A good gymnastics club near you can provide you with access to focused physical training that is aimed at improving your overall health and wellness. The Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention estimates that about 73% of Americans above the age of 19 are overweight and more than half of this number are dealing with obesity. Similarly, about 19% of children and adolescents between the ages of two and nineteen are also obese. Signing up for a good gymnastics class near you can save you thousands of dollars in obesity-related medical costs, while also providing you with several other physical, mental, and social benefits. These include an increased sense of personal control and self-esteem, a better work ethic, better social skills, and improved coordination, balance, flexibility, and overall strength.
Whether you want to join a gymnastics club simply to improve your health or to train for competitions, you must find one that can best help you achieve your goals. In view of this, you should only sign up for a gymnastics class near you that can provide you with satisfactory answers to the following questions:
Are You Licensed, Registered, or Certified?
Gymnastics coaches and instructors are generally not required to obtain state-level occupational licenses. However, gymnastics as a sport is governed at a national level by the United States Gymnastics Association, and this organization provides training, continuing education, and certification opportunities to gymnastics coaches and instructors at different areas of focus. Working with a certified gymnastic coach provides you with a certain level of assurance concerning the coach's professionalism and expertise and also reduces any fears that you may have about your safety during your training. This is because the US Gymnastics Association requires that all coaches and instructors that work with any of its member or affiliated gymnastics clubs pass a mandatory safety and risk management course and also undergo criminal background screenings. Note that gymnastics coaches and instructors can also obtain certifications from several other organizations, such as the American Sports and Fitness Association, the American College of Sports Medicine, and the National Council on Strength and Fitness.
Before signing up for a gymnastics class near you, ensure that your coach or instructor has an appropriate gymnastics-related certification. It is a good idea to make sure that this coach or instructor is also properly insured. You can do these by requesting copies of their certification and insurance documents and contacting the organizations that issued these documents to authenticate them. Note that while gymnastics coaches and instructors do not have to obtain state-issued licenses, the facilities that they either own or work for may be required to meet certain state or local registration or permit requirements. As such, you should also consider contacting your local consumer protection agency to find out if gymnastics clubs in your area of residence have to meet any registration or permit requirements before operating.
How Much Do Gymnastics Classes Cost?
Signing up for gymnastics classes in the United States will cost you an average of $1,000 - $5,000 annually. The cost of gymnastics classes is primarily dependent on your reason for joining the class. If you intend to do gymnastics competitively, then your average yearly costs will be higher when compared to joining a gymnastics class simply as a hobby or exercise option. Other factors that may affect the cost of gymnastics classes include your age, the present level of gymnastics that you are in, and your location. Listed below are some common gymnastics classes cost estimates:
- Adult tumbling and gymnastics classes - $15 - $30 per class
- Recreational gymnastics classes for children - $15 - $20 per class
- Competitive gymnastics classes - $150 - $400 per month
- Summer camp gymnastics classes - $100 - $200 per week
- Drop-in playtimes for children - $10 - $15 per session
Regardless of whether your interest in gymnastics is for competitive or personal fitness reasons, it is important to have a working budget and also save costs where necessary when you want to sign up for gymnastics classes near you. Some ways that you can save money when doing gymnastics are:
- Find out about discounts. Many gymnastics clubs offer several types of discounts. These include sibling discounts for families that sign up multiple children and early-bird discounts for individuals and families that sign up for classes or camp sessions before registration deadlines. Likewise, some gymnastics clubs also offer non-class activities discounts for their members such as birthday party discounts
- Ask about scholarships. Many gymnastics clubs offer scholarship opportunities to members that need financial assistance. Note that you may be required to complete an application form and provide certain financial information to qualify for these scholarships
- Keep in touch with more experienced gymnasts or parents near you. These individuals are a useful resource on how to get quality gym wear and equipment for cheap prices, how to properly apply for gym scholarships, and other gymnastics-related information. You can also save time and money on transportation expenses to and from your gymnastics class by making carpooling arrangements with these individuals
What Are Common Gymnastics Class Expenses?
