Find an Indianapolis gymnastics program for your child
One of the best-loved Olympic sports, gymnastics offers kids tremendous benefits—including physical fitness, confidence, time management skills and self-discipline—as well as a progression that can keep them motivated and fulfilled as they work toward and master new skills.
How can I get my child involved in gymnastics?
Children can begin participating in gymnastics classes at an early age, generally at 18 months to 3 years. A parent/toddler class is a great place to start. Children at this age work on basic skills, like somersaults, balance and two-footed jumps and have the security (and fun!) of having a parent participating.
From there, athletes work on tumbling skills and learn to perform on apparatus, in anticipation of participating in gymnastics’ events. Girls’ gymnastics encompasses four events—vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise, while boys participate in six events—floor exercise, pommel horse, still rings, vault, parallel bars and horizontal bar. Athletes are expected to learn all events (all events are covered in a class) and if competing, will compete in all events until they reach a certain skill level.
What are competition and noncompetition options?
As in cheerleading and dance, gymnasts have the option of competing or not. Many gyms offer recreational classes for children who want to learn gymnastics skills without the stress and time commitment that competition brings.
For those who want to compete, two competition tracks are available. The Junior Olympic program is the traditional competitive track under USA Gymnastics (USAG), the national governing body for the sport. Junior Olympic athletes progress from level 1 to as high as level 10, with level 10 demanding mastery of the most advanced skills. Gymnasts at levels 1-3 are preparing for competition, while athletes at levels 4-6 compete in compulsories, meaning all participants perform all the same routines and compete in all events. Levels 6-10 are considered “optional” levels, meaning that each gymnast can perform her own routine as long as it includes required elements. In general, Junior Olympic athletes must train a specified number of hours per week (as dictated by their gym/program) and compete in 6-8 competitions per year.
A few years ago, USAG introduced a second competitive program for girls, Xcel. According to USAG, the Xcel program is for gymnasts at “a variety of levels, abilities, ages and commitment levels who want to enjoy all the benefits that gymnastics has to offer while having more flexibility than the Junior Olympic program.” Competition is more relaxed within Xcel, and athletes are grouped into divisions based on age and skill level.
What should I look for in a gymnastics program for my child?
Given the recent sexual abuse revelations within USA Gymnastics, it’s more than understandable that parents would be concerned about the safety of their children, said Debbie Hamby, the owner of Indy Stars in Indianapolis. She advises parents to ask about safety policies and ensure that they’re being adhered to. Background checks on coaches, staff and volunteers are a basic requirement, and Hamby has gone as far as installing video cameras throughout her gym. “Safety should be built into the culture of the gym,” she said.
Hamby’s advice also includes:
- Ask about the staff-to-child ratio. A reasonable ratio will ensure kids get individual attention and aren’t always standing around waiting for their turn.
- Find out how feedback is given. If a child knows that she can mess up and get up and try again, she’ll more likely build confidence in her abilities.
- Find out if observation of classes/practices is allowed. This policy encourages openness and transparency.
- Ask how kids progress. Will they be stuck at a particular level for the entirety of a class, or can they move up once they demonstrate mastery of a skill?
Beth Michalak, the preschool gymnastics director at Interactive Academy in Zionsville, also advises to ask about the number of classes offered, the age limits for classes and the teachers’/coaches’ backgrounds. Observing a class (Is the staff professional? Is feedback constructive? Is the class structured? Are the kids having fun?) will tell a parent a lot. Talk to other parents too to find out what their children like about their program. The time commitment and costs (gym tuition, uniforms and travel all add up) are concerns that parents need to seriously consider as well, Michalak said.
Find a gymnastics club
Indianapolis is home to a variety of gyms and gymnastics clubs. We provide a sample of gyms on the northside and northern suburbs here. You can also find a USA Gymnastics member club near you on the USA Gymnastics website.
9625 E. 150th St., Noblesville | (317) 773-7266
Gymnastics classes offered: Tot classes, girls recreational classes (ages 5 and up), boys recreational classes (ages 5 and up), adults (ages 13 and up). Recreational classes build skills in all Olympic events plus trampoline.
- Girls’ team gymnastics for USAG levels 1-10 (Junior Olympics).
- Girls Xcel team.
- Boys’ team gymnastics for levels 4 and up.
- Non-sanctioned recreational team program for boys.
