Desert Devils Gymnastics: My Daughter’s Trial
This summer we visited Desert Devils Gymnastics. My daughter has been in gymnastics for two years, and although we liked the people at her gym, we weren’t exactly thrilled with the lack of progress that she was making. After we finished our trial at Desert Devils, we were not exactly impressed. I had some safety concerns with some of the practices of the gym, and noticed that some of the equipment seemed to be poorly maintained. Although Desert Devils may have trained quite a few accomplished gymnasts, the poor safety practices that we noticed caused me and my husband to enroll my child in a different gym.
Vaulting Next to a Cement Floor
My daughter’s teacher seemed nice enough. Her class went through a normal warm-up routine as expected. When it was time for her class to practice vaulting, I had my first concern. The class was supposed to run onto a vault, and the teacher would help them flip over onto a high mat. The mat configuration was a large mat with a small mat, about six inches thick, placed over it. The smaller mat stuck out over the edge of the large mat by several inches. A cement floor was next to the mats. I was concerned that the top mat could slip a little, or that the child could miss the mat, and land on the cement floor. It didn’t look incredibly safe to me. At most gyms that I have been to, there would be a padded mat or spring floor next to the vault mat for them to land on.
Swinging Over Other Children
Towards the end of the class, the girls went through an obstacle course. At the end of the obstacle course were monkey bars that the children would swing across to the other side. When they finished, they would jump into a pit of foam blocks, underneath the next child that was swinging on the monkey bars. I was concerned that if a child lost their grip while swinging on the monkey bars, they could land on another gymnast, and they both would get hurt.
Poorly Maintained Equipment
My final concern with the Desert Devils Gym was with the condition of some of the equipment. The monkey bars that the gymnasts were swinging on were painted. The paint was chipping. My daughter ripped the skin on her palm while she was swinging across the monkey bars. While this would not generally be a concern in itself (lots of gymnasts get rips in their palms like this at times), my concern was that blue paint was embedded into her torn skin. The condition of the bars could have caused her skin to tear.
Other Notes about the Gym
Desert Devils seems like a very popular gym. In addition to gymnastics, they also have skateboarding and cheer programs. The parents can wait along a long counter while their children are practicing; there are no chairs along this counter (I believe there may be an upstairs viewing room as well). There is also a preschool area. While they may or may not have a great training program, my number one concern with my daughter is safety. Gymnastics can be dangerous enough without taking reasonable precautions.
Overall, I don’t recommend this gym and plan on shopping around elsewhere.