1. General Questions
2. What age can you start gymnastics?
3. Program Descriptions
4. Registration Questions
5. Questions about Classes
6. Questions about Progress
7. Participation Concerns
8. Illness and Injury
9. Gymnastics Coaches
1. General Questions
What is recreational gymnastics?
Recreational gymnasts will participate for the benefits of the activity rather than to distinguish themselves in competition. At the Airdrie Edge, we strive to deliver quality recreational programs to inspire gymnasts at all levels of ability and experience. We teach correct techniques to enable our gymnasts to build complex and challenging skills.
What does it take to be successful in recreational gymnastics?
The number one thing it takes to be successful in gymnastics is to approach the class with a positive attitude. Tied for number one in importance is having a good coach that keeps practice interesting! Next, regular attendance is extremely helpful. And finally, success requires good practice habits. For example, gymnasts must be able to follow the gym rules independently or with guidance. Gymnasts must also be capable of paying attention in class independently or with guidance.
Physical ability is not as big of a consideration as you may expect. The sport itself builds strength, balance, coordination, confidence, and fitness. Skills are learned in small steps, or adapted to the gymnast, so everyone can progress.
Some gymnasts are naturally strong, flexible and coordinated. We accommodate their fast learning in recreational programs by moving them rapidly through the levels. Because gymnastic skills rely on specific techniques, it is important not to skip the basics.
Is gymnastics right for my child?
Many children enjoy gymnastics. It appeals to their sense of adventure, daring, and energy. Some children dedicate themselves to the sport and take their gymnastics to high levels. Others enjoy attending for the fun activities, sociability, and ongoing challenges.
Gymnastics is an excellent foundation for the fundamental movements of most sports. Some children participate when they are young to create this base and then move on to other sports.
What to wear to rec gymnastics class?
Anything comfortable without zippers. If gymnasts wear tights, they must not cover the foot. Trampolinists often appreciate having their backs, knees, and elbows covered. Freestyle athletes need indoor shoes in order to make the best of the Freestyle bars area. Recreational program gymnasts do not need a fancy bodysuit. For more info see Dress for Success.
Why bare feet?
Many of the gym surfaces are slippery: bare feet = safety. (If your child has plantar warts or fungus, cover them with a Band-Aid held in place by sports tape.) Gymnastics shoes with grippy soles are an alternative to bare feet. Freestyle athletes need indoor shoes in order to make the best of the Freestyle bars area.
Why tie my hair up?
Long hair gets in the way. Not only is it distracting, but it can easily fall over the eyes. Gymnasts need to see where they are going at all times.
Do I need handgrips?
Handgrips are not recommended in recreational gymnastics classes. They take a lot of time to put on and they do not prevent rips from the bars.
2. What age can you start gymnastics?
Walking to 23 months:
Early Learners: GymBaby.
Over 24 months to under 4 years:
Early Learners: Tiny Tumblers and Super Springers.
4 years to under 6 years:
Early Learners: Flying Friends and Bouncing Buddies. From this program gymnasts can progress to Master Movers.
6 years and up:
CanGym, CanJump, Freestyle, and Specialized Classes.
15 years and up:
CanGym, CanJump, Freestyle, and Specialized Classes. We encourage people of any age to join any of our classes they are interested in. If you are looking for an adults only experience, we recommend our 15+ Drop-In on Tuesdays from 8:00pm-9:00pm.
3. Program Descriptions
The Early Learners category encompasses the GymBaby, Tiny Tumblers, Super Springers, Flying Friends, Bouncing Buddies, and Master Movers classes.
- GymBaby, Tiny Tumblers, and Super Springers (Walking to 23 months, 2 years, and 3 years)
Gym Baby, Tiny Tumblers, and Super Springers classes are parent-assisted, coach-led classes focused on inspiration and discovery in a gymnastics environment. Each GymBaby, Tiny Tumbler, and Super Springer attends with their own safeguarding adult aged 18 and up. With you at their side, we guide you to personalize the challenge and focus for your child. To get the most out of GymBaby, we recommend that your child already be walking.
Super Springers is also available for children under 5 who are not quite ready to attend on their own. Please make arrangements to register through the Front Office.
- Flying Friends, Bouncing Buddies, and Master Movers (4 years to under 6 years)
In Flying Friends and Bouncing Buddies, you’ll find the first 4 levels of our independent Early Learners program. Skills, imaginative activities, and tricky challenges inspire our Early Learners to go faster, higher and stronger! Master Movers is 2 more levels of advanced challenges, activities, and skills tailored toward young athletes with exceptional listening and gymnastics skills.
