need advice on which gym to work for

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Dec 7, 2009
New England
I have two options, and I can't decide. One is a gym with a head coaching position available, which is what I want. It has a fairly big team with a lot of potential. But it is 75 miles and an hour and twenty minutes one way. I've driven an hour before and it doesn't bother me, but that seems like a little too much. The other gym is a nicer, newer facility. They don't have as many hours to offer, and have only 3 gymnasts levels 5-7. The rest are 1-4. I like coaching the upper levels best, plus I'd be working under someone else. It is only 35-40 minutes away. Help!
The head coaching job certainly sounds better if you can stand the thought of the long drive. Of course, I don't know all the details. You should consider how it would affect your family life, what about winter weather driving, can your car stand the extra miles and what about the cost of gas, any chance that you could move closer, etc? Good luck with your decision.
If the gym closer to your home is fairly new and only has a few gymnasts attending currently than they may have many great opportunities for you in the future as they grow!! I would certainly ask what they have planned for the future and maybe it will be the right place for you. Starting from the beginnining will def be beneficial in getting to know the gymnasts and the owners. Best of luck!

For what its worth I know I would get tired of that drive to the other gym quickly. That is 3 hours of your day just taken away by driving. Depending on how many days you go that could equal 15 to 20 hours a week driving time. That is a part time job in itself! Just my 2 cents.
I think you are on the younger side, correct? Driving an hour + would really wear and tear on you emotionally and physically! Also, as head coach, you would need to be there for a lot of other things, such as partent meetings, staff meetings, etc-so that would be MORE driving. You have so much time to get into a HC position.

I think a group of younger lower level athletes would be GREAT place for you to start! Take those Level 1-7's and groom them as your own-that is MUCH easier than taking over already older optionals and make them "yours". It also not bad to be under someone else who is more experienced so you keep growing. There is less time and opportunity for learning if you are the head coach-of course you are still learning, but the HC is usually the most experienced in the gym.

I think you are the only person who can decide which position you should take.
I have two options, and I can't decide. One is a gym with a head coaching position available, which is what I want. It has a fairly big team with a lot of potential. But it is 75 miles and an hour and twenty minutes one way. I've driven an hour before and it doesn't bother me, but that seems like a little too much. The other gym is a nicer, newer facility. They don't have as many hours to offer, and have only 3 gymnasts levels 5-7. The rest are 1-4. I like coaching the upper levels best, plus I'd be working under someone else. It is only 35-40 minutes away. Help!

Ask your self if distance wasn't a factor which would you choose?

You can always move (yes it's a hard thing to move but if its the job you want then go for the move)
There are positives to both options. The closer gym offers the possibility of a mentor in the other coaches and the farther gym has the upper level athletes. I agree with a previous poster however it is probably easiest to start close to the beginning than take over older gymnasts who like things done a certain way. Best of luck with your decision.
The more distant gym does sound like a good opportunity. What is your living situation. Do you rent or own? Do you have kids in school? If the first opportunity is worth it, you might want to consider moving a bit closer.

The questions I would ask with the second one is what are the goals with competitive team and how might your role expand in the future.

Good luck!
I agree with cher062!!! If it's your dream job, go for it! If you are young, unattached, have no mortgage payment, etc., I'd definitely try it out for a few weeks, months, then if it is STILL your dream job, just pack up and move closer! Sounds like a great opportunity!
Thank you all for your replies.

I'm going to work at the close gym for three days next week to see how we work together, what the girls are like, etc. I'm sure that will really help. It is true that maybe starting with lower level kids is the way to go so that I can teach them as I see fit. I just have to make sure that I will be allowed to do that. Working under someone can be hard for me because I have ideas about how things should be done.

Despite being able to reason out that maybe the closer gym is a better option, I'd rather work at the far one. I want to be a head coach now. Maybe I'm being impatient. Yes, I am young. I'm 27, but I've been teaching gymnastics for over 10 years. Unfortunately, I can not move. I live with my boyfriend who has an hour commute to his work, in the other direction, so I can't make his drive any longer.

