|Legacy Gymnastics, Maitland, Florida|
Author: Adrienne Putrow
The words “Aspire, Achieve, Repeat…” greet you as you turn into the parking lot of Legacy Gymnastics Center in Maitland, FL, and eight years ago Lisa Winstead set out to do just that. Aimed at providing a positive, competitive environment for Central Florida gymnasts, she wanted to prove that you don’t have to use fear, intimidation, and belittling to succeed. “My first love was basketball” says Lisa, who coached a junior high girls’ team before transitioning in to the world of gymnastics. Bringing her children to basketball practice she realized that despite her best efforts, they would rather do cartwheels on the sidelines than dribble a ball. Over the years she saw them excel as athletes, but was dissatisfied with the environment in which they did so. It was then that she set out to provide a nurturing, compassionate place for children to succeed not only as gymnasts but also in life.
It hasn’t always been easy, and according to Lisa she couldn’t have picked a worse time to open a business. “I signed my lease October of 2007 during one of the worst economic downturns in our nation’s history”, but she stuck it out, and luckily things turned around. By implementing a positive coaching style and uplifting environment for gymnasts and their families, Legacy has been successful since its opening in 2007. Evidence to the fact that they boast a large recreation program, a competitive team ranging from Xcel Bronze through level 9, and now offer a newly founded aerial arts program, Legacy’s motto to “Aspire, Achieve, Repeat…” is clear throughout all of its programs.
While they have earned various team and individual awards, the accomplishments that the staff are most proud of don’t involve medals or scores. “The kids who wouldn’t necessarily have an opportunity to succeed competitively at other gyms, the kids who struggle but are given a chance, when these kids rise above and surprise you, that’s what drives us to keep doing what we’re doing” says Lisa.
In addition to the positive coaching, family atmosphere, and competitive environment, Lisa says that providing her staff with full time opportunities is a major part of their success. “I have a huge payroll. I overpay my staff, and a lot of them are full time who don’t necessarily need to be but I want to keep them here and I want to keep them happy.” This is apparent when you consider that many of Legacy’s staff members have been there for years. “Finding good coaches and staying on the same page is always a struggle. We all try and stay focused on knowing each other’s heart. We try and work on communicating well with one another as well as with the gymnasts” she says.
Her biggest piece of advice to new gym owners? “This is a tough business to get into. Have deep pockets, and make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons.” Coaching an all-around champion or truly phenomenal gymnast is few and far between, but you can succeed if you realize that it’s about more than that; gymnastics is an opportunity to aspire to be great, work hard to achieve your goals, and repeat it all over again with each new challenge you face, both in and out of the gym.