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Advice on quitting because of lack of coaching

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ZachsMom01

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Feb 26, 2017
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Hello all!

I need some advice for my 8 year old son. We live in a small town with only one gym 30 minutes from our home. He has been in gymnastics and on the team for 2 years and he loves it but there have been so many coaching problems. It's hard to find a good boys coach. We had a good one until she moved out of state. Now we have a coach but he's having a hard time teaching the higher level boys. He was a gymnast but has no training to coach. He's also planning to move this summer which leaves our boys without a coach again. Any advice?? Any incentives for a gym to build a strong boys program? Below is a link to a video montage of my son, Zach. Any thoughts are greatly appreciated!

 

trampolinemom

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Jan 23, 2015
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Netherlands
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Netherlands
Your boy is clearly talented and it is sad that there might be no one around to coach him. Can you talk to the gymowner what the plans are if his coach leaves this summer. Maybe you and other boys parents can help to find an awesome new one? What are your options further away? I don't know if this ever is the case in USA but in the Netherlands sometimes when the talented kids are younger they combine gyms they train say 2 x a week at the local gym and 2x a week in weekends usually at a higher level gym further away. When they are older they move over to the higher level gym completely .
 
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ZachsMom01

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Feb 26, 2017
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Thank you for your comment. You have some really good ideas! I'm not sure the gym owner is that invested in the boys program. That's why I was wondering if there are incentives for gym owners to build a good boys program. However, I do think it's worth a shot talking to the owner again. As far as training on weekends at another gym... I've never heard of that in USA but I'm definitely going to check into it. I'm really saddened for my son but I know God has a plan. Thank you for the wonderful tips.
 
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skschlag

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Jul 19, 2011
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Hi! Sorry to hear about your situation. My ds was in a similar spot for the past 3 years. he did end up moving gyms to one 45-60 min away. It has been the best thing for him!! The drive stinks, but he has improved so much being at a gym that does want a boys' program and works to maintain it. It is very difficult these days to find and keep a MAG coach, unfortunately, so the number of programs seems to be dwindling :(

Is there something a bit further away?
 

ZachsMom01

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Feb 26, 2017
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36
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USA
Hi! Sorry to hear about your situation. My ds was in a similar spot for the past 3 years. he did end up moving gyms to one 45-60 min away. It has been the best thing for him!! The drive stinks, but he has improved so much being at a gym that does want a boys' program and works to maintain it. It is very difficult these days to find and keep a MAG coach, unfortunately, so the number of programs seems to be dwindling :(

Is there something a bit further away?
The next closest gym is 1 1/2 hours away and from what I can tell, the situation isn't much better. It's sad because there are so many boys who love this sport but don't get the proper attention and coaching to progress. I'm not sure what to do!
 

gymdog

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Former Gymnast
Jul 5, 2007
5,117
This sounds crazy but - could you or another parent learn to coach? In a small town this may be your only option, for someone to get together and learn (sounds like the owner doesn't care much anyway so maybe they'll go for it).
 

LLmom

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Jan 24, 2017
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We've had similar issues in our small area. We happen to moving, but prior, something that helped was adding a "ninja zone" program at our gym. It helped identify and occasional kid that might be a potential boys team member (I think maybe 4 of our current team) but more than that gave another reason to use the boys' equipment and more hours to employ the coach of the boys team. This was a winning situation for the gym bc they increased revenue in the rec program to off-set equipment and coaching costs and they also were able to have a more qualified coach bc they actually could offer full-time hours and benefits. It seems to me that unless a program is large and established most boys programs struggle to find and keep good coaching, so a situation like this allows it to continue. One of our current coaches actually spent a couple of years training with the girls bc he lost his coach (yet was still a national qualifier) so he is very set on making sure the boys continue to have a coach.
 

ZachsMom01

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Feb 26, 2017
9
36
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This sounds crazy but - could you or another parent learn to coach? In a small town this may be your only option, for someone to get together and learn (sounds like the owner doesn't care much anyway so maybe they'll go for it).
I've actually thought about this... my only thinking is that gymnastics is such a techniques dependent Sport, would it be possible for someone who doesn't have that background to learn it?
 

