It is that time of the year... Pop Warner is over, or you are thinking about joining an all star team!!
Before you join a gym - please be sure you make an informed decision! Here are some important things to think about...
1. Price. If the "selling point" of the gym is that they are cheaper - be careful! You are getting exactly that! Cheaper uniforms, cheaper competitions, and cheaper coaching. Look at your childs cheerleading as an investment. If you don't put them into a program that can help them grow, you aren't going to get anything back out of it. Most athletes don't train just so they can stop cheering after middle school, they dream of cheering in high school and college. Can the all star program you are looking at prepare them for that? Are the coaches certified and experienced?
2. Growth. What is the highest level team this gym has? If a gym has a history of only level 1 and 2 teams, this may be a problem. Are the coaches not training the athletes correctly to get more skills? Is the gym holding back the athletes just to win? And most importantly, where will your child go if they get more than level 2 skills? Join a gym that will let your child advance in our sport.
3. Gym Owner/Coaches history. Look at a gyms history. Where did the coaches and gym owner come from? Are you joining a gym under the supervision of a successful business owner AND athlete? Has this gym owner cheered before? Owning a gym is unlike owning any other business. Gym owners and coaches need to be up to date and involved in our industry, look for a gym owner and a coach who not only cheered, but is current in their certifications, someone who judges, choreographs and/or works in this industry (outside their gym) to keep their program current.
4. Competition history. Look for a program that can show you a history of success at competitions! No one is going to tell you that winning is everything, but it IS something. If a gym has never won a single competition, that may be a problem! If the only competitions they have won are when they compete against themselves, that IS a problem. These athletes train endless hours, devote themselves to their team, and push themselves to be better each week right? Why put in the hours if you aren't going to at least attempt to win!? Look for a gym that does put value on success at competitions. This will be a gym that is teaching the athletes to work hard, to pursue their dreams and to honor a commitment to their team.
5. Drama. If the first thing a gym does is talk bad about another gym when you walk in.... RUN! If the owner or coaches are bad mouthing other programs.... RUN! If the parents are fighting..... RUN! Look for a program that will concentrate on their own teams, not another gym. A coach that will concentrate on YOUR child, not someone else. A gym should be too focused on the success of their athletes and THEIR teams to have time for needless drama. If the coach or the gym owner is the one doing it, then the kids and parents are going to follow suit. Find a gym that focuses on cheer. Your time spent there will be much more pleasant!
6. If the gym is CONSTANTLY relocating or getting a "new" building! This isn't a good sign!! For multiple reasons, you should be concerned if your current gym has moved more times than years they have been open. Power Cheer! has been in the same building for over 15 years, this is a sign of a stable business that pays their rent on time and has landlords that are HAPPY to have them there!
We hope you take this all into consideration... if you are going to invest your time, money and dreams into a program, make sure it is a place that will be there five years from now. A place that will give you room to grow, offer a chance for success, and an environment that won't drive you crazy!! Make the right choice, and put your heart into it. Good luck to all those future all star cheerleaders, we hope you have an amazing year!
Those long & hard practices is what makes you a fighter!