Dubai Olympic Gymnastics Club
Recreational vs Competitive


The Difference Between Recreational & Competitive Programs

Both Recreational and Competitive gymnastics programs promote strength, flexibility, endurance, confidence, fitness and fun. Whilst Recreational (non-competitive) programs are fitting for anyone, Competitive programs require an invitation to join after being evaluated by a qualified coach.


What Do Coaches Look For When Inviting Kids To Competitive Programs?
When considering a child for a team program, coaches look for the following traits:
  •  Physical Strength – Can the child easily perform strength exercises such as pull-ups, leg lifts, sprinting, push-ups, sit-ups, and hollow body holds?
  • Flexibility – Is the child’s body flexible enough to handle some of the requirements of gymnastics? Can his/her flexibility be improved over time?
  • Basic Skills – How are the child’s gymnastics fundamentals? Has the child spent enough time in a class to master the basics? Can the child perform the basics properly? Does the child know proper gymnastics terminology?
  • Motivation – Does the child want to learn and succeed, or is she content right where she is?
  • Coachability – Does the child listen to corrections and try to apply them? Is the child willing to take a few steps back to fix old skills before learning new skills?
  • Mental Toughness – How sensitive is the child? Does he or she respond well to criticism? Would the child be able to perform in front of a judge and receive a performance-based score with no more than a healthy amount of anxiety?
  • Sportsmanship – Would this child fit in with existing team members? Would he or she encourage the other athletes? Would this child accept both success and defeat respectfully and graciously?



Do Competitive Gymnasts Receive Better Training?
No.  Team gymnasts do not receive better training than Recreational gymnasts, but the majority of the time, they do receive MORE training.  All Competitive gymnasts are required to train a minimum of 4 hours a week, while Recreational students often only come 1 or 2 hours a week. The extra training time allows Competitive coaches to focus on extra conditioning and the smallest of details in every gymnastics skill.



Do Team Gymnasts Learn Bigger, Better Skills Than Recreational Class Gymnasts?
No.  Both Recreational and Competitive gymnasts follow the same curriculum and skill progression set forth by FIG (Federation International Gymnastics).  Competitive gymnasts who have learned impressively difficult skills have done so after committing themselves to a gymnastics team program for several years and putting in countless hours of training time.
All Recreational students have the opportunity to learn the same skills as gymnasts in our Competitive program (on certain apparatus), but must do so while following the proper skill progression.  With any gymnast, safety is always the number one priority. Recreational class coaches take into consideration a child’s strength, flexibility, and mental readiness before beginning to teach a new, more difficult skill.


Do Team Gymnasts Progress Through The Levels Faster?
No.  In fact, many competitive gymnasts who are well-trained, strong, and appear to have all of their skills will often repeat a level in order to improve their fundamentals before moving on to the next level.  FIG (Federation International Gymnastics) provides a set of requirements for each competitive level. Many gymnasts compete successfully for an entire season while missing just one small requirement.  It is very common to see a Competitive gymnast repeat more than one level in order to meet every requirement and achieve a great amount of success.
Recreational students have a bit more flexibility in this matter; Recreational coaches will often forgive a certain skill or two a child may struggle with and promote her to the next level in order to maximize her potential in a smaller amount of time.

What Is Required of Competitive Gymnasts?

  • Commitment – Gymnastics is a sport that requires a team member’s presence for every minute of scheduled training time. Competitive gymnasts are expected to attend all practices, competitions and other team events. Competitive gymnasts are expected to arrive on time and prepared to train (hair up, gymnastics attire on, water bottle in hand, etc.).  While being on a gymnastics team is fun, it is not a social hour and is not something you show up for when you have nothing else to do… If a child is not willing to commit to the requirements of their team, it is best to consider other options, such as the Recretaional programs.
  • Proper Health & Nutrition – An athlete cannot train or perform to the best of their abilities without proper nutrition.  All competitive athletes are expected to eat a well-balanced diet and stay hydrated in order to keep their bodies in the best physical shape possible.
  • Attitude – Competitve gymnasts are expected to have a good attitude towards themselves, their teammates and their coaches. They need to accept criticism in order to improve, and they need to encourage their teammates to be the best they can be.
  • Family Commitment – Gymnastics requires a strong family commitment, in the form of transportation, financial assistance, nutritional advice, support at competitions, and mental support throughout training.  Busy families are encouraged to share contact info to arrange carpools, child-care, etc. to ensure their gymnast is able to be where he or she needs to be at the right time.
  • Finances – It’s the part no one wants to think about, but we want to be honest with you. Being on a gymnastics team can be expensive. On top of term tuition, you need to consider the price of uniforms, competition entry fees, coaches fees, and travel fees.


Many Competitive gymnasts have already decided that gymnastics will be their life. They want to train through primary and High school.  They want to compete in local, regional and international competitions.  Because of their years of commitment and dedication, and more than anything else, the amount of hours they spend training, they generally tend to rise to higher levels and learn harder skills.

Many Recreational gymnasts are not as committed, and maybe only want to take gymnastics once or twice a week for a year or two.  They may want to play other sports, and dance, and act, and sing, and travel… That’s OK! Gymnastics can be fun for anyone, regardless of their natural talent or level of commitment.  No matter what level, our class and team programs are designed to provide each and every child with a unique experience that is both fun and rewarding


   DOGC proudly follows both the USA Gymnastics Junior Olympic and FIG Programs