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Keys to picking the right gymnastics program

Credit: Kidsday staff artist / Jean Yoo, Jericho

When looking for a gymnastics program, be sure to research and check out all gyms, and have the gymnast evaluated. Here are some tips to find a good gym.

Unfortunately, not all gymnastics programs are safe. It’s important that all programs work in a safe way. This includes equipment, coaches and owners. It’s also important to have an open line of communication between the gym and the parent and the gymnast. To have a successful gym or if a parent is looking for a good gym, the environment has to be good.

Some gyms may operate with old and unsafe equipment. For example, all vaults should be stable and the springs should not be loose. Also, the vault table has to be set correctly and not shift. If not, this can cause a serious injury to the gymnast. This goes for the rest of the equipment in the gym.

It’s also important to know who the coaches are and what skills the gymnast is doing. Communication is extremely important for the parent, gymnast and the coach. It's OK to ask questions about the programs offered, to make sure the gymnast is properly placed and doing appropriate skills.

Many times, gymnasts can tell if they like the atmosphere and feel safe during a trial period. Comparing other gyms will help. Don’t settle if you are not sure. Gymnastics can be a wonderful sport when a kid is in the right place.

Kerry Abernethy’s fourth-grade class, Waverly Avenue Elementary School, Holtsville

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