Competitive Team Handbook
About Our Program
Our Program Goals
General Rules & Policies
Gymnast Attire & Behavior
Fees & Payments
Team Family Participation
Westfield YMCA Gymnastics Program
67 Court St.
Westfield, MA 01085
Being part of a team has an impact on a child
that can last a lifetime. By being part of a team,
a child develops friendships and bonds and
learns sharing, teamwork, cooperation and com-
The Pre-Team (Level 2) begins to advance
skills of the beginner gymnast and learn the
aspects of competitive gymnastics. We encourage our Pre-Team members to participate in home
meets and other events such as team outings and fundraisers. They are also given the opportunity
to experience competitions that require travel from our local competitions with in our League to
some Championship competitions in other states.
The Beginner(Level 3)/Intermediate(Level 4)/Advanced(Level 5&up) teams expands on the
competitive aspect of the sport, such as rules of competition, form and routine development with
teamwork as an emphasis. Individual and team goals direct the skill development and achieve-
ment at these levels. Practices times are level specific and run Tuesdays and Thursdays between
4:00-8:00, Fridays. 4:00-7:30pm and Saturdays between 9:00-2:30pm.
We also offer our Semi-Private Lessons for those team members who feel that they need extra
help on a certain skill or event. During our Team Semi-Private Lessons, team members will focus
on a particular skill or event in a small group setting of five or less in this 7 week program that
runs on Saturday from 9:30 to 11:30 am
All Team members are required to participate in home & away meets and are encouraged to par-
ticipate in Championship and Invitational meets. Events such as fundraisers, our holiday sleep-
over, team outings, the Year-End Show and the Team Family Banquet are also required.
The Westfield YMCA Gymnastics Team is
committed to developing a competitive spirit
and good sportsmanship while
maintaining the Y.M.C.A. principles of
Caring, Honesty, Respect & Responsibility
Every gymnast is treated equally and everyone
has the opportunity to progress at their indi-
Our team is a progressive goal setting environment for gymnastics training with teamwork as an
emphasis. We believe the attainment of personal goals is the first step in the development of an
all-around athlete. Success is the achievement of goals.
Our team program offers a great opportunity to progress in an exciting, safe and motivating
environment. Gymnasts are introduced to competition when it is appropriate for them physically
and mentally. Coaches will recommend progression through our level based program when the
proper skill level is attained. For most gymnasts, proper skill development in a level requires a
full year of participation.
If you have any questions about moving up to the next level or what group your child should be
in, speak to one of the coaches, who will help you place your gymnast according to their skill
level. Remember, front desk personnel can only give general recommendations.
• Gymnasts must be signed up and paid for meets on time in order to participate
in the competition.
• If a coach feels the gymnast is not properly prepared for a meet, they reserve the right to pull
the gymnast from the meet.
• If a gymnast is late to a meet and they miss any portion of the warm-ups, it is the discretion of
the coach to allow the child to compete or not.
• Gymnasts are required to remain with their group throughout the duration of the meet until
ALL competition has completed and are only allowed to leave the competition floor with coaches
permission. Gymnasts are required to stay for the ENTIRE awards ceremony at a regular season
home or away meet at the end of their session out of respect for their teammates.
• Gymnasts are required to wear the team uniform for the duration of the meet, including awards.
• Parents/Spectators are not allowed in the competition area during competition, including stretch-
ing and warm-ups unless a coach allows them to enter .
Our Program Goals
To understand the difference between ability and effort, and the value and reward of effort.
To realize success is getting better, rather than winning. The development of the potential of the
individual through which winning has a reinforcing and positive effect.
Develop the spirit, mind and body within the philosophy of keeping a good kid good.
how to lose,
how to win,
maintaining a schedule,
To understand that athletics provides a lifetime outlet for exercise and living a healthy lifestyle.
To promote a love for sports.
Rules and Policies
All Rules and Policies Must be Followed at All Times.
THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS!
Parents/Guardians and spectators must remain in the designated seating area at all times,
and use care when moving around the gymnastics area.
We want everyone to be comfortable and encourage parents/guardians to stay and
watch their children's' practice. However, gymnastics can be a very complicated
task and needs the coaches' & gymnasts' full concentration. It's not only
difficult for gymnasts to learn but is also dangerous for everyone if a child
is distracted, running over to spectators, waving, or talking to their parents
during practice time. Please help us and do not allow or encourage your children
to do any of these activities. During practices the gymnasts take a short break to allow for a
quick drink or visit. We reserve the right to ask anyone causing a disturbance or distraction
to leave the seating area and/or gym. At no time should children who are or are not enrolled
in class be on gymnastics equipment without a coaches permission
If for any reason a parent/guardian needs to speak with one of the coaches, please wait until
the end of the class or call or email us to schedule a time.
