Your class selection is a key criterion used by parents when selecting a gym. They’re simply going to expect to see certain types of classes, or they’ll look elsewhere. While you want to offer the core classes listed below, don’t be shy about branding and naming them in creative ways. The class description still needs to make clear whom the class is for and what skills will be learned. However, presenting even your list of core classes is still an opportunity for you to differentiate your gymnastics studios for your competitors.
For the toddlers
For toddlers, parents want to see classes that focus on general skills, such as: coordination, body awareness, strength, and flexibility. For absolute beginner toddlers, this means classes in:
- Tumbling and floor exercise – learning cartwheels, roundoffs, and somersaults
- Low beams and bars – learning to walk on the beam and pull themselves over the bars
As toddlers get good at these basics, then skills can ramp up to learning handsprings, hip circles on the bars, and handstands. The kids love moving to the trampoline and foam pit to start learning some form.
Keep in mind many parents will also want to know that these classes are designed to help their kids learn social skills and teamwork.
Distinguish between recreational and competitive classes and gymnasts
As students get a bit older, it’s time to encourage the more interested and talented kids towards competitive learning classes, while others can continue to grow and enjoy gymnastics in recreational courses. Eventually, you’ll want to model your competitive courses based on the tracks identified in the competitive level for which you’re training students. These could be the class and skill guidelines set by USA Gymnastics Xcel Program or even its Junior Olympics Program, or whatever competition conference or organization where you want your gymnastics studio to compete.
Regardless of the specific program, you want to offer classes that provide the following:
Foundational classes that help students prepare and improve on any apparatus:
- Strength classes, including separate classes that focus on upper, lower, and core body strength.
- Flexibility classes, which are musts to help avoid injury, in addition to improving aesthetics of movement.
- Agility and locomotion classes, where students start to learn to string movement together.
- Conditioning classes that use gymnastic studio apparatus or exercise equipment, such as ropes and balls, to provide strong cardio development.
The second main grouping of core classes is based around each apparatus, but has two main sub-groups:
- Classes that are dedicated to work on a specific apparatus itself, each class building on the skills and development of the previous level.
- Classes that develop strength, flexibility, and agility designed for a specific apparatus or moves, so that could include:
- Head and handstand class for wrist development
- Locomotion class to raise tumbling heights, speed, and skills
- Core strength and balancing classes for the balance beam
Going to the next level
You will always need to offer core gymnastic classes. Use your class and teacher descriptions to raise your gymnastics studio above the rest that are also offering such core classes. Another way you can differentiate your gym without having to develop and manage additional practical skills classes is to provide “soft” skill classes, such as how to develop mental toughness or how to stay focused when traveling for an away meet.
These classes are easy enough to set up, promote, and bill with the right system and they can make your gym stand out. Offer classes, even one-off seminars, in core skills that other studios overlook. These may not be “core” classes that show up on every gymnastic studio’s class list, but that’s the point. Your gym is offering something more and providing an edge.