Team Family Handbook
The presentation of this handbook is with a combination of video, audio, and text. This packet has been complied to acquaint you with the Gymfinity team structure, explain the necessary rules and answer some of the more commonly asked questions regarding your move to team. Please return to this page frequently for reference, and updates will be provided annually for your review and acceptance. This handbook has been organized in a FAQ format for ease of reading. Please feel free to contact J Orkowski if there is anything in this book that is unclear or disagreeable. This “book” is intended to establish an understanding of the team operation. You will be asked (in a separate document (The Team Registration)) to sign a statement that avows your agreement with the principles and operation listed in this book/webpage. Please do not sign it if you do not understand it. From this point on, we will not accept “I didn’t know” as an explanation because, after reading this handbook, it will be assumed that you did know. Let’s get started.
Welcome to Gymfinity Gymnastics, Tumble and Trampoline, Gymfinity Warrior, and GymCRAZIum: Collectively referred to as “Gymfinity.” Your family’s sports experiences will soon make some exciting changes. Our athletes, at Gymfinity, are recognized for their skill, spirit and integrity. They are consistently seen as leaders in school and on the competition floor.
The Gymfinity Philosophy
Is my child at the right level for their age?
Because kids have more fun when they have a reasonable chance at success, our programs have policies that assure balanced teams and opportunities for athletes to compete with others at comparable skill levels. Age is a secondary determiner for placement of a child in this program.
Is being on team here all about winning?
We tend to focus on personal effort, improvement and personal mastery of skills over winning. Though we do encourage the passionate pursuit of victory, we unequivocally believe that actual results are not as important as effort and the joy of competition. We believe that “winning” is a natural byproduct of hard work, dedicated effort, and the love of learning. (see also Gymfinity’s definition of success, under the “setting Goals” section).
Can you tell me about Gymfinity’s character & values?
Gymfinity was a founding member of an organization called CharacterCounts! It was a national character education program that gave a common language to good behavior and helped young athletes understand that in sports, like life, it is essential to maintain high personal values and morals. The program was a-political, and secular and was founded on children modeling the 6 Pillars of Character.
Is there a code of conduct for the athletes?
Aside from what is listed in this document, the code of conduct for athletes and parents can be summarized with;
◆ Attitudes and work ethics should reflect the 6 pillars of Character
◆ Attend all training sessions, any absences must be reported in writing prior to the date.
◆ Be Prompt: athletes should be on time, or call to let the coach know that they will be late
◆ Attend all scheduled competitions and performances
◆ Maintain a positive, forward focused attitude: be spirited and supportive with your teammates, members of other Gymfinity programs, coaches and ALL families
◆ Keep the gym clean: no food in the gym, no drinks except water, no gum or candy at any time.
◆ Respect Authority: challenging the authority of the coaches or a person placed in charge will be grounds for dismissal from the team
◆ Respect your Team: Any abusive or negative comments, through any media (spoken, written E Mailed or posted) will be grounds for disciplinary action or removal from the team
◆ Always Think “Safety First”: Jeopardizing the safety of one’s self or others will be grounds for disciplinary action
◆ Be supportive of all teams and members: negative gossip will not be tolerated. We are ALL on the GYMFINITY team.
◆ Respect your family: give the proper respect for those who are making it possible for you to participate.
◆ Communication is essential: be courteous when speaking with others, be sure that all concerns are brought to the right people and not spread as gossip or ill will.
Is there a code of conduct for the coaches?
All coaches must follow the same standards that we place on the families of the participants. They must reflect the 6 pillars of Character, the code stated above and in addition:
◆ Must not bad mouth other teams, coaches, programs, officials or athletes at competitions
◆ Must appear in professional attire at competitions and performances, when their appearance is a direct reflection of the respect they have for the athletes, the families and Gymfinity.
◆ Must maintain high standards of being a role model for the athletes. Never speak about drinking, partying, relationships, politics or religion in front of the athletes.
◆ Must understand that all parents are part of the team and treat them with the same respect they wish to have returned.
◆ Must be honest regarding parent concerns and questions. Sometimes messages are lost when they are delivered by trying to be too polite. A coach must be straight forward, yet tactful and respectful of another’s feelings.
As Gymfinity has a wide variety of ages on teams, is there a team drug/alcohol policy?
Any athlete or coach found to have violated any law regarding the use of alcohol and/or drugs
will be immediately removed from the team program. There will be no refund of tuition for time lost once removed. Athletes may not re-apply to be part of Gymfinity’s team program but can participate in a non-competitive program.
Committing to the Team Program
I heard the coach talking about commitment, what exactly are we committing to?
At Gymfinity we ask that the athlete and family commit to the team program for a period of one year. The best time to retire, if there is a best time, is immediately following the competitive season. This at least fulfills the athlete’s obligation to their team. Gymnastics and Tumbling are unique activities that as the athlete progress, the time requirement is greater, and the level of difficulty or risk is elevated. The demands of progress are what require greater time, to ensure safe and efficient learning.
Is Gymfinity committed to us in return?
