Your Daughter Wants to be a Gymnast - Now What?!?! Part 1

Our Gymnasts’ Recommendations Quick Summary: 

1) Pack a gym bag with everything you might need and bring it with you to each practice. Make sure it has a change of clothes and healthy snacks. 

2) It’s risky to practice with jewelry on - take it off. 

3) Sleeveless leotards made of thin fabric that have a scoop or v-neck and a low cut at the thighs are the most comfortable. Skip the undies. 

4) Shorts or leggings are OK, especially when it’s cold in the gym. 

5) Keep hair tied low at the back of the head so that it doesn’t whip you in the face while tumbling. 

Like many parents, you have a daughter who has been mesmerized by the athleticism of Simone Biles and the artistry of Katelyn Ohashi and it’s an Olympic year, so now you’ve found yourself signing her up for gymnastics. Congratulations! Gymnastics is an amazing sport where children build strength, discipline, resilience and sportsmanship. Your daughter is going to make friends, have fun and experience pride as she progresses through the levels. And you will enjoy watching her grow into a well-rounded, hard-working, respectful young woman as she embodies the lessons that gymnastics has to teach her. You’ve taken the first step - she’s signed up for class. Now what?!?! 

Here is our Quick Start guide to beginning the sport of gymnastics: 

What to wear? 

The uniform of gymnastics is the leotard. Leotards are kind of like swimsuits - they cover the torso no matter what position your daughter is in relative to gravity. Leotards come in a variety of different cuts, colors and fabrics. For practice, our gymnasts recommend sleeveless leotards with thick shoulder straps that have a bit of a scoop or v-neck neck in front for comfort. They also prefer thinner fabrics without studs or sequins, particularly on the lower half. As for the cut of the legs, a low cut that does not ride high on the hips helps the bottom of the uniform stay in place. The legs openings should be snug enough around the thighs so that there is no gapping at the crotch when your daughter is in a straddle position or splits. The torso should be snug, but if it’s too tight, the shoulder straps can become uncomfortable during long practices and the back side can ride up. Leotards should be washed like other delicate items in order to prevent premature wear. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for additional care recommendations. ONE Athletics has leotards for sale.  Please ask your coach or the front desk staff if you would like to buy one for your daughter.  

What about underwear? Great question! All undergarments need to be completely covered by the uniform. Panties are fine, as long as they don’t show from beneath leg openings. If panties are worn, we recommend something snug and skin-toned. However, our athletes say that it’s more comfortable to go without. Undergarments should not have any embellishments, like bows, that will show through the leotard fabric. If your daughter wears a bra, the cut should match the cut of the leotard so that the straps don’t show. 

Many gymnasts will prefer to practice with shorts or leggings over the leotard. This can help with modesty and also prevent rubbing of equipment on the upper thighs. If wearing bottoms, they should be stretchy and fit snugly to avoid catching on equipment.  Shorts or leggings are especially helpful for smaller children with skinny legs because they help keep things covered up, even if the leotard is just a bit too big.

Your daughter’s hair needs to be pulled back out of her face for practice.  Our athletes recommend tucking the hair tightly in a ponytail or bun low on the back of the head. When hair is in a high ponytail or braid(s), it can hit the face during flips or turns, which hurts! You can use bobby pins, clips or spray to help keep hair back, just make sure that pins or clips are secure and won’t fall out. Many young girls have very fine hair, which can be difficult to tame. Do your best and feel free to ask for advice from your daughter’s coach (or a hair stylist) if you are struggling and need some pointers! 

As girls advance in gymnastics, they may begin using grips. Your daughter’s coach will let you know when she is ready for grips. Grips are worn over cloth wrist bands to protect the skin from rubs. The grips should be labeled with your daughter’s name and kept in a bag ready for use at each practice. The wrist bands must be washed regularly. 

Jewelry should be removed before practice. Valuable jewelry needs to be left at home. 

If your daughter wears glasses, she should have a strap that fastens tightly around her head to keep the glasses in place. Our athletes tend to place the strap beneath a low ponytail, but you may need to try a few different styles/positions to see what works best. You can ask your optometrist for guidance if you are struggling to keep the glasses in place during practice. 

We recommend that your daughter bring a gymnastics gym bag to each practice with her. The bag should have a spare leotard, as well as clothes to wear in and out of the gym, a water bottle, hair ties, healthy snacks, personal care items (such as contact lenses solution, feminine hygiene products, lip balm, hand cream, etc.), bandaids, any braces or wraps that she uses, glasses and straps, a bag to put jewelry in and anything else she may need during practice. Just so you know, we do stock first-aid items, athletic tape and feminine hygiene products, just in case. 

Now, your daughter is ready to start gymnastics. We hope she has a great time in class! And we hope you have found this information helpful. 

If you have questions, edits, pointers or any content that you would like to see in future blog posts, please email us at And stay tuned for our next edition of the ONE Athletics Blog!