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Changing Programs: Is it Worth It?

Changing Programs: Is it Worth It?

Many people wouldn’t think twice about switching gyms or programs, but “gym-hopping” has become a big issue within the All Star Cheer community. Both parents and athletes should consider several things before making any decision to move. While some circumstances force a tough decision, the grass really isn’t always greener.

We all know what loyalty means: to show support and allegiance to a brand, program or team.  It is incredibly important. These days, gyms pop up and disappear nearly as fast as they open, so do some research!

If you’ve been a part of a program, think about how long you’ve been there. Chances are, this is where you got your start. Am I right? More than likely that gym owner or a coach is the reason that you have the skills you have. Gym Owners and Coaches spend hours upon hours working with athletes because they believe in you as an athlete.

Have you left a program and went to another before? How many times will you switch programs before you look at yourself in the mirror? The only competition you should be worried about is the one in the mirror.

Think about your brand. Don’t get a reputation of leaving because of a split decision or leaving a gym balance on your account. You’ve worn that logo on your uniform for a while now and you’ve probably altered your wardrobe to your gym colors. You’ve branded yourself as a representative of that team/program so try really hard to consider how much that program means to you before you jump ship.

How established is the program you’re at? Just because a “shiny” new program opened up down the road does not mean that you’re going to be a pointe dancer or flyer. Everyone has dreams and we promise you that your current program has you in the position that’s best for you and your team. They don’t place you on a team or in a position for a negative reason. You earn what you work for!

Are you being recruited? If you answer yes… what are they offering you that your current gym can’t? Have you weighed both options and created a list of pros and cons? What happens when you make the decision to move to a new program and all they wanted was to get you in the door and you’re not getting that individual attention that you were promised? Sit down with your current program owner or coach and let them know your thoughts. It will go a lot further than you think and you’ll probably be happier after a quick chat.

Moving teams because you didn’t make it to Worlds or a bid event this year? If your answer is yes, then ask yourself: “Did I put in every ounce of effort that I could have to motivate myself or our team to be better?” If you can’t say a 100% yes, then more than likely others on your team can’t either. Don’t immediately place blame on your gym or coaches and think that they are the reason YOU weren’t successful. Remember this is a team sport and you have to motivate your teammates to work just as hard as you do. This year’s World Champs didn’t win because of the name on the front of their uniform, they worked hard on and off the mat and put in 110% while you were only putting in 75% and missing practices.

Oh, and don’t forget. There are lots of financial costs associated with moving which means new… everything. Is it worth it?

While we all have our individual reasons for parting ways with anything. Triple check your thoughts before making that major decision. You may regret it. It really would stink to be a part of that team one year, and then get beat by them the next.


About The Author

Shane Womack

Shane Womack is the founder and owner of Cheer Media, the parent company of Cheer! magazine and Shane was an all star and high school cheerleader before becoming a collegiate cheerleader with Louisiana State University where he earned his degree in Business Marketing. Shane is also an elected member of the USASF National Advisory Board.


  1. Mo

    Is it okay to stay in a relationship because that was your first love even if your needs aren’t being met? Do you stay on a job that you dislike where you keep getting overlooked for promotion? Did Beyonce keep her father as her manager? No. Once she was ready to go to another level in her career she changed management. Did Lebron stay on the same team his entire career? No! Was Kobe always on the same team? No! Just like our kids, these are athletes. Those who are the good, know their value and worth, desire the best. And yes, sometimes the best includes winning titles. Just like a football player desires to win the Super Bowl, actors and actresses want to win Oscars, and singers want a Grammy. As a parent I will always teach my child to shoot for the stars, expect the best, and go for what she really wants. That could mean going across town or across the country. Life is limitless and possibilities are endless. We put the limitations on in. Loyalty and obligation are very different. Individuals have choices. Consumers have rights. And we teach these lessons in small and sudle ways, like cheerleading.

    So needless to say. I’m very careful in how I teach my children to be “loyal”. The first person they have to be loyal to is themselves. And that includes their dreams, desires, and going for what they really want. And I teach them the power of choice. An individual and family we get to choose. As a paying consumer, I have the right to have want I desire and I’m not obligated to stay an any situation that, for whatever reason, I no longer want to be there.