Master Movers Prerequisite: By coach recommendation or by assessment only. Bouncing Buddies is also open to 6 year olds upon request. Please make arrangements to register through the Front Office.
Only registered participants are supervised by the club and covered by insurance. Any other children (siblings, etc) must be entirely off the gymnastics floor in the waiting or viewing areas. This includes babies in slings, car seats, strollers, etc.
CanGym is for gymnasts aged 6 years and up. The CanGym category is about the traditional/artistic events: Vault, Uneven Bars, Beam, Floor, and Parallel Bars. Gymnastics is a fun and useful sport whether you are cross-training, want to go to higher levels, or are interested in becoming more acrobatic. Boys and girls practice the same skills in these levels.
CanJump is for gymnasts aged 6 years and up. The CanJump category is about the three trampoline events: Trampoline, Tumbling, and Double Mini-Trampoline (DMT). CanJump builds skills, training habits, endurance, balance, strength, perseverance, and safety skills in a high-flying sport.
Freestyle is for gymnasts aged 6 years and up. The Freestyle class is a multi-movement challenge that develops rapid decision-making skills. Parkour techniques of traveling over, under, and around obstacles are intensified through the mastery of gymnastics tips and tricks. Apparatuses can include: Bars, Tumbling, Trampoline, Walls, and a variety of interesting things to vault over.
Specialized Classes encompasses Homeschooler’s Gymnastics and Handsprings & Flips classes.
Homeschooler’s Gymnastics is a gym-wide exploration of gymnastics for gymnasts ages 6 years and up but during the day! The Homeschooler’s Gymnastics class includes skills and challenges from our CanGym, CanJump, and Freestyle programs. Depending on the age and skill level of the group, the class can be tailored to a specific discipline each session. Apparatuses can include: Bars, Beam, Vault, Tumbling, Double Mini-Trampoline, and Trampoline.
Handsprings & Flips
Handsprings & flips is for gymnasts who have passed level 5 in any of our other gymnastics programs. The handsprings & flips classes range from learning a back handspring (Level 1), connecting a back handspring (Level 2), and learning advanced tumbling lines (Level 3), as well as other tumbling skills and skill combinations.
The Airdrie Edge Interclub programs are for hard working, dedicated athletes who want to add a performance aspect to their gymnastics experience. Athletes in the Interclub groups will train 2x per week for 2 hours to further enhance their technical skills, create individualized routines, and learn the mental skills necessary to perform their routines in front of an audience.
Program Eligibility Requirements:
CanGym Interclub (Beam, Bars, Floor, Vault):
– CanGym Level 4 Pass or higher
CanJump Interclub (Trampoline, Tumbling, Double-Mini):
– CanJump Level 4 Pass or higher in the new program (effective in the Spring 2018 session)
Interclub is not a part of the Competitive programming here at Airdrie Edge. While Interclub has the potential to be a valuable step, it is not a necessary stepping stone in pursuing a competitive career; nor does being in the Interclub program secure/guarantee your athlete a spot in either Competitive program.
If you are interested in Competitive Artistic Gymnastics (CanGym) please contact, head coach, Tianna Larson Voth at email@example.com.
If you are interested in Competitive Trampoline and Tumbling (CanJump) please contact, head coach, Jamie Atkin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Edge PKFR (Parkour and Freerunning)
This program focuses on the competitive aspect of parkour in Speed, Skill, and Style. This is for athletes who can handle building strong basics and spending more time on correct technique, conditioning and flexibility in order to build them into well rounded athletes. Edge PKFR runs year round with summers off and athletes will train 2 hours, 2x per week to increase technical skills and prepare them for Speed, Skill, and Style competitions that run through the year. Athletes require Freestyle Level 5 Pass or higher, tryout and coach recommendation.
If you are interested in setting up a tryout for Edge PKFR, please contact Brody Atkin at email@example.com.
The Airdrie Edge Demo Troupe is a performance team made up of intermediate to advanced level athletes who work hard together to tell stories through music and gymnastics. Their routines consist of partner acrobatics, tumbling and group choreography. These athletes practice 2 hours, 2x a week, once for their routine and the other for their individual skill interests. Throughout the year the Demo Troup gets the chance to share their performances with both small and large audiences around Alberta and often get to travel to BC.