ZachsMom01

New Member
Proud Parent
Feb 26, 2017
9
36
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We've had similar issues in our small area. We happen to moving, but prior, something that helped was adding a "ninja zone" program at our gym. It helped identify and occasional kid that might be a potential boys team member (I think maybe 4 of our current team) but more than that gave another reason to use the boys' equipment and more hours to employ the coach of the boys team. This was a winning situation for the gym bc they increased revenue in the rec program to off-set equipment and coaching costs and they also were able to have a more qualified coach bc they actually could offer full-time hours and benefits. It seems to me that unless a program is large and established most boys programs struggle to find and keep good coaching, so a situation like this allows it to continue. One of our current coaches actually spent a couple of years training with the girls bc he lost his coach (yet was still a national qualifier) so he is very set on making sure the boys continue to have a coach.
I like the Ninja Zone idea and really want to look into that more. This may be a real possibility because the problem with getting, keeping, and training a good boys coach is exactly as you said... financial. I would like to think that the girls head coach would allow him to practice with girls if it comes down to it.
 

gymdog

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Jul 5, 2007
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I've actually thought about this... my only thinking is that gymnastics is such a techniques dependent Sport, would it be possible for someone who doesn't have that background to learn it?
Well, yes, although being a former gymnast helps, there are coaches out there that aren't gymnasts. You would definitely need training (USAG offers hands on courses, you could shadow another coach in the region, there are online programs also). And the right certifications (safety, U100, etc offered throug USAG). It is possible. Just thinking if the area is really small and there is only gym, not sure many gymnastics coaches or former gymnasts will be in the area. Seems like someone established in the area will need to start and manage the program and whatever transient coaches you get on top of that will be "gravy".
 
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ZachsMom01

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Feb 26, 2017
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Well, yes, although being a former gymnast helps, there are coaches out there that aren't gymnasts. You would definitely need training (USAG offers hands on courses, you could shadow another coach in the region, there are online programs also). And the right certifications (safety, U100, etc offered throug USAG). It is possible. Just thinking if the area is really small and there is only gym, not sure many gymnastics coaches or former gymnasts will be in the area. Seems like someone established in the area will need to start and manage the program and whatever transient coaches you get on top of that will be "gravy".

That's really good advice! That would ensure that there's a constant person there! I'm going to mention this to the other parents and owner and see what they think. Thank you for your reply and advice!
 

CoachS

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Apr 20, 2013
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Hello! I can tell you from personal experience that it is no where near impossible for someone who has no gymnastics background to coach gymnastics. I do not have any (other than doing cartwheels and round-offs as a kid in my friend's backyards) and I'm going on my seventh year of coaching and have been running a men's program for four going on five years this August. This year we have had successful level 4-6 boys and next year will hopefully be our first foray into optional level men's gymnastics.

I know that I am not the only case. Jake Dalton's parents literally purchased the gym he was training at with no prior experience in the sport so their son could be successful. Here is an article where it is mentioned: http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sports/olympics/london/gymnastics/story/2012-05-05/jake-dalton-seeks-olympic-spot-gymnastics/54777772/1

If you need any advice on what avenues to take to get the education necessary to run a men's program feel free to reach out to me via PM and I can link you to a ton of resources through USAG and other outside organizations (The Head Coach of the University of Oklahoma, Mark Williams, has a great series of education DVD's on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Mastering-Mens-Gymnastics-DVD-Set/dp/B005KLUDQK/ref=sr_1_cc_3?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1490025921&sr=1-3-catcorr&keywords=mens+gymnastics+dvd). I would also suggest getting a J.O. Judging Certification through the NGJA (http://www.ngja.org/) when testing opens again this summer. I definitely want to help get more people in the sport! More Coaches = More Gymnasts which = More Demand for Programs from other gyms which = growing the sport! :)
 

ZachsMom01

New Member
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Feb 26, 2017
9
36
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USA
Hello! I can tell you from personal experience that it is no where near impossible for someone who has no gymnastics background to coach gymnastics. I do not have any (other than doing cartwheels and round-offs as a kid in my friend's backyards) and I'm going on my seventh year of coaching and have been running a men's program for four going on five years this August. This year we have had successful level 4-6 boys and next year will hopefully be our first foray into optional level men's gymnastics.

