WAG Open Gym

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Numpty Watcher
Proud Parent
Aug 28, 2011
Hi there, I hear people talking about "open gym". What is it ?



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It is a time where gymnasts, and sometimes non gymnasts, can go to a gym and work out on the equipment. It is supervised and sometimes there are coaches available. You pay a one time fee and sign a waiver. You find lots of parents coaching their kids at open gyms.
Open gym scares me. A bunch of kids and their parents trying to do things they shouldn't be doing, with coaches trying to manage chaos. Our team girls are not allowed to attend our open gyms because the coaches don't want them injured...that tells me even the coaches don't think its safe! It does make a ton of money and the younger kids absolutely love it. It also gives pre-teens something fun to do in an environment where there isn't much bad influence that could lead them into trouble. Overall not a bad concept, but similar to Chuck E Cheese in that there are more kids than adults and sometimes kids bonk their heads:)
There is a gym somewhat nearby us that has open gym, and it can be a nightmare. There is NO supervision other than parents. I can't imagine a gym allowing this - talk about liability! We'll sometimes go during the school day (we homeschool) so my dd can run her routines or use their tumble track, but at that time we're the ONLY ones there. Weekends are crazy there and I'd never let her do it. Our gym occasionally has "open gym" fundraisers, but it is only for team members, and there are coaches present, so it's not really "open". Our owner is a stickler about cleanliness and safety, so I can't imagine her opening the gym up to a bunch of little kids and parents!

OMG that would NEVER happen here ! The health and safety exec would have appoplexy ! And people actually pay to go to this ?

How does it happen in such a litigious society as there US ? Its a law suit waiting to happen.

The mind boggles !

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We have open gym but only certain levels are invited and there is at least one coach working who tells each girl what she is to work on while she rotates from event to event spring and correcting.

It is more of an additional practice than a true "open gym".

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I have never actually heard of it happening anywhere in Australia. Probably due to the fact that we all have the same insurance and the insurance would never cover it!
Open gym at our gym is a little chaotic feeling, but it's kind of organized chaos. :) They have quite a few coaches working, and the coaches are stationed all over the gym. Then, they'll gather all the kids together periodically to play a few games. They have it on Friday nights, and they cut it off at a certain number, so they never have more kids than they can handle. Also, coaches and kids are the only ones out there.....no parents. Parents are free to stay and watch, but most don't.
The open gym at our gym is more like a party and a wild free-for-all. You pay a fee, sign a waiver, and you have an hour in the gym. It's mainly teens that are hanging around, bouncing on the tramp, cannonballing into the pit while giving a Tarzan yell... :rolleyes: Some dance/parkour/cheer groups use the gym for some stuff too. A coach walking around anxiously to make sure no one has a broken bone. A volunteer assistant or two watches and occasionally tells someone off for picking at the foam. A few parents watching... It's good for fundraising though.
We also have open gym - it is very well attended. We have different types - Toddlers and Parents, Kids up to 12 yrs, and then 13 yrs and up. Insurance is handled through our provincial organization (Canada), and each participant pays a one time yearly fee of $ 10.00 for coverage. We also cap the number of attendees, and have the required coach to athlete ratios.

I can see the negative side too, but honestly, it give so many kids the opportunity to participate in such a great sport. Perhaps it is the only way that they can afford to have any kind of exposure to the world of gymnastics.....for us (again, we are non-profit) it is also a way to support the community.
Our gym does a "big kid open gym" during the summer and on public school breaks and we have as many coaches as we can to watch the girls. Litte kid open gym happens during the day all year round.
We have open gyms. They are wildly popular...with something like 80+ kids in attendance. It's "organized chaos" mostly. No parents are allowed in the gym, and we usually have 10+ coaches. If there is not a coach manning a station, it is closed and the kids are not allowed on it. I don't see it as a practice time for very many of them...it's just free play and two hours on a Friday night for parents to go out without their children.
I go to a YMCA, so our open gyms don't have that many kids (80+ would be INSANE!!!). Open gyms can be crazy when a lot of younger kids are there that don't know the rules of the gym (Don't cross the equipment for example). However, usually the coaches and some of the older gymnasts can watch the little kids to make sure they don't mess anything up. For example, while I was cross tumbling, some of the other gymnasts were with the kids who were playing around on the floor. Opens gyms can be a lot of fun because you can work skills that you don't have time to do in practice!

OMG that would NEVER happen here ! The health and safety exec would have appoplexy ! And people actually pay to go to this ?

