Planning and hosting gymnastics meets can be a daunting task, but there are some simple ways to alleviate the stress and ensure a successful event. First and foremost, start by creating a detailed checklist outlining all the necessary tasks and deadlines. This will help you stay organized and keep track of your progress. Additionally, it's essential to communicate effectively with all parties involved, including coaches, families, and volunteers. Clear and timely communication will help avoid any confusion or last-minute changes. Furthermore, consider delegating tasks to a reliable team of volunteers who can assist with various responsibilities such as registration, scorekeeping, and equipment setup. Lastly, don't forget to create a welcoming and comfortable atmosphere for both participants and spectators by arranging ample seating, concessions, and appropriate signage. By following these easy steps, you can take the stress out of planning and ensure a smooth and enjoyable gymnastics meet for all involved.
Reasons to Host Gymnastics Invitationals
- Benefits the athletes in your community
- Opportunity to network with other clubs
- Provide a positive experience for all USA Gymnastics members
- Hosting state and regional competitions is a way to support your state and region
- Fundraiser for your program
- It’s fun!
What is a Gymnastics Invitational?
An invitational meet is held during the regular season. Check with your state to see if there is a calendar for assigning host meet weekends or a way to get on your state's calendar sent to clubs. It is also important to check what fees are associated with hosting a meet in your state. Work with other clubs to secure a weekend that will be well-attended by your state and region. Don't forget to decide what your unique theme will be!
Considerations for Invitationals
There are many factors to consider when planning your gymnastics invitational.
- In Gym or Off Site?
- Set up / Meet Format
- Traffic flow
- Space between sessions
- Seating for judges and athletes
Additionally, pay attention to requirements that are enforced by USA Gymnastics, such as hiring appropriate vendors, photographers, and medical staff. In addition, it is important to comply with SafeSport policies and post SafeSport signage throughout the facility.
Picking the Right Venue for Your Gymnastics Meet
As a general rule of thumb, work to keep your rent expenses at 25% or less of your total estimated revenue. This will allow enough income to pay judges and provide a great experience for athletes while still bringing in some extra funds for an equipment splurge!
During your tours and walk throughs, be sure to has questions about:
- Fees that are not included in base rental
- Spectator seating
- Corral areas for athletes and coaches
- Score projection
- Food and beverage requirements
- Parking fees
- Tables and chairs available
Marketing Gymnastics Invitationals
When it comes to marketing a gymnastics meet, there are several effective strategies to consider. One of the most important steps is to create a buzz around the event by promoting it through various channels. Utilize social media platforms to reach a wider audience and share updates about the meet. Consider creating engaging and visually appealing content, such as videos or photos, to grab the attention of potential participants and spectators. It's also crucial to reach out to local media outlets and sports organizations to spread the word. Email clubs with Save the Date, RSVP, and deadline reminders. Sometimes using snail mail for a Save the Date generates a few extra leads! Additionally, collaborating with local businesses and offering sponsorship opportunities can not only provide financial support but also help increase visibility and credibility for the meet. Lastly, don't underestimate the power of word-of-mouth marketing. Encourage coaches, athletes, and their families to share their excitement about the event with their networks. By implementing these marketing strategies, you can ensure a successful gymnastics meet that attracts both participants and spectators alike.
Hiring Vendors for Gymnastics Invitationals
Vendors can enhance the experience for attendees and bring in extra revenue for your event! Vendors typically pay a percentage of sales with a minimum charge. Recommended vendors include:
- T-Shirts (Consider NW T-Shirts and Designs)
- Stuffed Animals
- Local businesses / Customer owned businesses
- Shout Outs (onsite or pre-sold)
Creating a Schedule for Gymnastics Invitationals
Once your meet fills, the detailed planning begins! Check out this Time Template for easy scheduling by session. After you create a schedule, continue working toward meet day by ordering cards, decorations, and awards. Book hotel rooms for judges, equipment people, and key staff. Order athlete, coach, and judge gifts.
Getting Volunteers to Help at Your Meet
The best way to schedule volunteers is to create a Sign Up Genius by 1/2 day, full day, or session. On the Sign Up Genius, be sure to include opportunities for families to contribute in other ways such as providing food for coaches and judges. Be clear on how volunteers will benefit from helping at your event. List reporting times that match your expectations.
Must Do Before Set Up:
- Label Cards
- Get Change
- Print Sanction Forms
- Set Up iPads and Scoring System
- Plan your Coaches Meeting
- Plan your Announcements
- Plan playlist
- Sort awards
- Purchase supplies (ink, paper, coaches’ survival
station, candy for judges, cleaning supplies)
Executing a Great Gymnastics Meet
We have all been to meets that are great and meets that are not. Be a great meet host by following these tips:
- Follow the rules
- Have a plan and be prepared
- Use your volunteers
- Be prepared to solve problems on the fly
- Keep your facility clean
- Make it fun!
Post Meet Checklist
The last day of hosting a meet is always filled with sleep deprivation, inside jokes, too many giggles, and ideas for next year. Keep the adrenaline running long enough to get through:
- Writing thank you notes to clubs, volunteers, vendors, and judges
- Collect the sanction report form and email to USA Gymnastics
- Pay Judges, Medical, Head Tax, etc
- Make plans for next year!
Hosting State Gymnastics Meets
Hosting state is a great way to give back to the gymnastics
community. Learn how to bid to host the state meet by contacting your state chair or looking on your state website. Some states hold just one state meet each year while others hold ten or more! Make sure you know the financial requirements of hosting state (head tax for state/region, hotel room requirements for judges, etc).
Hosting Regional Gymnastics Meets
It is recommended to host the state meet prior to bidding for a regional meet. In addition, it is a good idea to build up to hosting Regionals by starting at the lowest Regional level.
Bidding information for Regionals can generally be found on USAG Region websites. There you will also find the requirements for facilities and financials as well as what levels are needing a host and an approximate number of athletes to help you prepare a budget.
Regionals provide a large influx of hotel and tourism dollars. If you look to your smaller communities, you may find financial incentives from local sports commissions or tourism bureaus.
In conclusion, planning and hosting gymnastics meets can be a challenging task, but with the right strategies and organization, it can be a rewarding and successful event. By creating a detailed checklist, effectively communicating with all parties involved, delegating tasks to volunteers, and creating a welcoming atmosphere, you can alleviate stress and ensure a smooth and enjoyable gymnastics meet. Finally, hosting state and regional meets can be a way to give back to the gymnastics community and bring in additional revenue. Overall, planning and hosting gymnastics meets is a fulfilling endeavor that requires careful planning, attention to detail, and a passion for the sport. So, if you're considering hosting a gymnastics meet, take these tips into account and get ready for a memorable and successful event.