Some common expenses that are associated with gymnastics classes include:
- Annual Registration Fees: Many gymnastics clubs charge their members annual registration fees. This fee is usually due once a year and it typically costs an average of $10 - $50. Note that annual registration fees are separate from the cost of any actual lessons
US Gymnastics Association Membership Fees: As a competitive gymnast, you may have to register with the US Gymnastics Association to qualify for certain competitions and events. Membership fees and requirements are determined by the association and are usually valid for one competitive season
- Competition Expenses: To do gymnastics at the competitive level, you will be required to enter various competitions from time to time, all of which will require the payment of fees and add to your total expenses. Competition entry fees cost an average of $50 - $150 per event. You may also have to pay additional costs if these competitions require you to travel out of your immediate vicinity
- Training Attire Costs: Gymnastics clubs typically require their members to have appropriate clothing during classes and lessons. These attires will cost you anywhere between $15 and $200, and they usually include leotards, team warm-up suits, and grips. Also, even though they are not typically required, you may wish to get gymnastic shoes instead of training barefoot. These shoes will cost you an average of $30 - $60
- Training equipment: While gymnastics clubs generally have all the necessary equipment needed for your training, you may be required to purchase some of this equipment if you intend to train at home. This is usually common amongst competitive gymnasts who may require more personal practice time to reach their desired level of proficiency. Basic gymnastics equipment include mats, balance beams, and gymnastics bars, and these items can cost you as little as $20 or as much as $4,000, depending on your specific preferences
Before you join any gymnastics club, request a breakdown of the types of expenses that you may be required to make and find out how many of these expenses will be covered by your initial sign-up or registration fees. Doing this ensures that there is no misunderstanding down the line.
Who Will Do the Work?
When you want to join a gymnastics club near you, it is necessary to make sure that the coach or instructor that will be assigned to your training and development is duly qualified to help you achieve your set goals. Confirm that the coach is not only certified but also has valid insurance coverage. It is also a good idea to request an initial training session to gauge the level of compatibility and comfort between you and this coach or instructor. If you feel uncomfortable in any way, then you should ask for a different coach or consider joining a different gymnastics club near you.
The US Gymnastics Association publishes and regularly updates separate lists of coaches and instructors whose access to gymnasts, athletes, and members of the association or its affiliates have been either suspended and restricted or permanently barred for various reasons. Make sure that the coach or instructor that will be working with you is not included in any of these lists. If your gymnastics club is neither a member of nor affiliated with the US Gymnastics Association, then find out whether the club carries out background checks before hiring coaches and instructors. If you are unsatisfied with their answer, you can contact local law enforcement agencies to help you carry out a proper background check on the coach or instructor that was assigned to you.
What Qualifications Should a Gymnastics Coach Have?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there are currently more than 208,000 employed coaches and scouts in the United States. Gymnastics coaches are generally required to have a bachelor's degree in health and fitness-related courses like physical education, kinesiology, sports medicine, and recreation and fitness. However, some employers in private settings may only require extensive personal gymnastics knowledge and experience from gymnastics coaches. Likewise, some states may require gymnastic coaches that wish to work in public high schools and state colleges to attend certain sports safety and coaching fundamentals classes before their employment.
Gymnastics coaches typically obtain professional certifications from the United States Gymnastics Association and these certifications serve as proof that the coach has attained a certain level of proficiency and expertise in training gymnasts. Organizations like the American College of Sports Medicine, the National Council on Strength and Fitness, and the American Sports and Fitness Association also provide gymnastics-related certifications. Some gymnastics clubs and coaches may also register as members of organizations like the Amateur Athletic Union, the United States Association of Independent Gymnastics Clubs, the National Federation of State High School Associations, and the National Association of Intercollegiate Gymnastics Clubs.
Will You Provide References?