Gymfinity is willing to provide a top-notch competitive team program subject to the well-being of its athletes, the rules and regulations of its governing bodies, and the financial viability of the program. The Gymfinity facility is designed to provide safe and efficient training for top level competitive team programs. We do our best to ensure each athlete a quality experience. The Gymfinity team target teaching ratio is 12 to 1. We do not guarantee that ratio as at times groups may be larger or smaller due to various factors. As an organization we do not have total control over all the variables of attendance, personal schedules or schedule conflicts.
A successful competitive team program requires the willingness and effort of the athlete, coach, and parents working together to accomplish an appropriate set of shared goals. It is the role of the athlete to train diligently, the coach to guide the training and the parent to be supportive of the athlete, the coach and the program. (See also “being a Gymfinity Family” and “The Athlete’s Role”)
Is there a long-term plan for these kids developing as athletes?
Gymfinity’s competitive programs are based on an annualized training cycle. The competitive success of the individual and team is dependent on taking full advantage of the cyclical nature of the training program. The type of training and intensity varies with micro-phases in the Macro-cycle. For this reason, the athletes are expected to participate in each training phase. Gymfinity’s athletes are among the best athletes in their schools. This is a credit to the type of training that Gymfinity provides and demonstrates how our program affects performances, even out of the gym setting.
What if we must miss an occasional training session?
We understand that training time may be missed on occasion and for necessary reasons. We simply ask that you keep in mind that training schedules are arranged to maximize results. Frequent deviation will hinder skill acquisition and the development of the athlete. Frequent absences may be cause for removal from the team. Parents and athletes must have a realistic perception of the altering of potential with reduced attendance. In a nutshell, if you don’t come, you won’t get any better. (See also “missing the week of a competition” in the section on “The Athlete’s Role.”)
What are the training phases?
Click HERE to view video explaining the Training Phases
Are there rules for competitions? Who sets them?
There are several governing bodies for each discipline however, Gymfinity is affiliated with only USA Gymnastics. There are standard policies and procedures for each discipline, and it may seem confusing. Rest assured that your coaches know all the policies and will train the athletes within the framework of the rules provided. The codes of conduct for athletes, coaches and parents are determined and enforced by Gymfinity and fall within the standards set by any governing body.
Are our kids required to go to competitions?
Yes. If they are on team, we are training them to compete. There may be some competitions that a specific athlete may not be able to attend but for the most part, we want all the team kids participating in every competitive opportunity.
In Gymnastics; we would like every gymnast to go to a minimum of 5 meets per season. If State, Regional or National championships are qualified to, the gymnast and family will have the option to attend or decline.
For T&T; all levels are required to attend a minimum of at least 5 meets. The season may have additional opportunities, so the requirement is a minimum of 80%. The team will compete through the Regional championship every year with consideration for Nationals. The considerations are based on the location and the number of participants. We are very cognizant of the expenses and time required for families and we will not ask that a small group travel far and at great expense.
Are there rules and expectations for parents regarding competitions?
Yes, as I stated earlier, we are all on the same Gymfinity team; the kids, the coaches AND the parents. We all benefit from the reputation of being fair and respectful. For those reasons we state the following guidelines:
Meet information is sent out ASAP once it is confirmed. That means that though it may appear on a meet website, it may not be confirmed and so may not have been disseminated to parents. At no time is it allowed to ever contact a meet host directly. All information to and from a meet host will be done through your team coach and our team management. Not only is contacting a meet director disrespectful to the operator by taking their time answering to personal issues, but it makes Gymfinity look as though we have no professional organized method of communicating with our families. This is clearly not the case.
Plan to arrive early. We have a rule regarding gymnasts arriving late for a meet (they get removed from the roster) but we know that it is usually not them doing the driving. Understand that when your child gets scratched for being late that it most likely won’t be their fault, it will be yours. Along that same line, check your athletes bag before a meet to be sure everything they need is in there. We believe in the athlete being responsible, but it’s the parent that will have to go get whatever was forgotten. Save yourself the trouble, double check.
Be respectful of everyone else’s job at a meet. Understand that once on the floor the athlete belongs to the coach, allow them both to do their jobs. The parent’s job is to cheer wildly and give great praise for doing well, or great praise for the effort if “doing well” is not what happened. I have had parents refuse to talk to kids that had a bad meet; I have had kids go without post-meet ice cream as a punishment, and had one have to remove gymnastics posters from the bedroom for a single fall on beam. My list could continue, and though they all seem extreme understand that punishment is not what’s needed for a bad experience. Encouragement to return and try again is what is needed. The long-term lesson is the goal, not the short term victory.
Join the Team. Kids can hear your personal clap sound; your voice stands out among many when it cheers. Your kids know that you are there. Sit with other team parents, make signs, wear our colors, and cheer loudly. Your child may say that you’re embarrassing but inside, in the part of their heart that they can’t verbalize, they love you more for being there.
Be respectful. ALL gymnasts are REQUIRED to stay until after the last award is given out for their session. This means that we may get home a few minutes later but we believe that it is important to instill a sense of respect for ALL competitors, their parents, their coaches and their gyms. Please don’t pressure a coach or your child to leave 10 minutes early.