  2. Jon

    This is a good topic of discussion for the Cheer world. My wife was a gym owner and it was a small gym maybe 100 kids. But it was like an extended family the parents stayed together in the stands they helped in every aspect when we hosted our own competition’s and sadly my wife had to deal with a bookkeeper who was stealing money from the gym for so long that when it came time to go to a comp in Florida the money was gone. She was able to get help so the kids could go and compete. She was located next to a very large gym with close to 400 kids and the teams we had were beating the “big” gym pretty much all the time. The big gym offered her the sun and moon to merge gyms and my wife did just that. She was completely taken advantage of but her love of the kids and cheerleading kept her there. Things are good now but as far as hopping what people need to understand is that once your kid is placed on a team they are very important to that team. If they are not winning as much as the child likes and they bail out to another gym not only does it teach the kid it’s OK to quit if things don’t go your way, but you are also hurting the team. Cheerlw is not like football or most other sports there are no bench players to fill in so yea there are many reasons to go or stay but there needs to be a rule in place for middle of the season leaving. Unless of course there is a reason that cannot be avoided. I have been married for 8 years and honestly the kids see my wife more than me so there are sacrifices from many more people than the athletes and owners/coaches. And I feel that the biggest problem now is (and this is not directed at every parent,and no offense is meant ) parents bow down to these kids who are ridiculously spoiled and handed everything without having to work hard for anything they get. So when their kid starts thinking she is better than everyone and she’s not they put on a little fit and cry to mommy and daddy and they could care less about the team or gym only about themselves.

  3. Elena

    I’m an athlete that recently moved gyms but I completely agree with this article! In my years cheering I have seen many athletes leave because they want to win however this is not always the case. Myself and 2 other friends moved from the gym we were at due to the coach bullying, unsafe practices, irresponsible coaching (going on phones and not spotting tumbling ect) as well as many other serious issues. Even with all of the safety issues and the irresponsible coaches I was very careful in making my decision, I made a pros and cons sheet, I talked to my parents and waited 4 months to ensure that’s what I wanted (as well as I didn’t want to leave mid season). While it was an incredibly hard decision to make it was one of the best decisions I have made, my new gym is extremely supportive and always ensures the safety of athletes. I do agree that people move gyms like they replace their nfinitys but in some cases it is a very necessary decision in ensuring your happiness as a cheerleader.

  4. DaMom

    The grass was greener on the other side! And it was worth having to fly her across state for every practice. We love her gym and her coaches. They truly love the sport and teach the kids how to be better athletes and better people.

  5. CJ

    I honestly think this article pertains to all those “cheerlebrities” who are hopping gym every season because they’re being offered world championships, center spots, and advertisement. Instead of sticking and working hard to help t he or program grow they go half way across the country act like their shit don’t stink and look at those home grown athletes as fillers to so and so team. The all star cheer world has gone from a fun compete team activity to a cut throat stressful back stabbing egotistical activitu. It’s crazy.

  6. Cheermam

    Loyalty is a two way street. Coaches have to be loyal to their athletes and listen to their concerns and well as concerns from their parents. Making an athlete feel they are important to a program and truly interested in their growth and development in the sport goes a long way. Ignoring them and not developing their skills is a quick way to lose business. Coaches and gym owners who play favorites and have their “A” list doesn’t sit well with me as a parent whether I’m on that list or not. There should be the argument made from both sides of the coin. Some gyms don’t take very good care of their customers.