How does it happen in such a litigious society as there US ? Its a law suit waiting to happen.

The mind boggles !

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That is where the liability waiver comes in. You acknowledge that your child could become seriously injured or die, but you agree not to sue the gym :)

I have been to open gyms at 3 different gyms - our gym- very rarely has one... coaches are there... used for fundraising (either $5 or canned goods to donate)
- a gym about 22 miles away that a friend's daughter goes to... $7 for 1.5 hours or $10 for 3 hours (but you have to be on a gym or cheer team for the last 1.5 hours, so the little ones are gone for the last half) ... not too bad. Haven't seen too much chaos there.
- a gym about 22 miles the other direction... $5 for 2 hours ... supervised by 2 teenagers the one time until an ADULT came ... more chaotic ... the only unsafe thing was having to climb a 7 foot ladder to use a rod floor that dismounted into a pit that started at FLOOR level (7 feet below) while there was a high bar that dismounted into the same pit :( We have NOT gone back after the 2nd time (and only went then because my gymmies were staying in that town for the weekend).
Wow some of these stories make me nervous! The open gym where I train is the same as 'Adult Rec' and 'Teen Drop-in', there is no open gym for young kids. Adult Rec is 18+ and there are usually 20-30 people there with 2 or 3 coaches. Most of these people do parkour, some do gymnastics and ocassionally there are some retired elite/national gymasts and cheerleaders. I imagine the Teen drop-in is a bit more chaotic because the kids are 13-17 and less observant of their surroundings and less competent in their skills, but there's still enough coaches to go around and everyone has to sign a waiver. In both situations there are people who try skills way beyond their level and if the coaches don't catch it in time can have some pretty scary falls, but there have been remarkably few injuries. I don't think my gym would ever allow open gym for young kids and their parents, as a lot of parents have no clue about safety in the gym (like don't trip and fall into the pit, don't cross the floor when people are tumbling, uneven surfaces, etc).
My personal opinion is that open gym is a big NO! I work at a rec gym where we offer open gym. It is supervised by two staff members, they sign a waiver and pay $5 for an hour. We once had a girl break her ankle because someone else's jumped when she went to go jump (we don't allow this but we can't prevent everything). It was a compound fracture and now we are in a lawsuit. A few weeks ago another guy was doing a backflip and over-rotated, hit his head on the edge of the trampoline, lost consciousness and started siezing. He had to be induced into a coma and had brain surgery. Again, we find ourselves in a million dollar lawsuit for things that we could only prevent if we didn't hold open gym. We had waivers, signs all over the gym and by the trampoline, left tags n the trampoline with adequate warnings but the people who hurt themselves still felt we were liable. My opinion, open gym is not worth it
Our gym has an open gym on a weekday morning for little kids, an adult open gym one weekday night, and a family open gym on a weekend afternoon for all ages (toddler through parents). It is well supervised and I think it's nice to have all generations and multiple levels in the gym at once. It gives me the opportunity to stretch out with my kids and work skills with them and get hands on advise from their coaches regarding exercises they should do at home.
..He had to be induced into a coma and had brain surgery...My opinion, open gym is not worth it
How is the guy doing??? I am a physician, am somewhat familiar with iatrogenic coma, and hope he has improved..Our gym is fairly small and it seems much more crowded with girls' and boys' teams both are training AND there are pre-team and recreational classes going on all together, compared with family open gym, where nobody seems to be doing anything out of their comfort zone. The coaches seem to be familiar with everyone who participates in open gym, and also they took out the trampoline to make more room for other things and trampoline always has been the biggest safety concern. Also, usually the diagonals are not available on floor, because they have obstacle courses, cheese mats, and whatnot set up for the little kids, so there is a third of the floor marked off for tumbling and the most important thing is keep your kids from crossing it. What seems more dangerous from what I have seen is adult night, not from the few parents and other adults, including a ~70 year old man. But there are teenage parkuour (spelling?) practitioners who come in and do crazy things and one of them got hurt not at the gym but at a trampoline place where I have gone with my kids for birthday parties, and I heard one of the coaches telling her optional girls not to go to that place. It's too tempting for them with trampolines wall to wall, and they are very small tramps, not much room to land, and what we heard was that the parcuour boy hit his head on the side of one of them doing a multiple-twisting double something. He had a concussion, but apparently not as bad as the guy from your gym, and he's better now and has come in again at night. So maybe the idea here is supervision, supervision, supervision, and vigilance.
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