I wouldn't be concerned about the gymnasts teaching. I agree that gym#2 is doing something right to keep girls all the way through L10.
Feb 4, 2008
Region IV
Well, I'll pipe in with another perspective just to muddy the waters . . .

Nobody knows the future, so make the decision that feels best right now. If that playroom is what's important right now, go to that gym. You're not locked into your decision for life.


Proud Parent
Feb 19, 2007
I think LivingattheGym has the best perspective on things right now. Find out which gym your DD is comfortable with and let her make the decision. Yes, you'll pay more for all the bells and whistles. The fact that the "older" gym has girls who have been there for many years speaks volumes!! You can change your mind later about gyms, if you want a change.



I will weigh in and say, base it on safety and a nurturing atmosphere as priorities and then where your child seems happiest. At such a young age, if the child isn't happy, the gym's track record, "caliber" of coaching, or age of equipment is irrelevant. An unhappy child in the gym, is a child who quits. If you daughter sticks with the sport and progresses, if she wants the "best coaching" and highest performing gym, if she's not already there, she will let you know.
Aug 27, 2006
I agree also with Bog and Living at the gym. We have 2 new girls who went to a bigger fancier gym for yrs and recently switched to our gym. One of the their reasons for switching was their dds were in classes that were too big and even though they had 4 hr practices 4 days a week the girls were doing more standing around than actually being on the fancy new equipment for hundreds of dollars a week and the owner saw them more as paychecks than family. At our gym the gym is smaller, the equipment is older, we have level 10 girls coaching, but our fee is a fraction of what they were paying, they get more actual training time, our level 10s coaching have been doing it for years and were trained by the HC and loved by the younger ones, the classes are smaller, Our HC has been coach of the yr the last 2 yrs, and our level 10s hold state records. Of course the gym they left is a gym that if you switch or quit you can never go back - Thats one thing to remember too if you try one and then the other and dont like it some gyms wont take you back. We have 1 vault, 2 sets of bars, 5 beams, and one floor at the gym-thats all. We dont have a pit or tumble track but we all are happy. Thats what counts.
Jan 17, 2008
I am all about gut instinct. Which one feels better?

Once your DD hits team, she will be spending as much time at the gym with her teammates and coaches as she is with you at home with her family.. (sorry to say). One of those gyms probably feels more like home.

I wouldnt worry about the L10's coaching the kids. We have our L10 helping to coach our L5's.for lack of a better term.. she has 'been there, done that'. She has a prespective that a mom like myself doesnt.

just remember, you are not signing a life is just a gym. Be thankful that you have options! :)
Sep 8, 2007
I would say #2 because they have been around for quit a while and they have a alot of team girls that have been there from little up.I would not have a problem with aL10 traing my dd at he lower levels has long has she is doing a good safe job and they might to listen better to a L10 has these are the girls the little ones look up to_On the rotations I would ask how they normally work it.Good Luck!


Can your DD practice once or twice at each gym? Then she can weigh in on how she likes the coaches, the facilities, the other girls, etc. Also, if you only watched one practice, you may not have the full picture. For example, at gym 2, are the two L10 girls the regular coaches or were they filling in for the day? Or do they assist another coach who had to be out that day? Also, watching more than one practice can give you a better idea of their rotations. And, if your DD really likes gym 1, ask your questions about team, how and when they choose girls for team, etc. And if all else fails, go for the old pro-con list. But I would definitely consider your DD's opinion. She will be the one spending the most time there, after all.


Proud Parent
Proud Parent
Sep 25, 2007
I agree that I would have her do another class at each one or maybe 2 more and then go from there. DD had to make a decision between gyms when she turned 5 and I let it be up to her. She tried both and made her decision. I wouldn't have a problem with L10s teaching the class. I know that my DD clicks well with the younger coaches.

Good luck deciding. And as others have said, you can always change gyms later. Go with where your DD seems happiest. They are the ones at the gym all the time. :D
Jan 22, 2008
I would ask DD which she liked better. New isn't always better. I will say that some of our upper level gymnasts are better than some of the regular coaches that sometimes fill in. There are two coaches the DD just doesn't repsect or get much out of. Now if one of the L9 or L10 girls are coaches she is getting a much tougher work out and is pushed even harder.

It is a tough choice that you have to make. I will say this. We have a state of the art facility that is equal distance from us and I have not even considered going to look at it just because I was not impressed with what they had to offer before they got the new facility. The HC from there came and coached at our gym and I was even less impressed. That being said I would make a list and let DD have a say. She is the one working in the facility. We are just the ones that have to watch.


I wouldn't worry about level 10's coaching level 4"s. They can be great role models and it says a lot about the gym that level 10's are still around. As far as equipment, I'd make sure they have the proper pits and mats to get the training done to a level 10 but wouldn't worry about it's age.

The newer gym sounds good too but i've heard a lot of the new gyms have high turn over and lots of issues the first couple of years. IF it's past it's 3rd birthday though I wouldn't worry. Do they have kids as high as level 10 there yet?

Both being equal in different ways then I'd send your dd to trainings for two lessons in each and then see what she has to say. You can tell a lot by the way she responds. to it all.
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