Please don’t participate in bleacher talk. Other parents may represent their gyms by bad mouthing kids, coaches or programs or bragging about the same. That behavior is embarrassing to us, (coaches, kids and other parents). What other Gymfinity parents do will represent you as a Gymfinity parent too. Please feel free to “assist” another parent in understanding proper meet etiquette from the Gymfinity perspective. If you are uncomfortable addressing someone who is embarrassing YOUR gym, bring it to the team coach and let us address it.
Lastly, remember what is truly important. Being wrapped up in scores and numbers is discouraged for you, the parents, but getting the gymnasts wrapped up in them is absolutely not allowed. Scores are the coaches’ job. The best parents are the ones who tell their children that they looked great and don’t base a judgment of their child on a judges assessment. Please keep your perspective and have a good time. This is supposed to be fun for all of us. Help to provide a positive experience for “the Team”.
Why is goal setting important to athletes?
Goal setting is a means by which the skills of intrinsic motivation are developed. Each athlete is asked, and guided as needed, to develop a set of long-term and short-term goals. Short-term goals are designed to progress toward and achieve long term goals. The hallmark of good goal setting is that the goals must be those of the athlete and not the parent or coach. For an athlete to be internally motivated it must be a personal goal. A goal that is achieved through hard work brings a reward of satisfaction and pride. Healthy self-esteem is a natural byproduct of this process.
If an attainable goal is not achieved it should never be seen as a failure. Gymfinity believes that goals are sign posts that give us direction, they are not destinations. Therefore, the journey and the movement forward is as valuable as the goal itself. Another important factor in developing intrinsic motivation is the athlete's need to feel in control of his/her athletic career. The athlete needs to understand that his/her own effort is the determining factor for success. If an athlete reaches a goal it should be pointed out and celebrated that the achievement was due to hard work and not something out of the athlete’s control, like luck. Conversely, if the goal is not reached, we may need to modify or re-direct our efforts. As coaches, when we see that an athlete is not working efficiently toward their goals, we let them know that they have one of two options. They can either change their training habits or modify their goals. This puts the athlete in control of the outcome and their own destiny and places the coach in the position of a cooperative facilitator.
How does Gymfinity define success?
Success can be measured in many ways. Winning in competition, bringing home a trophy, or qualifying for a championship can all be rewarding. However, they are not the most important way to measure success. Considerable time is spent preparing, the vast majority of the athlete’s participation is in practice not competition. Therefore, success could be easier found in training not in competing. Developing a positive work ethic, developing friendships with teammates, learning to set reasonable goals and appreciate their accomplishment are the most important successes. True achievement as a result of sustained effort is a reward the athlete will remember for long after their participation in sport is over.
I once had another gym’s parent accuse me of not sending their gym an invitation to our meet (which we did do) because we were afraid that their team would beat us. I smiled at her, assured her that it had been sent and said I had no worry of ever being beaten because our team never loses. My comment, which infuriated her, was based on this definition of success. It was sad to see that she, and probably her daughter, had lost even before the meet started.
How important are scores and ranking?
To answer that, let me pose this question: what is wrong with these statements? “I only need a 6.5 to qualify to State.” “We have to score on this routine, or our season is shot!” “That judge ripped you off, you deserve much higher.” “Did you see that other kid, her 9.0 was a gift!”
Do we want our kids feeling that they are only as good as a number? In competition the athlete’s job is to perform, not score. The parent’s job is to support the child, regardless of the outcome. The coach’s job is to worry about the numbers. Numbers inconsistent with performance will be addressed. Low numbers will spur us to come up with a plan to raise them, and high numbers, well, honestly, they are inconsequential. At a gymnastics meet we discourage the athlete’s from keeping track of their scores and we even discourage them from watching them get flashed. At any competition the score, though supposedly objective, is only a subjective evaluation of one moment in time, affected by millions of variables. There are factors we cannot control; did the judges sleep well? How did prior competitors do? How many routines has the judge already watched? Is the judge affiliated? It is not fair to base our opinion of the performance on the judge’s perspective unless we know all the answers to these questions. We STRONGLY discourage that your assessment of your child be based on scores as well. Look at progress, look at happiness, and look at how well they handled the stress of competition. Please do not signal the score to them during a competition. They don’t need to know. You may wish to keep track but be aware then, that it’s for you and not them, until well after the meet, if at all. When the score becomes more important than the performance, then the trophy is more important than the smile. If that is acceptable for you, you are at the wrong gym.
Being a Gymfinity Team Family
What does it mean to be a team family?
We are BIG advocates of team interaction, both within Gymfinity's teams and with other teams at competitions. We believe that athletes can be friends, competing against each other but still friends; this is the true essence of sportsmanship. Sportsmanship is not only something that we encourage, it’s something we demand.