Parents/Guardians are encouraged to inquire about YMCA memberships to use the
facilities during classes.
Gymnast Drop Off/Pick Up
Gymnasts should be dropped off a few minutes before their practice is scheduled to start to
ensure they have time to get ready for practice.
If a gymnast arrives late to practice, this is a major hindrance on their own practice as well
as the rest of the group. The beginning of practice is important and should not be missed.
There are announcements and discussions, in additions to warm-ups and stretching that
prepare a gymnasts body for exercise.
ALL team gymnasts, regardless of their size are required to help pick up the gym. Everyone
has a job and everyone can help keep pick up!
Parents/Guardians must come in to the gym to pick up your child. Gymnasts are
only allowed to leave the gym at the end of pick up accompanied with a parent/guardian or
they are wait in the lobby of the YMCA until their parent/guardian arrives.
Team Attire & Items to Have at Practice
Gymnasts are required to wear a leotard. Tight fitting shorts, pants or footless tights may be worn
with a leotard if desired. Pants must fall at ankles or above. Socks or tight with feet may NOT
be worn. NO baggy clothing. Absolutely no leotards with skirts or two-piece leotards. Boys must
wear shorts or pants and t-shirt that tucks in.
** All gymnasts must be prepared for class before the class begins.**
• All hair must be secured back away from face. Any stray hair that falls in the face of the gym-
nast must be secured by either a headband (pre-wrap is acceptable) or hair clips.
• All jewelry must be removed before entering the gym. This includes earrings with the exception
of stud earrings
• Absolutely NO gum chewing is allowed in the gym.
• Hydration is important during exercise. Gymnasts are encouraged to bring a water bottle or
sports drink bottle which they may carry around with them
• Gymnasts are allowed to bring a small HEALTHY snack to practice. If is becomes to much of
a distraction, gymnasts will be asked to put it away.
Team Practice Rules
• Do not use the equipment without a coach's supervision.
• Before using the equipment, make sure it is tightened and adjusted correctly, and all mats are in
the correct place.
• Every gymnast must stretch and warm-up with their group or they will not be allowed to partici-
pate in class that day.
• Never attempt any skills without permission and supervision of a coach.
• No one will be allowed to leave the gym without permission from their coach. Gymnasts must
have a buddy chosen by the coach and must wear shoes when leaving the gym.
• When walking around the gym, do not walk across the equipment or crash mats. Other gym-
nasts may be using the equipment, so please keep an eye out for others working out.
• "NO HORSE PLAY" at any time while on or around gymnastics equipment.
• Gymnasts are only allowed to leave the gym at the end of pick up accompanied with a parent or
guardian with a coach's dismissal.
• All Team members must set-up and pick-up every day before and after their practice time. If a
gymnast must leave practice early, they must inform their Level coach AND Megan or Linda .
They will be required to pick up equipment not in use before they leave.
• All Team and Pre-Team members must bring their gym bags every practice. All personal
belongings must be kept inside a gym bag. Gym bags may be left in the designated area or may
be brought to each event once practice has begun.
Westfield YMCA competes under the auspices of USA Gymnastics, which is the national gov-
erning body for the sport of gymnastics in America. USAG sponsors competition for levels 4
through 10 and elite (national and international). International elites are the gymnasts you see
on television, competing in the Olympics and world championships. These athletes work out
two times a day, six days a week. Our coaches have the expertise to instruct at this level, but
we have chosen not to be directed toward this level. We have consistently developed gymnasts
through level 8. We have done this while training at least 2 days a week less and 4+ hours less
than most of our competitors at the higher levels. We take great pride in this aspect of our pro-
gram. We also provide a wonderful environment for our gymnasts to grow. We pride ourselves
on treating our gymnasts as individuals, giving them the attention they need to progress. We
would like our girls to be involved in gymnastics for a long time. No one can sustain an activity
in an overly intense, anxious atmosphere. We give our athletes the information, opportunity and
encouragement to succeed. We will not promise you a champion. However we will work hard to
help your child reach their gymnastics potential.
The compulsory program is set up to take the athletes through carefully elevated, progressively
harder, gymnastics skills. We can tell how well a gymnast is doing by how well they do at a
meet. The girls must compete on all four events, the vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor
exercise. The elements are put together in short routines. Each routine is judged and given a
score (the highest possible score being a 10.0.) representing how well she did. After the meet,
sometimes immediately or later at practice, the coach and athlete discuss the performance at the
meet and make plans on how to improve.
