To educate boys and young men in the proper, safe and fun aspects of the sport of gymnastics and it’s use in a competitive program.
We compete in the Junior Olympic Men’s Program which is a part of the national organization which also happens to be named “USA Gymnastics”. The following list of levels shows the compulsory and optional requirements. When a boy shows the proper mental and physical attitude he may progress onto another level.
|Level 4||6 events of simple skills|
|Level 5 and 6||6 events of beginning difficulty|
|Level 7||6 events of intermediate skills|
|Level 8||6 events of optional routines with increased difficulty|
|Level 9 and 10||Advanced Optional routines|
All gymnasts must register each year with the national organization (USA Gymnastics). This fee gives the gymnasts insurance at competitions as well as a magazine. The membership runs from August 1 to July 31.
Our team uniforms are ordered once a year in September. The uniform consists of a leotard top, shorts (for floor and vault) and long white pants (for the other four events). Plain clean white crew socks must be worn with long pants. A gymnast has two choices on the floor. He may wear socks and gymnastic slippers or bare feet. Look-alike substitutes are not acceptable for uniform parts. Our team warm-up consists of a zippered nylon jacket and long pants. The warm ups and uniform should be reserved for competitions and exhibitions only. Attire at practice should consist of shorts and t-shirt and long pants (for pommel horse, even in the summer). Footwear is the same at practices as it would be at a meet. Watches, rings and necklaces should not be worn at any time.
There is no requirement for grips by our team or any organization. Advanced gymnasts will sooner or later want grips. They cost about $50-80 and can be purchased either through us or on your own by mail order.
All vital information will be posted on the team bulletin board near the locker rooms. Please check it every time that you come into the gym. We will try to develop a sense of responsibility in the gymnasts but it couldn’t hurt if you check also as a backup.
The team does not follow regular school schedules. If you are not sure if we are having practice because of vacations or weather then you should call the gym at 860-945-6970.
“Practice makes perfect” isn’t totally correct. “Perfect practice makes perfect” is more correct. So that this may be accomplished, please have the gymnasts arrive about 5 minutes early so that they may put their things away before we begin. At certain times of the year other family commitments or homework may cause conflicts with practices. We tell the gymnasts that school and family come first. If you need to arrive late or leave early, this is understandable. Carpooling may help to remedy some of the conflicts. Consult your team roster for possibilities.
The involvement in the team is a family commitment. In most cases, parents supply the rides and the payments yet we still may ask for your help in some areas like home meets, newspaper publicity or fund raising. The parents club may ask you for assistance at various times through out the year.
The competitive season begins in December and finishes in May. We attend 4-8 meets during this time. We will give you a schedule as it is finalized. You may then sign up for the meets that you would like to attend. Most meets take longer than they should. Plan ahead for this. Bring lawn chairs, coolers, books, knitting and for some meets sleeping bags. A typical warm up is one and one half hours. This is followed by the meet (about two and one half hours). This is followed by thirty minutes of awards. Travel time to most meets is about one hour each way. If you add this together, you can plan on spending six or seven hours at a meet. A few times each season we will attend invitational meets out of state. These take even longer.
The state meet is the final local meet of the season. Qualifying scores must be achieved in order to attend the state meet. Top gymnasts will then progress on to the regional meet with the rest of New England. Only the Top Level 8, 9 and 10 gymnasts proceed on to national competition.
Ribbons and trophies are great. The gymnasts want them. The parents are overjoyed when they get them and sometimes disappointed when they don’t. The most important thing is “Did I do my best?”. Please remember this when admiring your child’s accomplishments. A boy who shows a great improvement but does not place should receive more praise than a gymnasts who places with a less than average performance. Scores can not be compared from one event to another or from one day to the next.
It is difficult for a parent to successfully coach their child. Don’t try. I am not a parent and you are not gymnastic coaches. Everyone would like their child to be the best but sometimes we try too hard because we want it more than the gymnast does. Gymnastics is an individual sport. The gymnast has to want to get better and think for himself. The best thing that parents can do is to show a supportive interest. At the end of practice, see if your son wants to show you a new trick that he has been learning. Trying to critique, analyze or correct a skill should not be attempted. The younger boys might not tell you but the older boys are bothered by outside coaching. Video tapes of meets are good for the boys to watch at home but beware of what you say to them. So, you be a parent and I’ll be a coach. If you ever have questions or concerns, feel free to talk to the coaches about them.