Under the leadership of Amanda Borden-Cochran, the 1996 Olympic team—dubbed the Magnificent Seven—scored their infamous gold-medal victory. But Amanda's accomplishments didn't stop there; she now adds gym owner to her résumé as the founder of the brand new 25,000 square foot Gold Medal Gymnastics gym. At two gyms in Chandler and Tempe, she works alongside a roster of accomplished athletes to teach the fine art of gymnastics to preschoolers and teens alike. In addition to traditional gymnastics classes and open gym time, the coaches teach dance lessons and sports skills at the Chandler location.
Youthful shrieks and the slap of feet on mats fill the air at Southwest Gymnastics Training Center, drifting past a climbing rope and floor-level trampoline. Coaches preside over the 10,500-square-foot facility, improving more than somersaults—they also help give kids the self-esteem and discipline to excel in school or run a successful ant farm. The safety-certified coaches encourage positive traits in their young charges during recreational and competitive classes for ages 18 months to 18 years. Designed to adhere to USA Gymnastics guidelines, the curriculum helps kids build skills in a logical order, ensuring that no one has to do a cartwheel before learning what a wheel is.
The coaches also teach trampoline and tumbling skills, occasionally retiring to the sidelines to supervise open gym sessions. During these unstructured play sessions, kids can safely experiment with any equipment or practice pushing a wheelbarrow full of gold medals. Recreational classes for girls aged 6–18, boys aged 6–18, little ones aged 18 months–5 years, and athletic action figures, as well as competitive classes for advanced-level acrobats. Tumbling and trampoline lessons build knowledge of the sport, with a bouncier surface than a circus seal's mattress.
Scott Barclay, a former gymnastics champion and current coach of ASU men's gymnastics team, dreamed of opening a facility to help young kids discover gymnastics. In turn, Aspire Kids Sports Center began with recreational gymnastics for kids as young as 15 months. Through time, the organization—headed by Scott and his wife, Donna—grew to include classes for martial arts, swimming, and cheer.
At Aspire's present 32,000-square-foot facility, instructors help fledgling gymnasts traverse an 80-foot tumble track on multiple trampolines. For tykes, there's a wealth of preschool gymnastics equipment, while more advanced gymnastics teams can compete on spring competition floors. Or take advantage of the indoor heated swimming pool with movable platforms, where you can immerse yourself in year-round swimming lessons and stage performances of The Little Mermaid.
My Gym, which currently has more than 200 international locations, began more than 20 years ago as a structured place for children to safely play, acquire new skills, and romp off a sugar buzz. All classes are organized according to age level (starting as young as six weeks) and designed to incorporate the latest physiological, psychological, and meteorological research. The North Phoenix location offers classes for all developmental degrees, from Tiny Tykes, a class for parents and babies that focuses on movement, to Whiz Kids, four-and-a-half- to six-year-olds mastering motor skills in to build strength, balance, and agility. Schedules and class options vary by location; click here to see the North Phoenix lineup.