  7. happy

    my daughter cheered for 7 years at a gym. She lived and breathed that gym. She was loyal and that gym verbally abused her and pushed her from point flyer to the back for a new girl that had worse leg positions and left after one year. Loyalty has to go both ways im sorry. My daughter was being held back on level 2 teams while all her friends were moving up even tho my daughters technique was better. Theirs was jacked. She went from a kid who lived and breathed cheer to hating it and quoting. After 8 months she stepped back into another gym just to tumble cause she missed it and she was asked to join a level 4 team because she had an amazing layout. She cheered level 3 following year and won UCA took a year off after that for HS competitive cheer. By mid all star season someone got hurt. They asked my kid to step in for a certain amount of time. We agreed and spent crazy money to travel to out of state competitions. The girl was ready to come back but coaches thought she wasn’t ready so they called my kid back in only to get a phone call from the owner that she won’t be needed that the other girl is coming back. Fine but the other girl was not ready and the coach that called my daughter to come back was the owners daughter. Was it fair or loyal to either girl to have them both at the same practice. So yes we left and went to another gym and my daughter learned 2 routines in 1 week and competed 2 routines that Saturday. Got 1 first and 1 second. That gym fell apart so we r at another gym and that is where she will stay. They are the most professional and most organized and well coached gym we have been to. R there better I’m sure but they are a good overall for. So the term “gym hopping” is not always a negative thing. If u have kids who are elite level 5 cheerleaders why should they have to stay at a gym where the coach and owners care only about their talent and expect those 1-2 kids to carry an entire team of misfits. The coaching is subpar to say the least. R u saying that those kids should stay there and be loyal to a gym that doesn’t care enough to build talent around them and uses them for recruiting lower level athletes. How is that being loyal to the cheerleader and y shouldn’t that kid go and have a better opportunity to better themselves in a sport they love instead of being stuck in a program the Is Beneath their skill level. The term g”gym hopping ” goes a lot deeper than ur article. This is a totally biased article from the gym owners perspective. If they taught the kids right and treated them right and actually tried building a QUALITY program kids would not leave!!!!

  8. paula Griggs

    I agree, but there are always many many reasons for leaving where you got your start! End the end you have to do what is best for your athlete, emotionally, physically, goals … I believe change is good. It makes the gyms value their athletes more and if you have lots of athletes leaving whether they no longer cheer or go to another gym ( the gyms need to look at their role they played in the athlete and parents decision to leave)
    From a parent that has had to make this very tough call ). Best decision I made for my daughter and myself!! Missouri City Tx

  9. Milo808

    The author has 20 years of advice from being in the industry. My daughter is 11 and has been cheering for 8. The only reason why she left her original gym is because the owner decided to retire and she’s been with her gym now since then. A lot of what the author said has much valid weight as to what has been been happening in the island that I live in. The bottom line is that you as the parent must know which program is right for your child and at the same time your child is learning the competitive skills and life skills to allow them to be well-rounded. Some of those skills are loyalty, responsibility, being a team player and accountability. A lot of these qualities are passed on from the child’s guardian and life coaches. I believe these are on point to which the author is trying to communicate. Great read and something for everyone to analyze for their situations.

  10. Cheermom

    As an adult, if my son or daughter is not happy at a program the best choice is to leave. Cheerleading is an extracurricular activity just like any of sport that requires positivity, commitment and most importantly fun. I am not paying thousands of dollars a year for my child to be miserable. leaving a gym is not being inloyal and if a coach feels that way think about all the athletes in your program and ask yourself how many of them actually started at your program? Chances are next to none.

  11. Trish

    This article is purely made by a coaches point of view. they’re many reasons why someone leaves their original gym and most chances are no one stays at the gym they originally started at. Sometimes gyms don’t offer what you want or simply are not a big fan of the people there. So sick of coaches taking it to heart when someone leaves. I hate when coaches talk behind a child’s back because of their decision. If your program is successful there is no reason why they should worry about a child leaving. Be proud of them regardless of their choice. If you did get them their skills that they have be happy that, that athlete can say they have gotten their skills from your program

  12. Hoppedalong

    I have moved my daughter to a new cheer gym this year. She has only been with this team for only a month and has not only learned new skills but also has had more confidence than she did at her old gym. The coaches she had before did not know how to coach and would sometimes bully kids which is unacceptable as far as I am concerned. Our decision was not based on the team being a winning team but was more based on how they coach and if they willing able to teach cheerleaders new skills and instil confidence. I have noticed that some of the small town teams have coaches that really do not care about all the cheerleaders. I see some are only in it because they want to make their own kid a star and want to live through their own child. I see some cheer parents are the same way. It all comes down to if your child is, having fun , happy, and being challenged.

