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Coaches who train under coaches who get banned

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FlippinPrincess

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Would you ever allow your child to train at a gym whose head coach once trained under a coach who was later banned from USAG for abusive tactics? Would you just go observe the coach during a few practices to see how they coach or would you write them off immediately just for having spent 5+ years with a coach who used abusive practices?

With all of the talk of abusive tactics used by some HC’s in some gyms, I was just curious if people would have an automatic bias against other coaches who worked at the same gym.
 

raenndrops

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I would probably observe before even taking my child in. AND I would talk to the coach and try to get a sense of how the coach felt about the HC's tactics.
Some coaches may have disagreed with the HC but stuck around for the gymnasts... heck, the coach could have been ONE of the people that turned the coach in.
 

SMH

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I really wonder, for example, about all the other coaches who were under Geddert- it seems practically impossible they saw nothing- so did they just turn a blind eye? I’d be very nervous to have my child train with a coach who very likely witnessed abuse and said nothing.
 

duyetanh

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I really wonder, for example, about all the other coaches who were under Geddert- it seems practically impossible they saw nothing- so did they just turn a blind eye? I’d be very nervous to have my child train with a coach who very likely witnessed abuse and said nothing.
Not being snarky here, but I wouldn’t be nervous at all in this particular situation...because I just wouldn’t even entertain the thought of having my child do it.
 

gymdog

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I really wonder, for example, about all the other coaches who were under Geddert- it seems practically impossible they saw nothing- so did they just turn a blind eye? I’d be very nervous to have my child train with a coach who very likely witnessed abuse and said nothing.
One of them wrote a letter to USAG that was like 8 pages long.
 

GymFan96

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One of them wrote a letter to USAG that was like 8 pages long.
Exactly and Steve Penny did nothing except “have a talk” with Geddert. I guess he thought because he was getting results, let him do whatever he wants. Wow. Geddert is the true definition of an “evil genius”.
 
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Aussie_coach

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Just because a caoch was trained by another who behaved innapropriatly it does not mean the new coach will behave inappropriately.
 

Faith

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I would hope they realise and change their own practices.

I think also you need to bear in mind that being in an abusive environment can be very difficult for everyone. It may not be as simple as “turning a blind eye”. Often abusers can be very subtle and blur the lines so you can’t point a finger and say “that’s abuse”. Often these people can be lovely and charming and it can be a struggle to comprehend how someone so “nice” can really mean to do what they do- you question yourself and wonder if you’re reading too much into it, or if it was an accident or one off.

If these coaches are getting results it can often be seen as “being cruel to be kind”- driving and motivating, and sometimes people choose to be in that environment because they think that is what it takes to achieve.

These coaches are often victims themselves- shouted at or treated like crap. Worried if they speak up that’s their job and whole life gone if everyone turns against them.

I’ve said this before but i think the change needs to come from parents and athletes. Don’t put results above welfare. If you know or even think kids aren’t being treated right in your gym, move. Even if *your* kid is OK, they will still be witnessing this stuff every session. We need to show with our feet and our money that we won’t allow those practices.
 

coachmolly

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I don't know that I would necessarily assume anything negative about the coach in question. It is entirely possible that after working with the now banned coached they were taking stock of practices they appreciated and hoped to utilize in their own coaching (perhaps solid technical coaching) as well as those they really did not like and would not implement with their own athletes.
I had some crappy coaches growing up and know what an enormous impact they had on me as a gymnast and as a person. I know that is not the kind of coach I want to be and not the impact I want to have on the children on my team. I'm always checking myself in that regard- was that correction said in the most positive way? was my reaction to xyz overly harsh? was Suzy able to understand that while I didn't particularly like her behavior in a given moment I don't dislike her? I think my less than positive experiences have probably made me more sensitive to what I say and how those words might be perceived.
However, I think it's still absolutely appropriate for you to be cautious until you see this coach in action. I'm not sure if this is about a possible gym switch or the gym you are currently attending, but either way watch practices for a few days, pop in unannounced from time to time (if allowed) to see what's going on, watch how the coach interacts with an athlete who is struggling or does a subpar routine at a meet. So keep an eye out, but I don't know that you need to be overly cynical or suspicious unless they have given you reason to be.
 

Faith

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Some coaches may have disagreed with the HC but stuck around for the gymnasts... heck, the coach could have been ONE of the people that turned the coach in.
It is also possible that a coach may have stuck around even though they knew the abuse was going on. Maybe they thought reporting it would make no difference (or they had tried to report it), and at least if they were there they could step in and prevent the worst of the abuse, or at least some of the kids wouldn’t be directly abused. Sometimes the reasoning is that if they are there and can provide some protection, that is better than none.