I know that I am not the only case. Jake Dalton's parents literally purchased the gym he was training at with no prior experience in the sport so their son could be successful. Here is an article where it is mentioned: http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sports/olympics/london/gymnastics/story/2012-05-05/jake-dalton-seeks-olympic-spot-gymnastics/54777772/1

If you need any advice on what avenues to take to get the education necessary to run a men's program feel free to reach out to me via PM and I can link you to a ton of resources through USAG and other outside organizations (The Head Coach of the University of Oklahoma, Mark Williams, has a great series of education DVD's on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Mastering-Mens-Gymnastics-DVD-Set/dp/B005KLUDQK/ref=sr_1_cc_3?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1490025921&sr=1-3-catcorr&keywords=mens+gymnastics+dvd). I would also suggest getting a J.O. Judging Certification through the NGJA (http://www.ngja.org/) when testing opens again this summer. I definitely want to help get more people in the sport! More Coaches = More Gymnasts which = More Demand for Programs from other gyms which = growing the sport! :)
Thank you for your response and advice! This definitely gives me hope for my son. We are calling a parents meeting and I'm going to discuss your suggestions with everyone, including the owner.

Congrats on your boys program! I want to see boys gymnastics get big again!!!
 

Pigeon

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Mar 10, 2015
84
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Our gym is going through a big transition with our MAG program, so I feel your pain...it's really unfortunate that many of these men's programs seem to struggle as it is such a great sport. Not that there is any money to do this, but wouldn't it be nice if USAG gave cash incentives for clubs to have a men's program?

Anyway, you've got some good advice here. Another thing to look into would be if your gym has a parent organization/parent board try to get on it. I think this is both helpful for you as a parent to get an idea of your gym's plan for their MAG program, gives you closer contact with the director/owner, and you can be an advocate for the program.

When I was on our board I was probably the most vocal parent there I'm pretty sure a meeting didn't go by without me piping up "so, about the boy's program".

I hope your parent/owner meeting is a success!
 

Pigeon

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Mar 10, 2015
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I just looked up the DVD recommended by CoachS on Amazon...you have to look at the 2-star review. It's funny/sad: "unless you want to learn to tumble or do handsprings, you should skip this product...not for an average joe...this product is for gymnastic athletes that want to perform the skills required in the sport" :rolleyes:.

The DVD is called Mastering Men's Gymnastics - what were they expecting?! Someone who has used these DVDs needs to go on and post some reasonable reviews!
 

CoachS

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Apr 20, 2013
44
New Jersey
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I just looked up the DVD recommended by CoachS on Amazon...you have to look at the 2-star review. It's funny/sad: "unless you want to learn to tumble or do handsprings, you should skip this product...not for an average joe...this product is for gymnastic athletes that want to perform the skills required in the sport" :rolleyes:.

The DVD is called Mastering Men's Gymnastics - what were they expecting?! Someone who has used these DVDs needs to go on and post some reasonable reviews!
Hahaha, you're right! I just left a Five-Star Review. It's very comprehensive but it is dry and was probably done on a shoe-string budget. All that mattered to me was the substance and the knowledge gained from the DVD's which I got so that is why it earned the five-stars. It was like a mini-regional congress lecture. I actually had my rec, pre-team, and boy's team coaches watch them too. They've probably heard all my corrections and explanations at this point so it was probably a good change of pace for them, lol.
 

CoachS

Verified Coach
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Apr 20, 2013
44
New Jersey
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USA
Thank you for your response and advice! This definitely gives me hope for my son. We are calling a parents meeting and I'm going to discuss your suggestions with everyone, including the owner.

Congrats on your boys program! I want to see boys gymnastics get big again!!!
Thank you! I hope your parent's meeting goes well! Good luck and if you all need anything feel free to reach out to me here. I want to help grow boy's gymnastics again, it's an awesome sport!
 

ZachsMom01

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Feb 26, 2017
9
36
Country
USA
T
Thank you! I hope your parent's meeting goes well! Good luck and if you all need anything feel free to reach out to me here. I want to help grow boy's gymnastics again, it's an awesome sport!
Thank you!!
 

ZachsMom01

New Member
Proud Parent
Feb 26, 2017
9
36
Country
USA
Our gym is going through a big transition with our MAG program, so I feel your pain...it's really unfortunate that many of these men's programs seem to struggle as it is such a great sport. Not that there is any money to do this, but wouldn't it be nice if USAG gave cash incentives for clubs to have a men's program?

Anyway, you've got some good advice here. Another thing to look into would be if your gym has a parent organization/parent board try to get on it. I think this is both helpful for you as a parent to get an idea of your gym's plan for their MAG program, gives you closer contact with the director/owner, and you can be an advocate for the program.

When I was on our board I was probably the most vocal parent there I'm pretty sure a meeting didn't go by without me piping up "so, about the boy's program".

I hope your parent/owner meeting is a success!
Thank you! I'm hoping all goes well too! I'm not willing to give up and neither is my son. He truly loves this sport and I really believe he's naturally talented. He just needs some guidance.
 
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