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
10. Communications

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. Next, regular attendance is extremely helpful. And finally, success requires working hard and focusing in class even when the coach isn’t directly helping the participant with a skill or technique.

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 participants pick up gymnastics skills and techniques faster than others. We accommodate their fast learning in recreational programs by moving them rapidly through the levels and always challenging participants at the difficulty level they need.

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.

Even if a participant does not want to take gymnastics to a higher level, 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. Parkour athletes need indoor shoes in order to make the best of the hard surface 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 so bare feet tend to be the safest option for gymnastics. (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. Parkour athletes need indoor shoes in order to make the best of the hard surface 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 will not be used 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 (this classes are Parent-Assisted).

Over 24 months to under 4 years:

Early Learners: Tiny Tumblers and Super Springers (These classes are Parent-Assisted).

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, Parkour, and Specialized Classes.

14 years and up:

CanGym, CanJump, Parkour, 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 14+ Adult Drop-In.

3. Program Descriptions

Learn more about our programs here!

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 CanGym 1-2, CanJump 1-2, Parkour 1-2, Blended Gymnastics, Tumbling Only, Circus Arts, or Drop-In.
Gymnasts aged 12 and over with no previous experience: Sign up for CanGym 3-5, CanJump 3-4, Parkour 3-4, Blended Gymnastics, Tumbling Only, Circus Arts, or Drop-In.
• 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?

Contact the front office to book an assessment.

What is an assessment? Can my child have one?

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.

A full assessment lasts 30 – 45 minutes, tumbling assessments last 15 minutes, both are free of charge.

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. What class do I put them in?

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 for a refund. 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 (each year runs from July 1 to June 30) and is not transferable.

5. Questions about Classes

What are the rules in the gym?

  1. Coaches are in charge of what happens in the gym. Listen carefully to their instructions.
  2. Do not try gymnastics skills without permission.
  3. One at a time on the equipment.
  4. Always land on your feet unless you are told otherwise.
  5. Stay with your group.
  6. Stop immediately when you are asked to.
  7. Watch out for other people and for uneven surfaces.
  8. Stay out of the gym and off the equipment unless you are with a coach.
  9. 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.
  10. 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 multilevel 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 similar things 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.
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 Parkour programs. Trampoline is not included as often in the introductory/intermediate CanGym curriculum.
The pit is fun to jump into, but its main purpose is to protect gymnasts who are performing advanced skills.
However, certain warm-ups and basic skills are done to the pit so participants will have a chance to play in the pit at least once per session.

6. Questions about Progress

How do children progress from one level to the next?

Each program is defined by a series of starred skills. To pass from one level to the next, gymnasts need to master the starred skills in the level they are in. Mastery means that they can perform the skill according to criteria with consistency and safety. Coaches then work with athletes to complete their non-starred skills in their level. These skills are also important to the level, but less essential than the starred skills. Some levels may take multiple sessions to complete.

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. These gymnasts 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 has been stuck at the same level for a long time. What can they do to progress further?

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 strength/flexibility training outside of the gym can make a big difference.
2) Change programs for a new set of challenges. For example, if the participant is in CanGym they can switch to a CanJump or Parkour class.

It should be noted that even if a gymnast is not mastering skills frequently, they are still progressing with their coach on drills and progressions for these skills. There are many progressions that are not on our testing sheets, so what looks like a lack of progression can often be because the coach and participant are working on building blocks for future skills. This is especially common in our intermediate and advanced levels. Talk to your coach if you have any questions or concerns about progressing through levels.

7. Participation Concerns

My child is finding they don’t like gymnastics as much as they used to. What can I do?

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, and Parkour classes.
  • 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 so they can bring challenges up to their level. If things are still too easy, 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. What can I do?

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.

There is a bully in my child’s class. What can I do?

Bullying is not acceptable. It is essential that participants are learning in a safe and welcoming learning environment. Please speak to the coach about the issue.

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 the participant needs accommodation. Please contact the Program Head Coach by email or through the front office.
We advise that if the participant 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 the athlete.

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.

If you’d like more gymnastics skills you can do in your home or backyard, check out these At Home Gymnastics Tutorials our coaches made while we were closed due to COVID-19 mandates.

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, use polysporin or liquid vitamin E ointment.
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. Discuss this with your child’s coach.
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. Each program has a head coach to make sure everything in their program runs smoothly.

How can I become a coach?

Contact info@airdrieedge.com to see if coaching is right for you! You will start as a Coach In Training (CIT) 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 be a CIT is 12. The minimum age for coaching and taking courses is 15.

10. Communications

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.