1. What is USA Gymnastics?
USA Gymnastics is the national governing body for the sport in the United States. It gets this designation from the U.S. Olympic Committee and the International Gymnastics Federation. USA Gymnastics, headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind., sets the rules and policies that govern the sport of gymnastics. USA Gymnastics has many responsibilities, including selecting and training the U.S. Gymnastics Teams for the Olympics and World Championships; promoting and developing gymnastics on the grassroots and national levels; and serving as a resource center for members, clubs, fans and gymnasts throughout the United States. USA Gymnastics also provides continuing education resources for new and experienced coaches and instructors in the sport.
USA Gymnastics encompasses six disciplines: Women’s Gymnastics, Men’s Gymnastics, Trampoline and Tumbling, Rhythmic Gymnastics, Acrobatic Gymnastics and Group Gymnastics known as Gymnastics for All.
Today, more than 120,000 athletes and professionals are members of USA Gymnastics. More than 4,000 competitions and events are sanctioned annually throughout the USA. USA Gymnastics has more than 97,000 athletes registered to participate in the Junior Olympic and elite programs.
The ultimate goal in the sport is to become a USA National Gymnastics Team member. To become a national team member, a gymnast must first work his or her way through a series of qualifying meets. The preliminary meets range from USA Gymnastics-sanctioned competitions organized by private clubs to state, regional and national qualification meets. Each meet gives the athlete the opportunity to meet minimum qualification scores and/or placement requirements established by USA Gymnastics. Gymnasts meeting the requirements are then eligible to compete in the U.S. Championships, USA Gymnastics’ national championships and the most prestigious and significant competition of the year.
2. What is the difference between a USA Gymnastics Member Club and other gymnastics clubs?
USA Gymnastics Member Clubs must agree to and comply with the registration requirements.
3. What are some of the benefits of enrolling my child in a gymnastics class?
Develops strength and power
Teaches listening and following directions
Gains self-esteem and confidence
Provides social interaction with peers
Teaches goal setting
Develops cognitive abilities to help in the classroom
Develops skills to enhance other sports
4. What do I look for in a gymnastics club for my child?
Watch the class prior to enrolling your child. Does it look safe and clean? Can parents view the class and see what’s going on? Are the kids having fun? Ask a few of the parents who have children in the class if they are happy with the program.
5. Are the teachers safety certified and background checked with USA Gymnastics?
Professional membership in USA Gymnastics should be the gold standard, an indicator that the person or organization has committed the time, interest and hard work into being the best they can be. Professional members must be safety certified and go through a background check with USA Gymnastics. This membership should be a distinction that parents look for and depend upon to know that they are placing their children into well-trained and professional hands.
6. Does the gymnastics club offer a free trial class?
Many clubs will offer a free trial offer class to see if your child enjoys gymnastics.
7. Why choose a USA Gymnastics Member Club listed on your club search, over a club that is not listed?
To be a USA Gymnastics Member Club, the club must have liability insurance, a positive mission statement, follow the code of ethics and agree to follow the USA Gymnastics Participant Welfare Policy.
8. At what age can I start my child in gymnastics classes?
This is a question you should ask the specific club you are interested in enrolling with, however, gymnastics schools usually start children when they are two years old in a parent and tot class.
Questions for Parents to ask the Gymnastics Club
1. How much will gymnastics lessons cost?
2. How often does the class meet and for how long?
3. How big are the classes? What is the instructor to student ratio? Are there girls/boys in the class?
4. Do I need to stay and watch or should I go run errands and come back?
5. What is the curriculum that you follow and how do you show the parents the progress they make?
6. How does the gym communicate with the families enrolled? Newsletters, web site, emails.
7. When can my child begin to compete in the sport of gymnastics?
8. What is the appropriate attire?
9. What should my child expect to learn in his/her first session and how can I monitor his/her progress?
10. Should my child practice at home? Are there safe gymnastics skills, stretches, or exercises I can encourage my child to do at home?
11. Is this gym competitive or fun/recreational focused?
12. How do they decide which classes my child will be in?
13. Can we try out classes/instructors to see if my child will enjoy it before we pay?
14. Is there a registration fee? Is this an annual fee?
15. What is the makeup policy for the gymnastics club?
16. Are spectators allowed to watch the class?
17. Is there any type of open gym available to my child? If so, what day and time and what is the cost?