Many gymnasts go under the radar at their high schools due to the fact that a majority of the schools in the United States, excluding the Midwest, do not have a gymnastics team. Why is this the case? The number one reason for this is because of the high costs of the sport in general. Even though high school gymnastics is not popular, Club Gymnastics is rapidly becoming a more sought-after sport.
Monthly Practice Costs for Clubs
High level gymnasts are generally practicing twenty to thirty hours each week; and this is year round. In gymnastics, there is no such thing as an off-season. If a gymnast takes even a week off, they will pay for it later, physically and mentally. Average monthly gym fees are around $400-$800.
So why are these club gyms charging so much each month? To begin with, top of the line gymnastics equipment is not cheap. Let's say that a gym has the very basic equipment, which would be at least two sets of uneven bars, five balance beams, two vaults, and one floor exercise. Add up all of these apparatuses, padding, mats, trampolines, and all other needed accessories and we are easily over $150,000. The equipment needs frequent maintenance and new parts. Of course there is the regular building fees as well; things add up quickly.
Coaches and Trainers
Monthly fees need to cover wages for the coaches, and many gyms have highly qualified coaches training their athletes. Some of them are even former Olympians or NCAA College Gymnastics Champions. If gymnasts want to win, they need to be coached by the best.
The amount of stress that gymnasts puts on their bodies is insane. There are constant visits to athletic trainers, chiropractors, and even doctors for more serious injuries can definitely increase the monthly bill. Several gymnasts attend weekly visits to a mental health specialist as well.
In addition to monthly practice costs, gymnasts who are on a team will have monthly team fees. For example, one gym has a team fee of $1,800 a month, which covers the costs for competition entry fees, judge's fees, and coach's fees. However, this does not include the gymnast's travel costs (hotels, gas, food, flights, etc.). Club gymnastics teams can have five to eight competitions each season, not including if they qualify for regional or national competitions.
Leotards and Grips
Practice leotards range from $30-$60 each, and gymnasts are practicing at least five days per week. Competition leotards can start at $100, but can cost up to $400. Luckily most gyms keep competition leotards for more than one season. Elite gymnasts have multiple competition leotards, however, if you are at this level of gymnastics, you will have sponsors that cover these costs. Gymnastics teams also have competition warm-up leotards with jackets and pants for in between events. All of this can add up to another $300.
Grips, devices worn on gymnast's hands on the uneven bars apparatus, are a necessity for any gymnast who wants to serious swinging. These cost $70-$100 and some gymnasts need these replaces every few months.
If you are a college bound gymnast, then attending a summer camp should be a top priority. Some of the most popular camps, like Woodward, can be very costly, starting at $1,400 per week. College camps are generally not a full week and cost less, beginning at around $600. It is common for parents to send their gymnasts to multiple camps each summer, especially if athletes are looking at different colleges.
High Cost, High Reward
Despite all of these costs, if a gymnast is able to make it to Level 10 or Elite, they will most likely earn a full-ride Division I scholarship. The long, and expensive, journey will be worth it when an athlete is able to achieve their goals.