You should promote Gymfinity in every way you feel is appropriate: Tee-shirts, sweatshirts, banners and cheers. Never speak in a negative manner about another club, our club, our coaches, our athletes, or our families. If you have issues with any of the aforementioned groups, I hope that you understand that resolution is brought about only by taking it to the right channels. J or Stephanie have, in their positions, the power to resolve most conflicts. Understand that each coach is empowered to handle their own situations (to a certain extent). If you have a bad experience, please bring it to your coaches. Parents and athletes alike can bring questions or concerns to the coaches at any time. Dissatisfaction is a personal matter, it should not be spread to others who are not involved with it, except the coaches because they can explain it or otherwise affect it somehow. Not only is this a spirit, or team unity issue, but complaints to meet officials at competitions can result in loss of sanction, a team deduction, or worse yet, a negative reputation. Violation of these positions does get reported by other parents and parents from other gyms to us. We know who says what. Don’t embarrass your son or daughter. Remember it is better for us to remove a constant complainer than it is to try to unsuccessfully and repeatedly try to appease them.
Understanding the “culture” of Gymfinity
At Gymfinity we strive to create a culture conducive to growth, a positive spirit and teamwork. At times things may seem oddly dictatorial, that may be true. Policies and procedures need enforcement. Sometimes rules are merely a framework that the organization operates within other times they are unbending and unyielding. It is imperative that we maintain our culture for the athletes, the parents, coaches and administrators. Consistency in these expectations makes it easier for us to reach our goals together.
Is there a parent’s “Do’s and Don’ts” list, to make it easier to understand.
Does Gymfinity have a parent’s booster club?
Yes. The team parents organize and operate a non-profit booster program called Gymfinity and Beyond. This is, in effect, a holding account for each athlete family. Being non-profit allows the GnB to solicit funds from individuals and corporations to assist in the expenses of the competitive teams.
There are basically 2 ways in which money is put into the accounts. First there is the option, as mentioned above, of fund-raised donations. Fund-raisers are done periodically to add to that account. The second way is if a team athlete’s parents make a personal donation to be used for their child’s own account. Having this organization set up not only allows the capacity for fund-raising but adds ease of payment for meets, uniforms purchases and expenses associated with being on team. Team tuition is NOT able to be paid by an individual’s booster account.
The club is divided into 2 disciplines; gymnastics, and tumble & trampoline. Each discipline is responsible for their own fundraising and each is presided over by a vice president, but the remaining board is made up of a bi-disciplinary president, secretary, treasurer, member-at-large and a representative of Gymfinity Ltd. All the positions are 2 year elected terms.
As with any other children’s-based organization, Gymfinity Ltd. and Gymfinity and Beyond encourage positive parental support. Please ask the staff or the officers of the booster club what YOU can do to help YOUR child’s club. It is strongly encouraged for all athletes’ families to attend any booster club meetings as they will be trying to keep you informed regarding matters involving your child. Meeting minutes, the club by-laws and this handbook are available at the booster club website at http://www.gymfinityandbeyond.com
How does a parent fit into the team program?
The decision to join the team is a big one and reflects a significant year-round family commitment. The role of the team parent can be rather complex. Parent’s involvement in their child’s team experience can vary greatly from family to family. How much a parent gets involved is an individual matter.
There are, however, certain things parents should do to help ensure that their child’s team experience is a positive one. First and foremost, be a primary source of support and encouragement. Let your child know that your love and support are unconditional. Your approval and encouragement should not be based on performance. This is a critical point. In sports, progress is a continuous series of gains and losses. It can be an emotional roller coaster. Your reassuring and stabilizing influence is vital to your child’s emotional success.
We look to the parents to provide us with an athlete who is prepared for training and competition. We tell the children that they are like high performance race cars; they need fuel before and after a race, they need well maintained parts and regular maintenance. For the athlete this means a light meal before a workout and a light meal after. It means a diet that provides all the food groups in the proper amounts. It means being sure they get enough sleep, and they get enough social time with friends and family. It means evaluating all this periodically. It is near impossible for us to reach skill and performance goals with an athlete that doesn’t have the raw materials with which to build upon.
Why is it impossible to judge my child’s progress by comparing them to similar kids in the program?
Parents should attempt to reinforce what the coaches are trying to accomplish in the gym. This includes proper goal setting, learning responsibility, developing a strong work ethic, having a positive attitude and good sportsmanship. Parents can help their children understand that they are unique individuals and that their rate of progress in the sport will be different from others. Help your child focus on their personal goals and not to make negative comparisons. Gymnasts will progress at different rates and at different levels. This reality can be very difficult mentally and emotionally. Slower progressing athletes may feel that they are not progressing at all or that they should be doing better. It can also be stressful on a faster progressing athlete; they sometimes develop a fear of success or feel as they are an object of resentment. We try to encourage our athletes to focus on the personal progress rather than getting caught up in the comparison trap. We take steps to ground the athletes when we see signs or symptoms of this problem arising. Parents should help to reinforce these ideas and principles, not doing so will have a defined negative effect on their child’s progress, and their love of what they are doing. It will also stress the relationship between the parent and the child. I know, not you, not your family. You’re different. But based on my 40+ years of experience with families, I cannot recall a time when it hasn’t gone just the way I said.
It seems that my child is behind, what can I do?