As mentioned, the girls will be “judged". Even though this is the basis for their awards, it is not
the only factor we use to evaluate their performance. First of all, many things are happening
during the competition. The girls have to:
1. Get themselves ready to compete, by warming up their skills and acclimating themselves to a
different gym and different equipment.
2. Learn how a meet is run so they are prepared for all situations.
3. Handle how well they liked their performance, dealing with success and disappointments.
We are continually training the girls to understand how to function at a meet.
As stated the girls are judged, the score is the judges opinion of the athlete's routine. The score
should rank the routine as to whether it was the best or the worst routine or somewhere in
between. Different judges have different opinions on similar routines. This is a constant in gym-
nastics. Judges work hard to keep up on their ratings and do their job earnestly. That does not
mean we always agree with them. Sometimes we have a hard time making sense of the scores
and we have been doing this for over many years. We don't expect he gymnasts or parents to
understand every aspect of scoring. Of course things like bias and not being completely objective
when our gymnasts are performing might have something to do with it. Our advice is to deal with
it. We can always gripe about the officiating. Notice if you see your child doing some skill better
as the meets go along. Ask her what her coach says about her routine. Sometimes the judges will
agree with us, sometimes not. As long as you are a gymnastics parent you will have to deal with a
subjective sport. Come to terms with it now!
As a parent you have a very big role in your athletes gymnastics career, it is being a parent, NOT
a secondary coach. The literature on this subject has been conclusive. Your child needs your sup-
port. If your child is putting forth the effort they are earning your support. If they are not pro-
gressing or performing up to your expectations please conference with your head coach. The
coaches can tell you what you need to know about your child's progress.
It is not possible to cover every condition that might occur in a team gymnastics experience,
however as all the information you are reading attests to, we are trying. When you make the deci-
sion to participate in our team program it should be based on the fact that Westfield YMCA is the
place where you want your child to take gymnastics. Your view of competitive gymnastics for
children should be in line with what is stated above. We are working very hard for your support.
Competitive Team Requirements
Pre-team uniforms consist of a red & black stock leotard. These leotards are approximately $26.
All pre-team gymnast will be measured and leotards will be ordered once all sizes are gathered.
Team uniforms consist of a leotard and personalized warm-ups and team bag. All team members
will be measured and once all sizes and personalizations are gathered the orders will be placed.
Our meet schedule is set in mid-September. The season consists of home and local away meets
with our Western Mass League, judging clinic & inHouse meets, travel Invitational meets and
Championship meets that may require qualifying scores. Gymnasts are encourage to attend as
many of the different types of meets as possible throughout the year to experience all different
levels of competition
All gymnasts must turn in a health form.
Fundraising is a team effort and every team family is expected to participate. We are currently
raising funds to help the YMCA pay for a gym specifically for gymnastics. Other uses for the
money we raise throughout the year are used to buy new equipment and supplies. We are try-
ing new creative fundraising activities for the gymnast to participate in throughout the year as
opposed to selling just selling candy or fundraising through catalogs. Keep an eye on the bulletin
board for new fundraisers coming up.
There are several ways for our team families can stay current on all the events and happenings of
• Website: The website is updated first and frequently. It is a good idea to check it weekly for
updates. The address is www.westfieldymcagymnastics.com
• Email: Get signed up for our Program Newsletter. Emails are sent out frequently with the goal
of keeping all those enrolled as up to date as possible. If there is a cancelation or change, the
newsletter members are the first to know. You can sign up on our website, www.westfieldymca-
• Bulletin Board: There is a Gymnastics Program bulletin board inside the gym in the parents
seating area. We post notices, sign up sheets schedules, etc.. Make sure to take a look at the board
every time you come into the gym to make sure you or your child isn't missing out on an
upcoming event. We've also started posting the most recent e-newsletter on the board for those
who don't have access to email.
• Notices: Notices are frequently handed out to the gymnasts about upcoming events, meets or
fundraisers. Please make sure to check with your child to get the most recent handouts.
Team Family Participation
It is very important for a young athlete to be shown that they have the support of their families.
They spend many hours training to reach their goals, for competitions and to improve and it is
important for them to feel a level of commitment from you as well. Team parents must be willing
to volunteer and participate at meets, events and fundraisers. In order to run this types of events
successfully, we need everyone's help. At a home meet, there is something that everyone can help
with, whether it's setting up and picking up the equipment, bringing in foods or paper goods for
our food table, helping with leotard sales or the scoring table. It is important for parents to be
involved, if you have a special skill or you're just looking for a way to help out, just ask us!