Jacobs Gymnastics in Waukee Creates Family Atmosphere
Owner Chris Jacobs believes students should do well at gymnastics, but be well-rounded in academics and have time to pursue other activities.
Jacobs Gymnastics in Waukee may have 500 students, but to owner Chris Jacobs, the studio is one big family, a lot of work and a whole lot of satisfaction.
“I’m very fortunate and blessed to do what I love and to share gymnastics with all these kids,” said Jacobs, whose studio is at 75 N.E Venture Drive, Suite A. “There are many of these students I’ve known since they were 2 or 3 years old.”
She started the studio with 75 students after leaving one where she was coaching about 10 years ago. “It’s hard to believe we’ve grown that much,” she said.
Sarah Siegel, 17, had Jacobs as a coach when she first began gymnastics, then followed her when she opened her own studio. Sarah competes at the team level, but said the sport has taught her so much more than just how to do gymnastics.
“It has taught me a lot of skills — self-motivation, confidence and time management,” Siegel said. Gymnastics has also influenced her to consider becoming a physical therapist, working primarily on athletes.
And, she says, Jacobs has become “my second mom.
Jacobs believes the success is tied to her philosophy about gymnastics.
“This is not a studio focused on getting a student to the Olympics,” she said. “I think it is important to keep it fun for the kids, to avoid over-training. When you try to do too much, too soon, the kids can get burned out.”
Jacobs notes there are many reasons children take gymnastics classes, from parents wanting them to be more coordinated, to learning some moves for cheerleading and staying in shape.
“I had one parent who enrolled her daughter because she wanted her to be more comfortable in physical education. The mother had never felt comfortable in phys ed when she was growing up,” Jacobs said.
While there is a recreational track for casual students, those who want to compete work their way up through team levels and compete through the USA Gymnastics Xcel program a couple times a year. Usually, students do not go on to compete at the college level, but some go on to coach gymnastics at Jacobs Gymnastics or elsewhere.
“If there is a student who is set on competing in college or working toward Olympic gymnastics, I send them to Chow’s Gymnastics,” Jacobs said. “That is an entirely different level of gymnastics. My students who compete are in the gym four to six hours a week, maximum. When a commitment is made to pursue a different level of competition, it is very focused and takes a lot more time.”
Jacobs said her students are often involved in other activities as well, such as cheerleading, track, volleyball or other sports. She also emphasizes academics with her students.
Siegel’s mother, Rachel Siegel, said, “Chris has kind of made the gymnastics club one big happy family. Rachel likes the fact the club also allows girls to have time for other pursuits. “It allows my daughter to be a well-rounded person,” she said.
Location: 75 N.E Venture Drive, Suite A, Waukee
Cost: Varies with age, from $45 a month for a parent-toddler class to $95 a month for higher-level team participants.
Web Site: www.jacobsgymnastics.com
Phone: (515) 987-0310