First read the paragraph above…twice. If you still have questions, understand that the speed of learning does not necessarily mean that the learning is better. It is not uncommon for athletes that have done well in the beginning levels to be passed by others in the advanced levels. This can be attributed to many complicated factors and their interplay. Talent, motivation, fear of failure, family dynamics, stress or even fear of success (if I do well, I’ll have to do more difficult “stuff” and spend more time etc.), and other factors all have parts to play. This can be very difficult for the child/athlete to understand, so we need to keep reinforcing the fact that progress must be measured individually. Unfair comparisons will be very detrimental. As mentioned earlier, parents have a very important part to play in preparing for and dealing with these realities. The reality of it is that progress in sport is usually on an incline-plateau-incline model. It is not uncommon to see a decline after a prolonged plateau phase before the incline is re-attained. This is normal. It is usually during the plateau or decline that children give up and withdraw. But, if they can weather the low times, it makes the high times that much more enjoyable.
Parents could also seek out private lessons for their child if they feel the athlete needs extra attention. Most coaches do private lessons and charge a variable rate. Lessons usually last 1 hour or less (we discourage longer than 1-hour private lessons) and the athlete has one on one time with the coach. It is the parent’s obligation to set this up. Private lessons are not offered regularly, and the times and fees need to be arranged with the individual coach. Private lessons are a privilege for the athlete since it extends beyond the normal scope of regular training in the program.
Who the heck is Liz? And why does she have her own waiver?
Liz Wahl is a certified Physical Therapist from the UW. She comes to Gymfinity at no additional cost to your team families to advise coaches on training and rehabilitation of our athletes, observes any physical therapy assigned to our athletes and advise parents in a non-formal, unofficial capacity. At no time should Liz’s presence and service substitute for seeing a doctor or as a replacement for following a medical professional’s advice and care. Ms. Wahl can observe athletes doing P.T. and correct form or performance. She can review injuries and offer advice on treatment but as stated, she should NEVER be seen as a primary treatment for an athlete.
Included in the forms section is a specific waiver to release Liz for any liability in advising your athlete. Completing this document is optional but without it, Liz will not advise your child though ache’s pains or rehabilitation. (Her form is part of the team agreement)
How can I help the program?
At Gymfinity we try to treat the parents’ concerns with respect and encourage them to participate fully and constructively in pursuing the program objectives. Parents are updated with news and information as soon as it becomes available. Most often this is by e-mail directly to the parents and you should feel free to ask questions about:
The goals and direction of the program
Coaches qualifications and training
Likely estimated costs of competition, uniforms, fees and other expenses
Requirements of attendance and uniform
Schedules and locations for events and/or competitions
Policies regarding participation, promotion and selection of team
Behavioral expectations and policies including codes of conduct and enforcement policy
Volunteer expectations of parents and families
Process, procedure and contact information for communicating individual concerns or issues
Parent meetings and booster clubs
Basic rules of the sport
Evaluation of the child’s progress
Information to help the child progress and fulfill a positive experience
A word of caution about parent observation: As coaches we are dealing with many complex variables at any given moment. We do our best to provide an optimum training program subject to a variety of constraints. While we are willing to listen to your input or concerns, we feel it is unfair to be constantly scrutinized and criticized by the few parents who feel some internal need to observe and evaluate each movement made by a coach and/or child. This atmosphere is unnecessary and sometimes counter-productive. In effect we prefer that you allow us to work in a more comfortable atmosphere and respectfully request that you drop off your child in time for the start of practice and pick them up in a timely manner following the session.
When is it appropriate to meet with a coach? Ask J Directly
We want you to be a T*E*A*M parent! Here’s how.
If you encourage your athlete/child in a positive way, keep expectations realistic, support them when they have hard times and let them stand alone in the spotlight when they have good times, if you Teach, Enforce, Advocate and Model good sportsmanship and high ethical standards then you are a Gymfinity T*E*A*M parent; and you are as valuable to us as we are to you.
The Athlete’s Role
What is expected of my child?
As you should have expectations of Gymfinity, we too have expectations of your child. Athletes are expected to come to training sessions ready to work. Athletes are required to wear appropriate workout clothes. Tattoos and body piercing, other than ears, are discouraged and can negatively affect scores at competitions. No jewelry, other than stud earrings, are to be worn during training. Hair should be pulled away from the face.
What are some values based behaviors we can expect to see? (Please review this section with your child IN DETAIL)
These are some areas that I feel we, as coaches, are under-achieving and some of the things we will do at meets and in training that will help reinforce our character goals.
All athletes will remain in the competition arena until the last competitor is done competing. To hear why click the button.
2. All athletes will stay until the last award is handed out. Click the button to hear why this is important.
3. Athletes on the award stand should congratulate the athletes on each side of them. This is something that we feel is so valuable. It really makes the kids remember that they are not the only ones trying to achieve their goals. It opens their eyes to the feelings and realities of other competitors, and I can’t think of many things that I would rather have them learn.
4. Our job is to teach them the things that are okay to react to and the things that are not okay to react to, and what to do next. Hear what this means by clicking the button.
5. Support and cheer for the other teams in your rotation. This is a big one and it involves the parent too. Click the button to hear what and why we have this value.
Can we miss a practice the week of a competition?
No. Any team member missing a training session the week of a competition (for any reason) will not be allowed to attend the meet. There will be no return of the entry fee. This is not only for reason of continuity of training but for the athlete’s safety as well. I am sure that you want your child to be safe. This is true of all teams and there are no exceptions. Of late we have been more lax on this rule. Starting in the 2019-2020 season we will return to being very strict.