  13. cindy

    There are many reasons for leaving a gym and for returning. A gym is a business and does what’s in its best interest. Perhaps the teams they field are not the best fit for a child, and if you have more than one child, are there appropriate teams for all of them. What are the amount, days, and times of practice, and again if more than one child, are their practice days on the same or different days? What’s included? Do they have to pay extra for tumbling and/or stunting to work on skills? Some places yes, some no. Will new kids or kids paying for extra privates be given preferential treatment over kids working hard in regular practices? If privates aren’t in your budget or time constraints, then somewhere else is probably best. Is there team fairly secure or will new kids coming in late in the season be able to bump kids that have been there all season or for years or will there even be a team after everyone has decided what’s best for their family? Is there blatant favoritism? Are the kids treated fairly? Is loyalty one sided? Are the coaches appropriate for the kids, coaching style, personality etc.? Does the staff genuinely like the kids and their family or are they just cashing the check? Is the competition schedule reasonable or will you have to spend much more on travel than the actual cheer costs? Is everyone there for the right reasons? Are your kids and family happy? If not, it’s a lot of money and time to dedicate to something that’s not working. Most put a lot of thought into whether to change gyms or not. It’s all about what right for your kids and family. What worked last season may not work this season. If you make someone uncomfortable for going elsewhere, you may very well lose a future customer and that doesn’t make good business sense. Like any other business, you have the right to take your family and money wherever suits you best just as a gym has the right to set their competition schedule, fees, teams, positions, and coaches.

  14. mom of 3 cheerleaders

    If you have valid reasons for leaving, fine – leave….but don’t keep trying to stir up drama and/or take half the other kids with you. I supported a friend’s decision to leave, and yet she can’t seem to support my kids’ decisions to stay where they were, continued bashing our gym around town, tried to recruit other athletes from our gym to leave and or spread stories that I supposedly told her. If you decide to leave and have valid reasons for leaving, respect the people you started with by saying, we have outgrown this place, or whatever your reasons are, and go with dignity. teach your kids the right way to move on.

  15. Foxytwinmom

    Gyms have it twisted. As a parent it is my right and my duty to find the right gym for MY child. I agree some parents “hop” around to find the “winning” gym, but the majority of parents and athletes that choose to make a change do so for the betterment of the athlete. I pay for a service and if I feel that it can be accomplished better somewhere else, than it would be ludicrous to stay just because. After 5 years, we as a family decided we may need to make a change. It was not an easy decision but we knew it was for the best. Our former gym actually helped in the decision-making because they began a smear campaign regarding our loyalty for just looking to see if there were other options. What they didn’t realize, it was my daughter who suggested we look because she felt that although her friends were at the current gym, in order for her to grow as an athlete and to accomplish her future goal as a gym owner she needed to be in a different environment. The gym we chose to move to has turned out to be the best decision. We grew more in one year than we had in five. I thank the former gym for beginning our journey, but sometimes to advance physically and emotionally you have to make a change.

  16. Terry

    This is so true

  17. Cheer Guy

    On a side note though… If you are a gym owner and you have a kid that decides to leave, you need to wish them luck, and then move on, and not talk crap about those kids to other coaches and other kids. Nothing pissed me off more as a coach than listening to other coaches bash kids for leaving.

    • PositiveCheerMom

      Amen Cheer Guy!

    • keke

      Yessss!! I wish the bashing would stop!! Soo unprofessional!!

  18. Sally

    There are other reasons for leaving then those in this article. What if your last team cheated (had girls too old for team) just to try to win. What are they teaching the girls?

  19. NoDramaMama

    I don’t know where y’all are at but where we are there are mega-gyms that openly recruit kids. They have older athletes and/or coaches watch teams & approach the stand-outs (last pass tumblers, center point flyers, etc). It’s frustrating and maddening because they promise the kids & parents the world but very rarely deliver. Then the parents are embarrassed because they usually make a big production bragging about how THEIR kid was recruited so they don’t come back.

    USASF needs to step up and create a way for this to stop happening during a season. Like once July starts you’re locked in at the gym you’re at unless your current gym owner is willing to release you. And then an appeals board for disputes if your athlete should be released but isn’t (you’d have to provide a compelling reason for leaving mid-season). This would keep the gym-hopping to the tryout season which would be fine. Once you’ve finished your season & paid your bill you’re done & can move on if you choose.

    • AbracaDeborah

      Ummmm hello – You can’t do that. Learn a little bit about capitalism – doesn’t work your way. You cannot lock a customer into a relationship and they are forbidden from leaving that relationship. Contractual agreements only work in some states unilaterally and while some gyms can impose fees and fines for breaking a contract no gym owner in their right mind would ever do that…. Unless they are stupid and have no business experience

      This whole article is clearly written by someone who has very little strategic or business acumen. You want loyalty then learn customer service and value. Like a restaurant or soft-goods (clothing ) retailer you only EARN business from paying customers. It’s our choice to stay… Not your choice to lock us in.