It happens in families where a relative may know of the abuse, but does nothing because if they did that child would have no one to go to, or watch out for them.

It’s a difficult situation.
 

profmom

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One of the coaches at my kids' gym is very frank that her coaching style is heavily influenced by the negative experiences she had as a college athlete. She is one of the best and most compassionate coaches I've ever seen.
 

ldw4mlo

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Very much what Faith said.

You really don’t know why the coach stayed. Their own fear of the HC reprisals and impact on them making a living. Being there for the kids.

That said. I wouldn’t just blindly go into a new coaching situation be it at a new gym or a personnel change in the current gym without a conversation with the folks who will be coaching my kid. It’s just how I do things.

Since my kid would not have been at the gym with the abusive coach. We would of abandoned that ship quickly. It would be a new or returning situation. So I would be speaking with the coach and if I was comfortable with their answers to my concerns and their philosophy about training I’d be ok.

While I’m also not a stay at practice all the time person, I do spend more time at things and places that are new situations. When I’m comfortable it’s the right fit and right place then I pull back.

Finally given the history I’d be more likely to expect more open communication with parents along with more opportunities to observe and question. A very transparent training situation. If the coach wasn’t open to that and find that reasonable given the recent history. Then the answer would be no, not the situation for us.
 
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Taxidriver

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Without knowing the exact details it’s hard to say what I would or wouldn’t do.
But I wouldn’t automatically assume that the coach in question is abusive but I would want to observe practice and see what I hear other parents say and would be very aware of any possible signs of abuse and probably be more cautious and alert than I am already.
I think if you automatically write off every coach who has worked under an abusive coach you potentially write off some very good coaches.
Maybe they tried to report it, maybe they felt unable to report it or maybe they see abusive training tactics get good results (in which case run) my point is you won’t know what impact it has had on them without investigating further eg watching practice, speaking to other parents etc.
 

reluctant

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I really wonder, for example, about all the other coaches who were under Geddert- it seems practically impossible they saw nothing- so did they just turn a blind eye? I’d be very nervous to have my child train with a coach who very likely witnessed abuse and said nothing.
Totally. You are either part of the problem or part of the solution. If you witness something and don't report it, you are complicit.
 

profmom

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Let's keep in mind all that we have learned over the last few years.

Most gym jobs are at best contract and many are at will. Unless someone is fired for a reason prohibited by law (i.e., unlawful discrimination), there's not going to be much recourse. There's no union for coaches and as far as I know, the only coaches who might belong to a union would be those in colleges where they are part of a staff union that represents a wide variety of employees. USAG has shown itself to be incapable and/or unwilling to protect whistleblowers, perhaps even to the point of revealing their identities to gyms. The one possibility left open would be filing a report with Child Protective Services, but this would be a lot to expect of a coach, especially if the coach does not know how the parents would react, since parents would necessarily be involved in any investigation. There's also the small nature of the gym employment world in the United States -- especially on the men's side, anyone who coaches in a JO program that competes much beyond L7 probably knows and is known within one degree of relationship by the top coaches in the country. It would take very little to blackball an assistant coach, even more so if you consider that not every assistant coach is readily able to pick up and move to a new area of the country and start afresh if things go bad.

I am not saying people shouldn't try to intervene in bad coaching situations, and we have seen that many have bravely stood up to negative coaching practices. You should, however, think long and hard before judging people who have not done this.
 

CoachAlex

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As a coach my coaching style is a mix of the several different ways I was coached - tactics that didn’t work I don’t use. Please do not assume that a coach who worked under an abusive coach will coach the same way. Like others have stated, you don’t know why they stayed and it very well could have been because they thought they could be there for the gymnasts. It is very possible that the reason the abusive coach is now gone is because of these other coaches.

As far as the situation at Twistars, it is very obvious that all attempts to report any abuse were ignored, recanted, etc - it could be that coaches there tried to get him out and then when no one would listen they just stayed to do what they could. I do not know Geddert and I have no affiliation with that program, however, I did go to school with one of the current coaches, and unless he had a complete personality change, he definitely does NOT coach in an abusive way and in fact I often wonder if their gymnasts are successful because of these other coaches, and not because of Geddert.

My suggestion is to try it out - talk to other parents - watch the gymnasts - you can get a pretty good feel for a coach/program if you just watch and listen - and if you are forbidden to watch, well then that’s kind of a big red flag.
 
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