Are competitions the only places where the team kids perform?
Gymfinity is often in demand for exhibitions at schools, clubs, shopping centers, and civic events. These are great experiences for the kids, as they can demonstrate how hard work has brought rewards. Team athletes will be asked from time to time to participate; this is not required but it is a valuable part of the team experience.
How long is a competition?
That depends: In T&T the kids compete in “flights” and can last a few hours. In gymnastics the competition usually lasts about 3 hours. Gymfinity families are REQUIRED to stay for entire award ceremonies. This means that if your age group is finished, your flight is done, or your team has received their appropriate recognition it is respectful to stay and cheer on others from your team and from other teams. We believe that good performance should be recognized and leaving before others get their reward is disrespectful and rude. It may mean you go to eat or leave for home a few minutes later, but a few minutes spent respecting another competitor are well spent minutes. If for some reason an individual has to leave early, we ask that you check out with your coach and leave discreetly.
What if my child has to miss a practice?
We believe that school and family come first, and inevitably a conflict will arise. For these reasons we try to be understanding and not give the child a difficult time for occasionally missing a practice. We also believe that you have chosen Gymfinity because of our excellent reputation and high level of quality training we administer. We will try to remain flexible, but the training schedule is designed for maximum results in skill and team development. An athlete must attend the appropriate schedule for their level, inability to do so may result in delayed mobility to the next progressive step in competitive level or removal from a competition. Perfect attendance at scheduled workouts and gym functions is essential to ensure consistent training. If an athlete must leave early, or cannot attend a workout, THEY must notify the gym by note or by phone call. If an athlete knows of an absence ahead of time, THEY should include the date and a reason in a note. There are no scheduled make-ups for team programs out of season regardless of cause. The only excused absences are for an academic function, such as a meeting or event that is required for a grade, and these ONLY during competitive season. Overloads of homework, sporting events, or time with friends are not excusable absences. In the event of an academic related absence, one make-up is scheduled on an off scheduled night. Team athletes are never charged for Open Gym and if you feel that you need more gym time to make up for absences, we encourage you to use this option. On occasion, team workouts may be canceled due to events, holidays, rest days after a heavy competition schedule etc. These practices will not always be made up. Sometimes a scheduled absence may be in the best interest of the athlete and we will decide when that is. There is never any tuition credit given for cancelled or missed practices.
What if we are going to be late?
Being habitually late is not understandable. We are here, prepared to begin every session. We expect that of our athletes too. If an athlete must be late, THEY (not the parent) should phone before their scheduled workout time. If for some reason (school dismissal time, activities, etc.) the athlete will be late on a certain day please inform the office or coaches in writing. We emphasize that the athlete, not the parent is expected to take responsibility for reporting absences and tardies. If for some reason (car trouble, traffic, etc.) the athlete is not able to call, the parent should come in and explain to the coach the reason for being late. We are not only trying to develop responsibility in our athletes by asking that it be them who inform us but attempting to foster independence. We also expect it from our teams because it is disrespectful to not show up when someone expects you. Aren’t these traits you would like your child to develop too?
What if my child is injured and cannot perform the necessary skills?
Injured athletes are expected to continue to train the regular schedule, (stretching and strength conditioning whatever is possible) while recovering. Tuition will not be reduced or discounted for absences less than one month in duration regardless of the reason. If a child misses any practice due to an injury, it is REQUIRED that we receive a doctor’s release that allows that child to again participate. Without it Gymfinity would be liable for exacerbation of an existing injury or potentially introducing a new injury because the athlete is unable to perform to standard. We do not have any medical training and are unable to diagnose any athlete’s recovery.
Is it OK to be in other sports at the same time they are on the team at Gymfinity?
This is a complicated answer. The less complicated answer is that we ask for a commitment of time and focus. If that is not possible while participating in other activities, then we would ask that the family decide which activity takes priority. If the athlete cannot make the scheduled training sessions or makes them in-frequently then there is a conflict. Physiologically, psychologically and from the standpoint of safety the best course of action for an athlete is to not spread their focus too thin. We know that we cannot restrict a child from participating in other activities. In earlier levels the crossover is usually not intrusive and doesn’t appear to be too detrimental; however, as an athlete moves up in levels, the demands on their attention and physical bodies will increase. Again, knowing that we cannot demand that children do not participate in outside sports we can only strongly discourage it. As children spend more time, and energy outside of the gym they will have less to spend in the gym. It MUST be realized that ALL expectations of the child’s performance will be modified. Children spread thin will not progress as well and are prone to more injuries. At levels of skill where poor or uncommitted performance can cause injury, paralysis or even death, a parent MUST be comfortable knowing that their child, spread thinner, will be at risk as well as be slowed in their development.
What if my child has a conflict with participating in another sport?