      • TUGymMom

        So agree! Loyalty should be earned through good customer service & building honest, respectful relationships with the athletes and their parents. Some athletes just do not fit into your program, wish them well and move on! Bullying tactics and making them feel guilty for even considering a change just shows people you need to grow up!

      • Consumer_and_cheer_parent

        @Shane – the title of you article is attention grabbing but misleading in my opinion. Just as people have commented negatively to your article there are those you have commented positively too when they have also made incorrect assumptions. As a consumer I am not buying Loyalty from a gym nor would I expect gyms are selling it as a product. Every consumer has the right to evaluate their choices at their own discretion, just as I’m sure you wouldn’t want to be told how to run your gym. I would have preferred to have read an article that comes from a positive viewpoint of recommending to consumers what to look for in a gym and to consider what is best for the athlete and family. I think you article does that to a degree but it leads with the negative aspect of “gym hopping”. Gyms will be much more successful if they have a respected image where customers are the priority – after all cheerleading is really a business.

      • NoDramaMama

        Ummmmmmm….hello – you CAN do that. Learn a little about contract law. And my point is that gyms that recruit athletes in the middle of a season are a problem. Once the season ends it is fair game as to where you take your athlete (and really, I think for the first couple of months it should be open-door while you learn what the gym is about), but I’ve seen teams obliterated by gyms that promise the moon (which they don’t deliver but by then the damage to the first gym is done). It’s wrong to break your contract with a gym simply because you think you’re going to get a better deal. It’s not teaching kids anything worthwhile to walk out on a team 6 months in to a season because they think another gym is giving them a sweeter spot.

        I’m not saying athletes couldn’t move ever, just not mid-season without a valid reason (and some of the reasons mentioned here such as cheating, bullying or even not offering an appropriate level team for your athlete are perfectly valid reasons). I’m just sick to death of parents and kids who walk out and never realize the consequences their decision has on the team (and gym) they committed to. You can provide all the customer service in the world but you can’t fight empty promises & pie-in-the-sky dreams.

        And for the record, my kids have changed gyms – twice (once for a much closer location and once because we felt that the gym we were at just wasn’t a good fit for us as a family). But we finished out our seasons, paid our bill in full and said thank you for the experience. 🙂

  20. Jennifer

    Loyalty is a interesting word. How many of us transfer our kids to a better high school because the current one is t offering what’s best for your child? How many of us buy a new car every few years and change the name or model because we tried the one and it didn’t work best for us?
    You should be loyal to your friends and your family!! A gym’s loyalty is tricky! How loyal are gym owners? You can be on that level 5 team and do well be a important asset to your team and gym. As soon as someone else comes to your gym and can do better a gym owner doesn’t think twice to kick a child off a team if someone else comes in with better skills. So let me ask you, a new gym with better choreography, bigger better competitions then your gym goes to, even a closer drive from your home or better practice days that work better for your family, is that really not being loyal? Every situation is different. It’s part of the business, what it comes down to is your not happy with what your paying for, it’s your right to change. Gym owners need to get over it and stop whining about it.

  21. Stephanie

    My daughter started cheer at 7, she started on a level 2 team. The coaches called her pathetic and convinced her she was the worst cheerleader they had ever worked with. We stayed at the gym for 5 years, trying to be loyal. She worked hard and got complements from other gyms. She learned new skills. Finally after making a tough decision, we moved to a new gym. The old gym assured us she would be a failure. She is now on a level 3 team and aspiring to do more. If we had moved years ago, who knows where she would be. Being loyal sometimes holds a child back. Children need to be pushed and need room to grow!

    • Hoppedalong

      Stephanie, if those coaches said that to your child then they have no business coaching children period! That is bullying!

  22. Cheer Mama

    This article is completely one sided.

    Sometimes changing gyms in the best thing you can do for your child. You have to make the best choice for your child.

    “How established is the program you’re at? Just because a “shiny” new program opened up down the road does not mean that you’re going to be a pointe dancer or flyer. Everyone has dreams and we promise you that your current program has you in the position that’s best for you and your team. They don’t place you on a team or in a position for a negative reason. You earn what you work for!”