- Pre-team developmental program for boys looking to compete in the future.
Also offered: Cheer, tumbling, dance, basketball, special needs classes. Child care and camps.
For more information: Go to www.aplusgymnastics.com or call (317) 773-7266.
Dana Mannix Gymnastics
9325 Uptown Dr. Ste. 1000, Indianapolis | (317) 863-0491
Gymnastics classes offered: Preschool and kindergarten (18 months to6 years), school age—varying levels for boys and girls based on skill (6-17 years).
Competition: Pre-team, level 2.
Recreational team: The rec team practices once a week for two hours. Competitions are held three times a year at Dana Mannix Center, and athletes compete against other Dana Mannix Rec Team gymnasts only.
Also offered: Trampoline and tumbling recreational team, ninja, dance, cheer, tumbling. Camps and clinics.
For more information: Go to www.danamannixgymnastics.com or call (317) 863-0491.
Deveau’s School of Gymnastics
9032 Technology Drive, Fishers | (317) 849-7744
Gymnastics classes offered: Preschool (crawling to age 5); girls, levels 2-5 (ages 6 and up); boys, levels 2-3 (ages 6 and up)
- Girls' teams, levels 2-10.
- Xcel team.
- Boys' teams, levels 4-10.
Also offered: Competitive trampoline team, SHOW Team (a unified group of athletes with special needs and typical partners), ninja classes, cheerleading.
For more information: Go to deveaus.com or call (317) 849-7744.
582 Pitt Road, Brownsburg | (317) 858-5805
Gymnastics classes offered: Preschool (walking to age 6); school-age (7 and older)
- Training Team: For girls interested in becoming competitive gymnasts.
- Level 1 – 10 (Junior Olympic) Team
Also offered: Tumbling, ninja, karate.
For more information: Go to www.fusiongym.com or call (317) 858-5805.
Geist Sports Academy
10640 Deme Drive, Indianapolis | (317) 823-7734
Gymnastics classes offered: Preschool (ages 18 months to 4 years); girls school-age gymnastics (ages 5 and up); boys school-age gymnastics (ages 5 and up).
- Girls’ teams: Pre-team; compulsory team (levels 2-6) and optional team (levels 7-10). Teams compete in 8-9 meets per year.
- Boys teams: Compulsory team (levels 4 - 7) and optional team (levels 8 - 10). Teams compete in 8-9 meets per year.
Also offered: Powerfit Warriors, tumbling, homeschool classes.
For more information: Go to www.geistsportsacademy.com or call (317) 823-7734.
1716 Pleasant Street, Noblesville | (317) 776-0866
Gymnastics classes offered: Preschool gymnastics (ages 2.5-5), recreational gymnastics classes (ages 5 years and up), precompetitive program (ages 5 years and up).
Competition: 5.5 years and up.
Also offered: Camps, Ninja Zone, private lessons.
For more information: Go to www.gymnaworld.com or call (317) 776-0866.
8070 Georgetown Road, Indianapolis | (317) 986-5707
Gymnastics classes offered: Preschool (ages 2-5 years); school age (ages 6-18).
- Xcel team.
- Junior Olympic team consists of Little Giants (pre-team), compulsory (levels 2-5) and optional (levels 6-10) gymnasts.
Also offered: Dance, cheer, adaptive gymnastics (including a Special Olympics team). Camps.
For more information: Go to www.indystars.net or call (317) 986-5707.
3795 South U.S. 421, Zionsville | (317) 733-3000
Gymnastics classes offered: Preschool (20 months-5 years); school age (ages 6-16).
- Girls’ Junior Olympic Program (Levels 1-10)
- Girls’ Xcel Team
- Boys’ Team USA Gymnastics (Levels 4-10)
Also offered: Cheer, dance, tumbling, warrior class, swim, camps.
For more information: Go to www.interactiveacademy.com or call (317) 733-3000.
138 West Carmel Drive, Carmel | (317) 587-1503
Gymnastics classes offered: Preschool (18 months to 6 years), school age—varying levels for boys and girls (6 years and up), tumbling (8 years and up).
Competition: Call for information.
Also offered: Cheerleading, camps and clinics.
For more information: Go to www.spectrumgym.com or call (317) 587-1503.
Do you have a favorite gym not mentioned here? Share in the comments below!