There is a defined level in which we ask the athletes to decide. It is felt that once a athlete passes into higher levels (level 7, 8, 9 and 10) the time requirement, the physical requirement and the need for focused participation is such that it becomes unsafe to pursue higher levels while participating in outside sports. We cannot forbid participation in outside sports but want to make it clear that the luxury of questioning a child’s progress (why didn’t he/she do better?) is eliminated. We cannot attribute any delayed or inconsistent training and progress to anything from the gym when outside factors are affecting the athlete’s performance. Also, training an athlete on difficult skills that require full physical commitment as well as attention and focus become riskier when the child’s energies and attention are diminished. Allowing and encouraging outside participation after the athlete attains level 7 or up will diminish their performance and put them potentially at great risk. Even when the coaches are made aware of the cross training, some factors cannot be controlled by anything other than removing the athlete from participation. This may be done if the coach notices diminished focus or performance, but often these characteristics remain covert.
We have found that athletes in our sports, as they approach higher levels may require more devotion. Higher levels need a focus in training that can only be accomplished through exclusivity. It is difficult and dangerous for a gymnast/tumbler to work as hard as it takes to be successful. Gymnastics/tumbling are a few sports that require more time and greater risk as the athlete progresses. If an athlete is training in other sports, they lose the clarity of focus and may compromise the specific nature of musculature required for these sports. Neither of these two concerns would allow a positive outcome for the athlete. We cannot be expected to efficiently train under these negative conditions.
The coach cannot be responsible for the safety of an athlete who attends under sub-standard personal conditions. This must be understood, for liabilities sake, and your signature at the end of this document confirms your understanding and acceptance of this policy and removes liability for progress or safety regarding sub-standard physical/mental state from Gymfinity and places it squarely on the shoulders of the parents.
How is tuition calculated for my family?
It is important for parents to understand that program costs include much more than just the coaches time. Other costs include (but are not limited to) administration, facility (read as rent, real estate taxes, insurance, utilities, maintenance, etc.) equipment, liability insurance, coaches training, professional associations and fees plus a myriad of other items. Gymfinity Ltd. has an obligation to cover these costs to ensure the maintenance of the competitive programs. For this reason, it is necessary for the parents of each team member to share in the financial responsibility on a continual basis. Team programs in clubs are most often offered as “break-even” programs. The profitable programs are for younger and lower level classes. If we were to operate based off of a more profit centered model, we would eliminate the team programs and thus eliminate the need for $30k floor, $3k vault tables, high payroll, higher insurance, and less administration. But we don’t. We try to keep our prices fair but still operate as a viable business.
Do I still owe tuition if my child is missing some training sessions?
Gymnastics and T&T Team tuition is calculated on a 48 week per year basis and then divided by twelve to arrive at a monthly amount which is due no later than the first of the month. Each year you can expect to have a limited number of practices canceled due to holidays, meets, inclement weather, rest days after long meet weekends etc. Team members do not move onto or off team based on illness, injury, vacation, schedule conflicts or the like. They are either on the team or not. Your monthly tuition would be much higher if we had to consider that some team members would be pro-rating tuition for one reason or another while expenses stayed the same. Just like a health club membership where your dues still apply even if you do not take advantage of the facility or the program, your team tuition is due regardless of schedule conflicts, injury, illness vacation, sickness or homework.
Are there tuition breaks if an athlete is injured or sick?
Injured athletes are expected to participate in practice and gym activities to the extent possible. It is often possible to work around injuries and turn a difficult situation into something positive by increased work on flexibility, strength, specific events or specific skills. There is no reduction in tuition unless the condition takes the athlete out for one complete month and then only if the athlete cannot participate in training at all. In that case the tuition would be adjusted based on participation. For the athlete to return to training following a prolonged sickness or injury the parent MUST provide a doctor’s approval of return.
If I have other kids in the program, do I get a tuition break?
Competitive team families with more than one athlete in our programs are entitled to Gymfinity’s standard family discount structure, which is 10% off the second child, 20% off the third and 50% off the fourth the fifth would be FREE, so have more kids!
What if I do not pay the whole tuition bill?
We know that at sometimes a family’s financial obligations become overwhelming. Gymfinity is willing to negotiate a payment plan for any team family. There are also several work-study programs available through the gym. Cleaning, filing, and other odd jobs may be done in return for payment toward tuition.
If a check is returned to Gymfinity, what happens?
All bank fees related to returned checks, insufficient funds, etc. will be charged back to the family in addition to a $35 fee.
How do I make a payment for tuition?
There is basically only one way that team accepts tuition payments. The registration form includes a portion for establishing automatic payments. All team accounts are REQUIRED to have an auto pay format. The form is recorded into a secure file and tuition is automatically paid via that credit card when billing for the month is set (on the 21st of the previous month) and therefore never subject to a late fee. Refusing the auto pay incurs a $5/month addition to the posted tuition rate. Gymfinity and its officers take great pride in and are dedicated to paying the company’s financial obligations on time. The only late fee possible is if the card expires and its replacement is not entered by the time payments are due. If payment information needs to be modified, we ask that parents do this at the desk or through the online Parent Portal.
Are there fees other than tuition?
In order to compete all Gymnasts and T&T team members are required to have a valid membership in the governing body (USAGymnastics). This requires the annual completion of a registration form and payment; this is usually done in July or August and expires in one calendar year. Parents will be made aware of these well in advance as they will need to complete the process online.