Drop-In is structured with a 10 minute warm-up and 50 minutes of supervised practice that focuses on gymnastics technique, safety, and skill development.
Our drop in classes have a variety of uses including the following:
• Exploring the sport of gymnastics and finding out what is in the sport for them
• For those who attend on a regular basis, to develop their skills and to understand skill concepts and techniques
• For former gymnasts it is a chance to revisit the sport
• For parkour enthusiasts it is a chance to add gymnastics skills to their repertoire as well as train in a safe environment with excellent equipment meant for safe progressions
• For cross-training athletes from other sports it is a chance to incorporate gymnastics fitness and skills such as safe falling and celebratory back flips!
4. Registration Questions
How do I know what level my child should start in?
• Walking to under 6 years, sign up according to the age guidelines for each class.
• Gymnasts from age 6 years to under 12 years with no previous experience: sign up for level 1-3 in CanGym, CanJump and Freestyle.
• Gymnasts aged 12 and over with no previous experience: sign up for CanGym 4, CanJump 4, or Freestyle level 4. In Handsprings & Flips, sign up for level 1.
• We can also help you to decide through an assessment.
My child has been away from gymnastics for some time. Where should they start?
Returning gymnasts can start where they left off or you can arrange an assessment if you think another level might be suitable. Contact the front office for more info.
My child is advanced. Where should they start?
What is an assessment? Can my child have one?
An assessment can determine what level your child should start at or continue in. The session lasts for 15 minutes and is free of charge. Assessments are available for gymnasts who:
• Transfer from another gymnastics or acrobatics program.
• Have taught themselves gymnastics.
• Transfer between programs. For example, from CanJump to CanGym, or from competitive to recreational.
• Are identified by their coach as needing an assessment.
Contact the front office to book an assessment.
Why does the Airdrie Edge not have make-up classes?
If we cannot provide a coach for a class, we will reschedule or refund for missed classes. However, if you have registered for classes and miss a class, we do not offer make-up classes. Class sizes are set by the Alberta Gymnastics Federation: we cannot have gymnasts dropping in on classes to make up for ones that they have missed.
I am on the waitlist. Can you fit just one more child in the class?
Our maximum class sizes are set by the Alberta Gymnastics Federation. We cannot exceed the guidelines.
My child’s birthday is close to the age cut-off date. Help!
We feel your pain. There is always going to be someone in this situation. You need to wait until your child is the correct age for the class according to the “age-by” date for each session.
My child is sick, injured, or we are moving and they cannot continue. Can I get a refund?
Yes. Contact the front office. All refunds will incur a $15 administration charge and the AGF membership fee is non-refundable.
My child is not enjoying the classes. Can I get a refund?
Yes, as long as you inform us before your 4th class. Contact the front office in person or by email. After this 4th week, no refunds will be issued, unless a doctors note is provided. All refunds will incur a $15 administration charge and the AGF membership fee is non-refundable.
Do you do private lessons?
Yes. Private lessons can be beneficial, but they are subject to coach availability. Contact the front office in person or by email.
What is the AGF membership fee?
The membership fee goes directly to two organizations: the Alberta Gymnastics Federation and Gymnastics Canada. It covers insurance, governance, and other activities that support the sport of gymnastics. The fee is payable once per year (July 1 to June 30) and is not transferable.
5. Questions about Classes
What are the rules in the gym?
- Coaches are in charge of what happens in the gym. Listen carefully to their instructions.
- Do not try gymnastics skills without permission.
- One at a time on the equipment.
- Always land on your feet unless you are told otherwise.
- Stay with your group.
- Stop immediately when you are asked to.
- Watch out for other people and for uneven surfaces.
- Stay out of the gym and off the equipment unless you are with a coach.
- Do not touch the super-trampoline. It’s the big trampoline in the middle of the gym and it’s only for our highest level athletes.
- If you are late for class, check in with your coach before you join in.
Other rules are implicit, according to common sense in a multi-age learning situation; for example: no hitting or grabbing, no name-calling, no distracting other gymnasts, no horseplay, no offensive language, and no fighting (even play-fighting).
Why are there so many levels in one class?
The blended classes represent different learning stages. For example, in CanGym and CanJump:
• Level 1-3 is introductory gymnastics
• Level 4-5 is a transition to intermediate gymnastics
• Level 6-8 is intermediate gymnastics
• Level 9-12 is advanced gymnastics
Why does my child’s class appear to do the same thing every week?
