Parents new Gym!!

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Proud Parent
I think in the next 2 weeks we are going to check out a new gym for my girls! as my youngest would like to get into COmpetition!! I called over to the nex closest one and one tha seems like I wont go broke like some of the other gyms!1
anyhow! he is interested in my girls I am told to have him watch them and see
what he thinks! I have said I dont want them being pushed to compete but I would like o get the he challenge of it if they want to!!

what things should I look for in this gym?? Iv never really paid attention to this before as when we started dd was just trying this since we needed her to
be more active and work on her social skills and her friend was going to the other! and same with this one we are at!! it was just soo convienant!!
till now my kids were just doing it fo rfun (well they still better be having fun or they will be done)
Let me see if I can list a few guidelines for shopping for a new gym. We have changed gyms twice. Once for a move and then once because I screwed up that choice!

1. Are the girls smiling?
2. Are the girls standing around bored or are there stations set up so every one is either working on equipment or practicing a drill.
3. Where are the coaches. Are they sitting on a mat yelling out corrections or are they right in the mix of the girls encouraging and offering corrections.
4. Are the hours that they are training average for their level. Too many hours they get burnt out. Too few hours and they don't make the progress to keep encouraged.
5. Do they focus enough time on strength and flexiablity. If they don't they are more likely to get injured.
6. Do the parents of the team members seem to get a long or is the first thing out of their mouths "stay away from susie's parents they really competitive." The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. If the parents are rude and gossipy then so then will the kids.
7. Do the coaches seem score oriented or skill oriented. Do they seem to care more about winning then the girls developement. Signs of this could be repeating a level even though they have the skills for the next level. Also a preoccuptation with scores. For example, having scores posted all over the gym.
8. Does there seem to be a good and healthy relationship between the coaches and the girls. They can joke around with the girls and still keep good order in the gym. At dd gym the girls are always asking the coach to watch them, they are excited for him to see their progress.
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How very exciting for your little one MGM!!! mpkbt made great points... the only thing I want to add is don't forget to follow your mommy instincts!! :D

Keep us updated:) - nic
Some great points already made. Your girls are coming from a rec type gym and are about 5 and 7? Ask lots of questions, but don't get too hung up on the team stuff. Certainly a question about the gym philosophy for team kids would be good. I would think they would want them in some type of pre-team program. Ask who is coaching it and without asking for a CV, do just get some basic info on the coach. Also if they are just being evaluated at a time seperate from the class they would normally be in ask about having them do a free 1 time class. Most gyms do offer that. Then you can talk with your dds after and see what they thought.

Some other thoughts: is there a formal progress report given to parents---how is it communicated how my child is doing? Are you encouraged to stay and watch? How many girls in the classes?

Worst case scenario is you come away with some doubts. Stay where you are and keep looking. You've mentioned the girls are happy at the present gym so don't cut ties until you're sure you have a good fit.
One more thing I tell everybody when they are looking for a competetive team to join: don't let yourself be wowed by lots of trophies at low levels. If you want to know how good a team is in the long run, look at how they do at levels 8-10, as that's a much better indicator of the quality of coaching than how they do at levels 4-6.

Otherwise, what's been said already is spot-on.
wow thank you!! some great pointers to think about!!

and yes they are 5 and 7!!
I soo appreciate all the help you all have given me!!
I do have to say there are only a couple that are not an hour away!!
well see Ill let yolu all know after we check out the first one!! I have talked to one of the main coaches and I did get a good vibe as he seemed more interested in the kids enjoying it!! and that is my main goal!!! he also seemed to want to make sure we do what we can to help my child pertain her goals but this was on the phone!! and well see!!!
thank you!!
Just want to add 1 thing. Your girls are very young and they don't know about goals in precise terms like adults. They may just say they want to learn more gymnastics or whatever. They don't understand the whole team concept and what it involves(neither do many of the parents), but they will use the word "team." When my daughter started pre-team at age 7, what she seemed to understand about "team" was it was those older girls practicing all kinds of impressive looking skills. Heck, it could have been a kip and it wowed her! About all she knew was there was something called a L5 when she got done with pre-team. At this age, they live in the here and now---planning for the future is not a developed thought process yet.

A good gym and pre-team/team program will help you and your dds set short term goals that can be measured such as being able to do a ro-bhs with a spot by Halloween and without by Christmas. Those are the things you want to focus on---listen to the team parents, but don't get hung up in how fast one or both girls will get to that point. IIRC you said the 7yo was a little unsure about the whole competition idea and a good pre-team program may help her decide if she wants to do the more serious training and put in more hours or is fine with staying in rec programs. Either way is just fine.

Believe me, I've seen the young ones who start figure skating and talk about doing competitions etc. Then as they get some skills and start to move on a little they realize there are years and years of training and sacrifice ahead and they may never be able to skate like those girls they saw on TV. Its tough---the dream of the little girl is changed by the reality of growing up. It is very similar in gymnastics. Take the baby steps. Find a gym thats comfortable for both and that may be your biggest challenge---what one likes, the other doesn't. Then just settle in and watch them grow and enjoy.

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