So, I'm still stumped, but I'm glad to have the input. It gave me a lot to think about.
Some other things to think about.
What is the teaching philosophy at each gym? And what are their goals for the gym, team, and program? Are they running a more "for fun" program or do they really focus on good basics and progressions? Do they want a competitive optional team or just to compete and have fun? Or is it something else entirely? There is nothing wrong with either method, but there is most likely a certain way you think and it would be best to find a gym on the same wavelength. I think this would be especially important at the gym with another head coach because if you are working towards different things, it can get really frustrating!
Also, do they have faith in you as a coach and want to help you grow and improve? Are they willing to send you to congress, clinics, and to other educational opportunities? Do you think they will trust your opinions in how the team is run? As a coach, you not only want to improve your gymnasts but also make yourself a better coach. Do these gyms provide opportunities to do that?
Also, are the owners and other coaches honest people? Are they people that you can trust to stick to their word? It seems like I've run into more than one coach/gym owner in this sport, unfortunately, who really do not have the coaches (or gymnasts) best interests in mind so it's a really important thing to consider.
Testing out the closer gym sounds like a good idea, you never know, you could fall in love with those little ones!
I think it would be really important to try out BOTH gyms! That way both sides can see if its a good fit. Good luck with your decision, its a hard one!
My opinion is prob a bit skewed - I'm (originally) from Sydney, where it's normal to travel 1-3 hours EACH WAY for work (3 hrs per day travel would be average).
I can't imagine passing up great hours in my preferred position to do my favourite sort of work - in favour of a few hours in a lesser position to work somewhere where (at best) I might, eventually, have the chance to do my preferred sort of work ...
I can see why you'd feel differently (about the travel) if you had children of your own to manage, but while you don't you could be building a better resume ...
I'm really thankful to the people that mentioned philosophy. I went to the farther gym tonight to watch a practice. I was shocked at what I saw. I sat there for about 35 minutes before I even saw a coach interact with any of the girls. The girls, 14 of them, with one coach, just did whatever they wanted on the floor. And this is the day before states! When another coach did finally come over, the two of them just sat and talked. Eventually they started tumbling, while the coaches still sat. They had bad form, scary skills, bad habits. Seeing this, it got me thinking that I probably wouldn't be able to change their attitudes too much. They're used to working out a certain way. It would take a lot of work to get them to do hard work. Even though I'd be head coach, those other two coaches would still be working with the girls. And if they can fool around with them, why would they want to work hard with me? Unfortunately, I think that gyms a no. Too bad, because the drive wasn't really that bad. Long, but no traffic, and straight forward.
Both gyms sound lovely, and in the end I'd go with your heart, but being a coach that travels 45 min to go to her gym, I know what it's like to travel. The far away gym sounds lovely with all the girls, but think about the girls that you'd be getting at the smaller gym at the lower levels. Sure, it will take time going from level to level, but they will learn under you from the BEGINNING. All your ways of teaching, philosophies.. you'll have them from the start! Just a thought :)
Well, now the confusion goes even deeper. I heard back from a couple other gyms, so now I have two more options to consider, in addition to the first two. One is another head coach/team program position. It is in a very small gym with a good size team up to level 7. I didn't mention this before, but a number of parents were planning on moving their girls to whichever gym I decided on. And I really would love to get to continue coaching the girls I know and love, but this one is too far away for them to attend (I would move). The other gym is a little closer than the farthest gym (mentioned in first post). It is only two years old, and is a huge state-of-the-art facility with nice equipment. They also have a good size team up to level 8, with good basics. But they have two good coaches already, and I wouldn't get a lot of say in what they do. But I might learn a lot from them.

To summarize:
Gym 1: Head coach position, far away, think I've decided against this one
Gym 2: Closest distance, lots of young, low level girls, but there is another head coach, and I wouldn't get a lot of hours
Gym 3: Head coach position, good, young team to work with, but far away for girls I already coach who are important to me
Gym 4: About an hour and 15 minute commute, big team with good basics, but already have two other good coaches.

Thanks for your opinions!
I think it is obvious - you have to take a role at a gym where you are NOT head coach. Otherwise you would have to change your CB name...
Just my opinion -
Since your young, I would strongly suggest the smaller / newer gym with the goal of making a name for yourself first. This is very possible with a small team in a new gym. You have an opportunity to mold these girls as YOU see fit, with less unlearning, or redirection.

Put those girls on the top of the podium - consistantly. I can tell you - we parents definately notice which gym takes up most of the podium, and which gyms don't. Our financial decisions (for serious gymmies) are based on a gyms reputation to produce winning athletes much more then size or location. We have team members that pass by 2 other gyms to get to ours. That says a lot.

There are lots of HC's out there. There are FEW that are extraordinary! This may be a great chance to prove yourself - and your team building reputation. Once you have that - the bigger gyms might even seek YOU out.

On a personal note: I've done the whole 1.5 hour drive to work before. I did it for more then a year when I was in my 20's. It's not bad the first month because the significantly larger paycheck compensated. After 3 months - you'll absolutely hate it. Paycheck or not. You'll hate going to work. The travel stresses, frustrations, lack of sleep and good nutrician (you won't eat well either - trust me) will eventually come out on the job. So that's something else to think about. Do you really want to put yourself in a position that compromises your goals, or your respect by your athletes? Reputation lasts a long long time. That's not something I would be willing to sacrifice.

Best of luck with either decision. During these hard times - having choices is extraordinary in of itself.
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