    This statement is not always true. Sometimes the gym doesn’t have your child in the position that is best for your child. Sometimes the gym doesn’t treat everyone the same. Sometimes your child can be the hardest worker there and it just doesn’t get recognized.

    • Marnie

      Yes! We are on the same page Cheer Mama

    • PositiveCheerMom


    • Lynette

      Cheer Mama, true it started off one sided but the view of us payees is what matters most. If a gym has medals and jackets then that means they must be doin something right under there skills lvl and the athletes determination. Several squads in a gym has jackets not just one particular team, meaning we not chasing the name we’re chasing the techniques they have to offer!

  23. Karen

    Loyalty IS a life lesson! Make the relationship work! Jumping gyms teaches the wrong message. We are in this for our children, not for wins or world bids.

    • Cheer Mama

      What if the gym is not treating your child nicely? What if you are paying thousands of dollars to a gym that isn’t paying attention to your child? If the gym is not loyal to the athlete, the athlete owes no loyalty toward the gym.

      • Marnie


    • Cheer Guy

      What if your kid has the goal to get a world bit and compete at worlds? What if they bust their butt to get the skills, but the gym they are at has no shot?

      • PositiveCheerMom

        Exactly…just because you leave doesn’t mean you can’t still be loyal to the people that are your friends and cheer them on. There are some programs that just aren’t as good in one area, and if that is the area you want to succeed in, why would you stay? I want my child to learn that in real life you don’t get an award for “participating” you have to work to achieve your goals – if you don’t want to compete to win, then why would you want to do competitive cheer at all?

    • Lynette

      Your right we are in this for the kids. We have to do whats best if you are looking at this program to help advance them in the future. Therefore I’m not goin to stay on a team because this is where we started but because I feel its helping her. Now if shes not growing in her skills and the coaches are not putting in the efforts, what else is there to do.

  24. Mom4Life

    Let’s remember- those same gyms that preach loyalty and bully the cheerleaders who do want to move on are the same gyms who are thrilled with excitement at tryouts when they get cheerleaders too from other gyms. It is all in how you handle yourself when you do leave! Wishing everyone the best!

  25. Karen

    I think there are valid reasons for anyone to leave a gym. Just do it right. Show respect to the people that gave you and your child respect. Part of this sport is learning how to be in a relationship , teach our children the correct way to move on.

  26. Lynette

    There are many assumptions as to why one may leave a gym but that only shows poor SPORTSMANSHIP towards the next gym that gained that athlete. Do you show favoritism? Do you have the patience for the level you are teaching? Do you have the ability to teach the athletes the skills they need? You have to observe within before pointing out flaws as to why one or several may tend to leave.

    • Cheer Mama

      Totally agree.

  27. fee

    Don’t kid yourself, there is drama and overbearing parents at every gym.

    • Marnie

      Agree but when a gym owner is the main culprit it’s just a bad message v

      • Sarah

        Of course there are going to be overbearing dramatic parents at every gym, but it’s easy to just walk away from them. When the owner is a bully that is a huge issue. Some parents may not care if their child is treated poorly but for me it’s just not ok.

  28. Marnie

    What if the gym is full of drama and lies? There is a side to every story. As parents, we do what is best for our children. Period

    • Sarah

      So true Marnie

  29. Kristen Ryals

    Amen! Just because the program you move to won worlds the year before doesn’t mean they will win it again when your on the team. Loyalty really should mean something.

  30. Cheer Guy

    While I do agree, they’re are also still good reasons to leave. Just because you got your start at a gym doesn’t mean you should stay. I know gyms that will teach fulls when the athletes doesn’t even have a solid layout just because that gym wants a level 5 team. So them you end up with a level 5 team that loses every competition. Although on the flip side you definitely get athletes that have no business on a level 5 team but think they should be.

    • Marnie

      Agree. Athletes can outgrow a gym. I just wish gym owners would understand and wish them luck instead of calling a mere 6 year old child unloyal.

      • Dee

        Unless a gym has no intentions of offering a team past level 1 (which is very rare) how does a 6-year old out grow a gym?

      • Marnie

        She’s a level 3 cheerleader. They are not offering anything over lvl 2 for youth.

