One of my favorite TV shows is Extreme Home Makeover, but now every time I see the show, it makes me think of how many gymnastics gyms need a makeover. On the TV show, they tear down the present house and rebuild, and we understand that is not a possibility for most gyms. But there are many things a gym owner can, and should do, to makeover their gym into an bright, attractive, well-designed facility that gymnasts will be comfortable in and that parents will be proud to take their children to.
Every Gym Needs a Good Interior Designer
We all understand the economic reasons that so many gyms are in warehouse buildings, but you are running a business that is supposed to be catering to children and your facility should reflect that. Your gym should look like a professional training facility for young children and show an appropriate and unified interior building design. While professional interior designers may be out of the price range of gym owners, there are many ways to make radical design improvements in the look of a gym. One of my personal favorites is a gym, which bought, and dyed, inexpensive bed sheets red and blue, and covered all of the ratty, torn white insulation on their upper gym walls. The expense was only a few hundred dollars and provided a complete transformation in the look of the gym.
Junk Causes stress
One of the worst problems in the sport, as far as gym appearance goes, is that so many gyms look junky. There is stuff everywhere, and everything is stored out in the open, with little to no organization. The junk ranges from preschool toys scattered everywhere or piled up in a corner, to old gymnastics equipment just sitting around in various stages of disrepair. The overall effect is one of junk and junk causes stress. A junky environment is not a relaxed and tranquil environment or suitable for a professional gymnastics training facility.
A Place for Everything and Everything In Its Place
One of the most important lessons, I learned as a gym owner, is that there needs to be a storage area to put everything stored in the gym, out of site. You need to so this, not only because it is a sign of good organization, but because the it improves the environment, in which your young gymnasts spend so much of their time. An organized gym is a sign and a symbol to parents, that your program is likely to be organized as well (and vice versa). Storage areas should fit in with the design of the gym, in addition to just being hidden. And throwing everything up on top of the bathrooms may get it out of sight for the parents in the parents area, but your gymnasts and coaches have to look at that junk all the time. At the very least, put up a wall that hides the pile of junk.
Let There Be Light
There are numerous scientific studies that show that a bright work environment (your gymnasts are working, right?) leads to greater happiness and greater productivity. Those are both things that you want your gymnasts to be. Whatever needs to be done, to get the lighting bright in your gym, is something you should be doing. There is also a safety factor to sufficient lighting.
Gyms Should be Colorful
Young children, and therefore young gymnasts respond better to a colorful environment. There are many ways to add bright color to the design of your gym, from new paint, to bright banners, to state and national flags, etc. The mats you buy should be colorful. While the all pink gym (yes, walls, mats, carpets, everything) is a little beyond my personal taste, I much prefer it to a dingy, gray, industrial look.
Cleanliness is Next to…
Gymnastics is not an inexpensive sport for parents. Parents must have a certain amount of disposable income for their children even to be able to participate in the sport at any level. One of the things that makes parents comfortable, about a place they drop off their kids, is if that place is comparable to their own home, in terms of organization, cleanliness and design. It is difficult for parents to have any respect for a gym business, regardless of the gymnastics team success (or lack of it), if that gym is dirty, disorganized and basically ugly. No one can feel good about dropping their kid off every day to some junky, ugly, dirty gym. Parents want to have pride in the programs their children participate in, and both the gymnasts and parents deserve that.
Would You Want to Bring Your Child To your Gym?
Tomorrow, when you go to your gym, as soon as you are within eyesight of your building, take a look at it with a “parent’s” eye. See what your gym looks like to them as they drive up. What does it look like when they walk in? How clean does the gym look (and how clean is it really)? Does your gym look like it is a great place for kids to be? Is your gym, bright, cheerful and colorful? Does it look like a happy environment? And if you were a parent with a young child, would you want your kids to come to your gym?