Our programs are built around the fundamental gymnastics skills: swing, spring, landings, rotations, stationary positions and locomotions. Before gymnasts learn more advanced skills, they must master the basics – it is a matter of technique and safety. Progression happens in small steps. Basic skills are practiced every class with many repetitions to build fitness, activate body awareness, and to turn good techniques into habits. If you observe advanced gymnasts, you will see that they too practice their basic skills every time they are in the gym.
It is up to the coaches to make the work of repetition seem fun and/or purposeful. If your child’s coach is not conveying this to your child, bring it up with the coach.
Most classes follow a schedule set for them by the Program Head Coach. This way, everyone gets to the apparatus they need for the skills that they are working on.
It is up to individual coaches to plan their lessons to make the most of the apparatus. One of our missions at the Airdrie Edge is to develop awesome and engaging coaches. Feedback from participants is one of the ways that coaches learn to be more effective. So please speak to the coach or to the Program Head Coach if you have comments, questions, or concerns.
Why does my child not get to go on all of the apparatuses?
The stations are set up to allow our gymnasts to practice the movements which define the program they are in. The coaches access the apparatuses according to a set schedule, created in consultation with the other groups in the gym.
My child really likes the trampoline and the pit. Why does their class not go there?
The trampolines are mostly used in the CanJump and Freestyle programs. Trampoline is not included in the introductory/intermediate CanGym curriculum, but they are sometimes used when available.
The pit is fun to jump into, but its main purpose is to protect gymnasts who are performing advanced skills.
At level 9, CanGym gymnasts start using the pit and trampolines more to work on tumbling and vaulting progressions.
We try to give everyone a chance to play in the pit at least once per session!
The Palooza: What is it?
The Palooza is a performance day for Demo Troupe, CanGym Interclub, CanJump Interclub, and PKFR (Freestyle Interclub). Paloozas happen at the end of the Fall and Winter sessions.
6. Questions about Progress
How do children progress from one level to the next?
Each program is defined by a series of skills. To pass from one level to the next, gymnasts need to master the skills in the level they are in. Mastery means that they can perform the skill, according to criteria, most of the time. Some levels may take multiple sessions to complete. Sometimes we move children on although they have not mastered 100% of the skills. We do this when a gymnast is working on higher level skills in most areas and not missing key skills. Examples of key skills are: rolls, handstands, and cartwheels.
What happens when a gymnast finishes all of the levels?
Gymnasts who pass all of CanGym or CanJump earn a special recognition award from the Alberta Gymnastics Federation. “Top Bananas” can continue training and progressing with the advanced groups, according to an individualized program. The program is created with input from the coach and the gymnast.
My child is not progressing. Help!
Maybe they are progressing, but not in a way that you or they understand. Talk to the coach.
My child has been stuck at the same level for a long time. Help!
Gymnasts like to improve and to feel that they are working with purpose. Striving for skills is motivating! So what happens when mastering new skills slows down?
There are a couple things that can restore excitement and progress:
1) Talk to the coach and come up with a plan. Sometimes a new focus, or extra practice, or fitness training outside of the gym can make a big difference.
2) Change programs for a new set of challenges. For example, if your child is in CanGym they can switch to a CanJump or Freeestyle class.
7. Participation Concerns
My child has decided that they do not like gymnastics. Help!
Try to find out what is bothering your child and bring it up with the coach. It could be that your child does like gymnastics but is not voicing specific concerns. It might be that the activities are too hard, too easy, or too scary. Perhaps your child cannot get used to working with a new coach. All of these things can be fixed. Change can help, especially if your child used to like gymnastics:
- Another Edge program might be inspiring. For example, gymnasts often move between our CanGym, CanJump, Freestyle, and Handsprings and Flips classes.
- Another coach might make the difference.
- If your child isn’t feeling challenged enough, talk to your coach. It is important for a coach to know when things are too easy and it might be useful for your child to have an assessment for a higher level or a different kind of class that suits them better.
- Your child may need a break from gymnastics, and will happily participate at a future date.
I am not happy with my child’s coach. Help!
One of our missions at the Airdrie Edge is to develop great coaches! Feedback from participants and their parents is one of the ways that coaches can learn to be more effective.
We understand that it can be difficult to speak to your child’s coach if you are not happy. We recommend that you speak to the coach first. However, you can also contact the Program Head Coach, by email or through the front office, to schedule a meeting if required.