What is the Family Membership Fee?
Gymfinity charges an annual membership fee to all families registered in any Gymfinity activity. The annual fee is $45 billed in September and will be pro-rated for families joining Gymfinity during the year. The fee is intended to offset some of the program costs associated with the operation of the gym. If you have multiple children in the program you are still liable for only one family fee.
What is the Team Membership Fee?
As mentioned previously, having a competitive team is cause for the escalation of many fees including the price of liability insurance and the need for more specialized equipment. There is also a much greater amount of time spent to accommodate the administrative needs of monthly payments and billing, meet entry, skill test development and more. Therefore, it is necessary to charge an additional fee to team families to help offset these costs. The amount is $50 and is billable in June when the athletes commit to team for the next year.
Are there fees for going to competitions?
Athlete’s families are responsible for any and all fees associated with competitions or clinics in which the athlete is registered. These costs include entry fees (individual and team) and a prorated share of all associated coaches costs (which include session pay, mileage of $.58/mile, a food per Diem and hotel costs in needed).
Are there travel fees?
The parents are responsible for transportation to and from a competition. We encourage you to carpool as much as possible to save money and the environment, plus it promotes the team atmosphere. It’s the parent’s responsibility to get the athlete to training sessions and competitions on time and ready to perform. Athletes arriving late to a competition may be removed from the competitive roster. Each discipline sets their own “demanded arrival” time, arriving after that time will take the child out of the competition. This is non-negotiable and there are no exceptions. So, if you read a map like I do… leave earlier.
What about long distances traveled?
Should a competition require the use of a plane or a train, the parent would be financially liable for all expenses, including a division of those of the coach. This is paid through the booster club. There is a separate release that must be on file for each attending athlete in order to travel with the coach. Parents are encouraged to come along on these trips but sometimes that is practically and financially difficult. Coach assignments are usually restricted to one coach per 10 athletes to keep costs down, and one coach of each Gender is required regardless of the number of athletes attending, unless a parent is willing to act as a liaison to the opposite gender of the coach.
What are the coach’s fees?
Coaches get paid by the booster club for competitions. They are employed by Gymfinity for training only, at competitions they are technically working for the Gymfinity and Beyond Booster Club. The cost of coaches attending is based on the number of athletes attending. The usual ratio is 8 to 1. Payments are made based on groups and should more than the ratio allowed be attending there will be an increase in need for coaches to be present; the coaches will be responsible for dividing the paid wage. Coaches receive $.58 per mile to drive to a competition (one coach per 8 girls allowed mileage, based on session and schedule) and a $20 per day food allowance regardless of sessions attended or number of athletes. Fees for group coaching vary per discipline.
Who pays for the athletes personal effects?
Athletes are required to purchase their own uniforms, grips, shoes, tape. Uniform may include competitive gear, practice gear and accessories (bag, jacket, warm-ups, etc.). All items are coordinated through the pro-shop. Parents individually and collectively are forbidden from using Gymfinity’s name image, logo or other references without express permission from Gymfinity’s owners. An invoice for all purchased items will be provided through the booster club.
When should I put money into the booster account and how?
At the start of each competitive season each athlete is required to have enough money in their individual account to cover the costs of their season; this is usually projected and requested up to 3 months prior to the first competition. Therefore it is necessary to make deposits well ahead of the season’s start. Most competitions are paid months in advance and so much of the cost will be billed prior to actual competition (remember that the competitive season is defined as 2 months prior to the first competition date).
As an athlete enters a competition the amount is drawn out of their individual account and a monthly statement is provided to keep the parents abreast of the financial state of the account as season progresses. If there is not enough money in the account to cover the cost of competition entry at the time the entry is made the athlete will be kept from the competition regardless if a deposit is made immediately after the entry is submitted.
To deposit money into the booster club for your individual account fill out the deposit slip found at the front desk, the bottom half serves as your receipt. Give the payment to a coach or office person, they MUST initial it; let them know where the money is to be applied. Be sure to enter your child’s name and discipline (Gymnastics or T&T) in the memo field of your check and fill out the deposit form completely. All checks must be made out to Gymfinity and Beyond to ensure it is routed to the proper account.
What happens if my child decides to quit the team?
Gymfinity has a “Pause Form” that must be completed and submitted to the team director 30 days prior to termination of participation. A copy will be made to issue to the booster club so they will close the individual account. We would prefer that the parents and athlete met with the coaches for a brief exit interview to explain the departure and allow us the opportunity to better improve our program in the future. We will support 100% a well thought out decision made by the family and team athlete.
In terms of the financial account, withdrawal date is determined by the date the letter is given to the team’s director. Should tuition have been paid for the month, a partial refund would be allowed. If the departure date is prior to the 15th of the month, one half of the tuition will be returned, if after the 15th no refund will be written. The preferred exit date would be at the end of a billed month. If a balance is still owed to Gymfinity at the termination of participation, Gymfinity will expect payment in full.
There is a booster club refund if your child quits the team program provided the proper procedure is followed. That procedure is determined by Gymfinity and Beyond and will have no enforcement or influence on or by Gymfinity Ltd.