Any gym owner interested in adding power tumbling and/or trampoline can benefit from reaching out to the USTA. The organization provides gyms, athletes and owners with a community and resources, in addition to giving out over $2,000 worth of scholarships to graduating seniors or to athletes that are still competing and continuing their education. “It’s one big family,” says Dean. “They truly have a vested interest in the athletes and coaches.”
The USTA was founded in 1971 by Larry Griswold and George Nissen (the founder of the trampoline). Currently, there are over 6,000 athletes enrolled and competing in power tumbling, double mini and trampoline. Affiliating with USTA was the path Briggs and his colleagues chose to start their fledgling program; they’re working to fully develop all levels of the program before branching out into the USAG.
“From a cost factor, USTA is less expensive than USAG because they don’t require full sleeves for leotards or full warm-ups,” explains Briggs. “As we continue to grow and develop the program, we will eventually begin to enter USAG competitions with select athletes.”
Intrigued by our story on mentoring and networking and its growing importance in the all-star industry? Hear testimonials from three cheer professionals who swear by making the connection:
“I make it a point each year to attend as many conferences as I can. These conferences allow me to learn from others’ experiences and ways they’ve dealt with certain situations. I believe that attendance at professional and social events has the ability to greatly raise a business’ profile. I have found most industry leaders to be open, honest and really helpful! I wouldn’t hesitate to contact anyone I admired.”
—Lindsay Balent, Maryland All Stars
“Today, with all the social media, I find it amazing how there is a vast variety of ideas that are exchanged. You would think after being in business all these years you would know everything. All gym owners face the same challenges every day and we are here to help each other, grow our industry and help keep each other sane.”
—Karen McKinley, All Starz Gymnastics & Cheerleading
“Networking is the only way we as an industry can grow. Most coaches and gym owners are too busy when at competitions to ‘talk shop’ with each other, so (conferences) are crucial for getting to know the gym owners and coaches in your area. I have gotten everything from layouts for running two teams at once on a mat to marketing tips while talking with other owners. We aren’t fighting against each other; we are trying to make all-star cheer the choice that athletes choose over [other sports]. Once owners realize this and start playing nice, they will be able to see how much of a resource their fellow owners can be!”
—Cari Ann Bulzone, Infiniti Elite Athletics
Considering getting incorporated? We asked legal expert Trippe Fried to give us the skinny on several types of corporations that may work well for gym owners:
Subchapter S-corporations (“S-corp”): Profits and losses flow through to the owners. There are some requirements to qualify, the key one being that all of the owners must be U.S. citizens or have U.S. residency. LLCs function very much like subchapter-S corporations, but the nomenclature is different. (For instance, LLCs have members instead of shareholders).
Subchapter C-corporations: These are subject to double taxation (i.e. on both profits and dividends). For start-up businesses, that often does not matter or only has marginal consequences.
Close corporations: Some states recognize what are called “close corporations.” These will have a small number of shareholders and the filing/paperwork requirements are often less stringent.
Now that you know all about supplements and whether they’re right for you and your athletes, here are four to consider for better health and performance:
B Vitamins: Provide energy for cellular function in active adults and athletes, who are often lacking the necessary reserves. Sleep deprivation and stress can be a culprit in depleting the body’s stores.
Zinc: An essential mineral that assists with proper function when it comes to digestion, metabolism and growth. For athletes, sub-par zinc levels in the body could impede recovery from injuries.
Vitamin D: Builds strong bones and assists with the body’s ability to absorb calcium, magnesium and zinc. Muscle aches and restless leg syndrome are often associated with Vitamin D deficiency.
Amino Acids: Considered the building blocks for muscles. Some amino acids (such as glutamine and glycine) are produced by the body naturally, but others (like leucine and lysine) must be obtained from food. Because amino acids are sourced from proteins like meat and eggs, strict vegetarians and vegans often require supplements.
Need a legal leg to stand on when it comes to others copying your gym? One attorney says that your imitator may be liable of “causing confusion.”
“There’s no reason in the world why a gym cannot have a trademark in its name [or] its logo. And there’s no reason that a gym can have a trademark in its color combination the way a university may have,” says James Astrachan, former chair of the Intellectual Property Committee of the Maryland State Bar Association.
If you trademark your team’s name, logo and/or colors, your gym is referred to as the “senior user,” Astrachan notes. He adds that a gym owner is then protected from “a junior user—a johnny-come-lately using those logos and colors.”
Another gym using your brand marks can be embarking on “infringing conduct,” because this is likely to cause confusion between them and you as the senior user, he says, or imply an affiliation or endorsement that is not there.
Trademarks are protected federally under the Lanham Act of 1946, and even slight variations of a trademarked logo are not acceptable. “If there’s likely to be confusion, there’s infringement,” says Astrachan, who also teaches Trademark and Unfair Competition at the University of Maryland Law School. The Lanham Act forbids, in part, that which “is likely to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to deceive as to the affiliation, connection or association of such person with another person.”
His recommendation is that new gyms go to a lawyer and order a trademark search, as there are databases full of registrations, articles and other information that can be mined to determine that your intended name, logo and/or colors have not already been trademarked.
“A lawyer would give somebody a clearance that the mark that you have determined to use is not likely to cause confusion with another existing mark in your marketplace,” Astrachan says.