Sometimes a change of coaches is possible, depending on class availability at different days and times.
My child is bored. Help!
Gymnastics is meant to be fun, engaging, and challenging. If your child feels bored in class, the more information we have the better. If your child does not like gymnastics in the first place, it can just feel like a lot of work, or perhaps there is something very specific affecting their attitude, such as not being challenged enough. Try to find out what is bothering your child and bring it up with the coach so we can make gymnastics as fun as possible!
My child is getting injured all of the time. Help!
Children are in at a rapid social, physical, and cognitive developmental stage, and not everyone develops at the same rate. Their mind may not fully connect to what their body is doing. They may not be paying attention to instructions. They may get distracted in the middle of a skill. They may be overtired. They may not have the physical strength it takes to perform skills they used to do easily because they are growing so fast. Talk to the coach or the Program Head Coach and we may be able to come up with some ideas.
There is a bully in my child’s class. Help!
Bullying is not acceptable. Please speak to any of the Airdrie Edge staff rather than confront the child or their parents directly. If it is happening in front of you and needs to be stopped, any staff member can help you.
What about disabilities, developmental delays, behavioral, and physical challenges?
It is very much a part of gymnastics for coaches to adapt and accommodate to individual differences. And we are happy to do it!
It is definitely important to inform us before classes start if your child needs accommodation. Please contact the Program Head Coach by email or through the front office.
We advise that if your child has an aide at school, they should also have an aide in gymnastics class. Sometimes it works to have a parent on standby at the side of the gym. This needs to be arranged in advance so that we are all working with the same goals and expectations.
Some behavioral issues do prevent children from participating in gymnastics classes. Please speak to the Program Head Coach if you would like to discuss whether or not this may be true for your child.
What can my child do at home to benefit their gymnastics?
The best thing that you can do is to promote a healthy lifestyle. Encourage your child to be active, feed them nutritious food, make sure they get enough sleep, and maintain a balance of activities.
Help your gymnast to appreciate their successes, and support the learning to be gained from set-backs or disappointments.
Finally, the number one gymnastics skill to practice at home is the handstand. Remember to make enough room and to use walls, not doors.
8. Illness and Injury
Rips and blisters on bars or rings. What do I do?
A rip: trim the flap of skin off with sharp scissors (do not tear it off). Wash it with soap and water (this will sting). To continue practicing: cover the rip with a sterile dressing (such as a Band-Aid) held in place by sports tape. To help it to heal between practices, cover it with a burn dressing.
A blister: do not pop the blister. To continue practicing, change to support skills rather than swinging skills. If the blister pops during practice, treat it like a rip. When the blister heals after a few days and drains on its own, trim the extra skin with sharp scissors. If the skin under the blister is still raw, treat it like a rip.
My Band-Aids will not stay on. What do I do?
Cover Band-Aids with sports tape for gymnastics practice. If you don’t have any at home, coaches can also do this when the athlete arrives.
Should my child attend if they are ill or injured?
Older gymnasts can usually work through mild upper-respiratory illnesses and headaches. Younger children usually have a harder time working when they are ill. Please do not bring gymnasts with known or suspected contagious illnesses to class.
For injuries it depends on the class, the age of the gymnast, and the severity of the injury. Training can be adapted to accommodate mild injuries.
If a child is not feeling well, or they have a mild injury, be sure to tell the coach at the beginning of practice.
9. Gymnastics Coaches
Who trains coaches?
Our coaches are trained and certified through the National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP).
Who supervises coaches?
It depends on the coach. New coaches are generally under the direct supervision of a senior coach. Day supervisors help all recreational activities run more smoothly and supervise coaches working on that day. More experienced coaches watch each other. Each program has a head coach to make sure this happens.
How can I become a coach?
Talk to the Recreational Head Coach. You will start by volunteering and shadowing classes. It is important to find out if you enjoy coaching, also to receive feedback on whether you are suitable to be a coach. There are then a series of courses to take. The minimum age to volunteer is 12. The minimum age for coaching and taking courses is 15.
How can I contact my child’s coach?
For a quick word, the end of the class is the best time. Just wait at the gate where gymnasts exit and catch the coach’s attention. For a longer talk, you can arrange in advance: email the coach through the Program Head Coach or the front office. We can often arrange for someone to cover a coach’s warm-up so the coach can speak to you.
I have a comment, question, or a concern.
Email the Program Head Coach or the front office. If the matter is urgent, we can pull coaches off the floor to deal with it.