Just as you wouldn’t commit to someone on the first date, you shouldn’t feel obliged to sign up at the first gym you do a trial at.
It pays to shop around and visit several gyms in order to get the lay of the land. Some things to consider before signing off on the dotted line include: Proximity of the gym from your office or home, the gym’s schedule, and most importantly, how comfortable you feel at the gym.
Here’s a checklist of things you need to take into consideration before you commit.
#1 The Coach Bothers To Learn And Remember Your Name
No one likes to feel like they’re just a face in the crowd. If a coach takes the trouble to ask you for your name, it means that he assumes you’re there for long haul, and a sign that he takes his job seriously.
#2 The Coach Is Fully Present During Classes
It’s never a good sign when your coach seems distracted or always on his phone during the class. If he is, it probably means he’s bored or not interested in doing his job well. The coach should lead and be invested in every aspect of the class, from warm-ups to drills and cool-downs. During drills, he should walk around the class to make sure that students are correctly executing techniques.
#3 The Experienced Students Are Willing To Help You Out
One of the reasons why learning a new martial art is so intimidating is because everyone else already seems to know what they’re doing while you’re fumbling around feeling completely lost. A good gym, however, promotes a culture of good will and sharing, and ideally, you’d be paired up with more advanced students who’ll be able to patiently guide you along, at least during your first couple of months.
#4 You Don’t Feel Pressured To Do Something You’re Not Comfortable With
Whether it’s because you’re still recovering from an injury, or not feeling particularly confident of your skills just yet, you should never feel bullied into sparring. It’s your responsibility to let your coach know early if there’s something you’re not comfortable with, and his to ensure that your safety remains top priority.
#5 The Coach Is Invested In Your Growth
It doesn’t matter whether you’re been training for one week, or one year. A great coach is one that wants to see each and every one of his students improve, and that means he takes the time and effort to correct your technique, even if it’s just a simple jab or arm bar from the guard.
#6 The Gym Is Always Clean And Dry
It’s not just disgusting to step into a pool of someone else’s sweat during warm-up jogs; you could be putting yourself at real risk of picking up a nasty skin infection like ringworm if the gym’s levels of sanitation are not up to scratch. Ideally, the mats should be given a quick mop after each and every session, as well as a thorough clean at the beginning and end of the day.
#7 The Gym Is Well Run
At the end of the day, a gym is a business, and should be run as such. Classes should run according to the schedule, and not cancelled at will. Before signing up, pricing, payment terms, and cancellation procedures should also be made clear to you.
As switching gyms is a hassle and disruptive to your training, it pays to do your homework before signing up for a long-term package. Best of luck for your search!
Images: Mark Teo
Venue: Evolve MMA
Venue: Team Highlight Reel