When contemplating the choice of which gymnastics club near you to join, you may receive referrals from friends, colleagues, fellow athletes, and even via online sources like the United States Gymnastics Association member club referrals webpage. Nonetheless, regardless of how you come in contact with a gymnastics club or coach, you should always ask them to provide you with no less than three verifiable references. Asking for references is a good way to get honest information, and any reputable gymnastics club or coach will gladly provide you with references and testimonials. Contact these references and ask them their opinions on the club or coach, their goals for going into gymnastics, if they were to achieve these goals, and how much influence the club or coach had in helping them do this. If a gymnastics club or coach hesitates to provide you with references, or acts like doing so is an inconvenience, then it is in your best interest to look for another club or coach near you.
In addition to contacting the references that you are given, you can also look up the gymnastic club or coach online via Better Business Bureau, Yelp, Google Review, and other similar websites that allow members of the public to post reviews and testimonials on gymnastics clubs and other businesses that provide consumer services near you.
Quick Facts about Gymnastics Coaches
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Expert Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Gymnastics
What Are the Benefits of Doing Gymnastics? Is Gymnastics Good for Your Body?
Yes, gymnastics is good for your body and it has several benefits that collectively build your self-morale and determination, increase your communication skills, and generally improve your physical and mental well-being. Some of the benefits of gymnastics include, but are not limited to, the following:
- It builds your strength
- It increases your flexibility
- It improves your bone and muscle health
- It builds your personal discipline
- It helps you develop greater coordination and balance
- It increases your ability to concentrate and focus
- It helps with the prevention of diseases by promoting a healthy body
- It enhances your body's complex motor skills
- It improves your sleep quality
- It prevents and treats incorrect body posture
- It helps with weight loss
What Are the 7 Types of Gymnastics?
The seven official types of gymnastics are:
- Women's Artistic Gymnastics
- Men's Artistic Gymnastics
- Rhythmic Gymnastics
- Trampoline Gymnastics
- Acrobatic Gymnastics
- Group Gymnastics/TeamGym
- Tumbling/Power Tumbling
What Are the Basic Skills in Gymnastics? What Do I Need to Know Before Starting Gymnastics?
Before starting gymnastics, it is advisable to speak with a health professional especially if you have any underlying health conditions. Gymnastics involves a lot of physical activity and consulting with a professional will give you an idea of the acceptable limits that you can push your body to during your practice or training. When you join a gymnastics class, you are generally expected to acquire some basic skills during the course of your training. These include:
- Handspring on vault
- Back handspring
- Turning on one foot
- Split leaps
- Tap swing on bars
Mastering these skills will make your progress in gymnastics easier. Note that during your early days of joining a gymnastics class, you should only attempt these routines under the supervision of a qualified gymnastics coach.
What Is a Good Age to Start Gymnastics?
While it is possible to find gymnastics classes for children as little as two years old, many professional gymnastics coaches recommend waiting till a child is at least five or six years old before enrolling them in a serious gymnastics class or program. However, you can enroll younger children in introductory gymnastics classes that focus on developing these children's body awareness and love for the sport. Introductory classes typically involve the use of crawling, jumping, climbing, and tumbling as ways to get these children to develop their self-confidence and physical coordination.
How Old Is Too Old to Start Gymnastics?
No age is considered too old to start gymnastics and you can sign up for recreational gymnastics classes at any time. However, if you intend to do gymnastics competitively, then it is recommended that you start gymnastics before you turn 12 years old.
Can We Learn Gymnastics at Home?
Yes, you can practice your gymnastics routine and also do certain exercises at home to improve your gymnastics skills. In addition to this, some gymnastics clubs provide train-at-home services for their clients. Note that you may be required to purchase equipment like mats, balance beams, and bars to ensure a proper and safe gymnastics training environment in your home.
What Do the Gymnasts Need to Wear to Class?
Gymnasts are typically required to wear a gymnastics leotard to class. However, older gymnasts may also wear shorts on top of their leotard, while male gymnasts may wear t-shirts and shorts that do not have buttons, zippers, or snaps. Depending on your gymnastics club, you may also be allowed to wear other items, such as gymnastics crop tops and gymnastics leggings. Note that gymnasts with long hair are required to have their hair pulled back so that it does not obstruct them during the class. Finally, wearing any type of jewelry is not allowed during gymnastics classes.