      • fee

        I can’t imagine having my 6 year old daughter on a level 3 team. There is a reason Mini 3 does not exist as a USASF division. Cudos to your daughter for working hard to get those level 3 skills, but I question just how well rounded of a level 3 athlete she truly is.

      • Kari Hooker

        My daughter is 7 years old with level 4 tumbling. I am a gym owner and she is on a mini level 2 team. It’s more to it than just tumbling! She would not be able to do level 3 let alone level 4 stunts. We as coaches place children where they are best fit. For the athlete, team, and the program. This is the problem with the cheer industry. Some Parents and athletes “think” they are so knowledgable with how the industry works with levels and so on…Those are the ones that are so damaging. True knowledge is key!! Don’t just assume the coach is doing it because they are trying to hold your child back, trust me they aren’t . That is when you talk to the gym owner/coach about your concerns. Remember we are all trying to build a business and a program. Also, understand the coaches have every child to worry about. You are just thinking about yours, I get it…I am a parent as well as a coach. I have my child placed for her to grow as an athlete.

      • Cheer Guy

        By staying at a gym that doesn’t have good coaches. Or staying at a gym in which “getting a skill” is more important than doing the skill correctly. Unfortunately some gyms would rather you have a jacked, low layout that more resembles a whip than actually spend time with the athlete on improving the set in the tuck. But hey! They a throwing a layout! Right?!
        If you would rather have a lvl 4 team with jacked layouts instead of a lvl 3 team with solid tucks, then you will have athletes outgrow your gym.

    • cheermama

      Amen! Sometimes a gym owner gets too big for his britches and puts together a team that is doomed from the start because they aren’t level 5 athletes. Then there’s favoritism, the “squeaky wheel” moms who get whatever they want because they won’t be quiet until they do, and the boys who are given the world on a platter because every gym is dying to get boys.

      • callallday

        I can really relate to you cheermama. We had many girls on two level 5 teams with no ability to be there. Coaches and owner stressed the girls out.
        Owner think her poop don’t stink.

    • Felecia

      Loyalty?? What loyalty does the gym have towards the athlete? The gym does what’s best for the gym and not always has the athletes needs in mind. Let’s see how loyal a gym is if your monthly tuition is a little late. The industry has gotten greedy. As a parent I pay a lot of money for my cheerleader to learn life skills as well as cheer skills and if you have a gym that you do not fit well with then it is time to move on. I don’t believe I owe my hard earned money to anyone and if I am paying for it I want to feel good about the program and the morality of that program.

      • Cheer Mama

        AMEN Feleica. I am paying them. They are working for ME! If they aren’t doing what is best for my child…it is time to MOVE ON!

      • Lynette

        Thats right, our loyalty comes with our kids getting the proper skills. Lvl 1 teams should be perfecting those skills while at the same time working on lvl 2 skills. Otherwise how will they ever advance.

      • PositiveCheerMom

        So in agreement with you! If this was recreational cheer its one thing, but these all-star cheer programs are running a business and last I checked I am the paying customer (paying alot I might add). Plus how do you know your program is the best if you haven’t taken the time to compare and review the other programs around you. Most of us go to program physically closest to us, doesn’t mean its the best one. I’m sure there are some “hoppers” but moving to a different program that you believe will grow your child better (and your child also wants to move to) is not a bad thing. And as I’ve always learned in sales…..if the only thing you can do is talk negative about your competition, then you must not have a very strong product yourself.

      • Mzgingerflowers

        Amen! There is zero loyalty in our previous gym. Made the move this season and could not be happier!

      • Moni

        My sentiments exactly

    • gymgurl

      I Agree with you. We didn’t switch gyms, we left the sport after the season for exactly the reason you stated here. While my girl was giving it all she had, practicing over 16 hours a week with three teams, the coaches did nothing to encourage her and keep her safe. Just pushed her to try skills that she wasn’t ready to do independently. Then would degrade and belittle her when she wouldn’t do it. In the end, it was the complete lack of common sense and attempting to put a seriously injured athlete on them pot at summit that took the cake. There are reasons to stay, but there are definitely reasons one should leave as well.

    • Miss Lady


    • davelerman

      Agreed!!! Well said, Cheer Guy!

  31. Heidi

    Great article and so appropriate for what’s happening all around our industry!

  32. russell

    This describes what is happening gym in my area. thank you for posting!


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