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Coaches with no experience

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Ingymmom

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Jul 12, 2007
981
I have noticed in our gym many of the rec coaches have little to no experience actually coaching. Is there a specific training coaches can go through to at least educate them on basics of teaching gymnastics, or is experience the only true way? I am not a coach but as a parent I can see there are too many injuries and no one advancing past level 1/2 in the gym.... this could be a reflection of the coaches correct? My dd is with the team coaches (they are wonderful) so it does not directly effect her, but I am just curious.

We recently had a sub-coach that said he had 35 years of exp, but when he spotted on vault - it was pretty clear he had no idea what to do. Then I glance over at some of the rec classes and see coaches spotting and teaching BHS's with little girls (3 & 4 yr olds) that can not even do a cartwheel or a round off - some can't even backword roll. The rec gym we were at for a long while always had their coaches in different/continuous training programs so I am sure they are out there. It just seems that anyone can be a gymnastics coach if they choose to be... so what kind of exp (if any) do you look for in gym coaches for your children?
 

bogwoppit

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Feb 26, 2007
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We had this discussion a while back on gymspot. I tried but couldn't find the thread.

The information there seemed to imply that in the US there was no formal training system for coaches. There are various safety, technique etc workshops that can be attended. But, there was no requirement by USAG. Some people said , like you, that their clubs had in house programmes to train up their own staff. How does a parent ask a coach about qualifications without offending???

I know that in Canada and Britain coaches have to undergo specific training, wriitten exams and supervised coaching (many hours) before being let loose on kids in the gym. I also know that in Canada unqualified assistants (those in training) cannot be on the competition floor without a special permission from the governing body and they still have to be supervised by a qualified coach.

So, I am lucky, I have never had to ask. This question does intrigue me though. What should parents be asking and looking for when going to a gym? I would certainly not be happy with a gym that was teaching beginning preschoolers BHS before they had the basics solidly, a recipe for disaster.:eek:
 

gym law mom

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What I saw at our former gym was letting a few team parents teach pre-K classes. Their experience was more in early childhood education or something like that with minimal gymnastics background. They teach the classes to get a reduction in tuition. Thing is they would walk around the gym in their STAFF t-shirts and many parents who didn't know who they were would stop and ask them questions about all sorts of things and they didn't know the answers.

I'm sure its hard to find people to come teach 2-4 yos in the middle of the day for not alot of money, but the gym needs to be up front about the qualifications of their instructors.
 

gymnomore

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Aug 3, 2007
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I could have written the above post myself. I get really annoyed with "coach wannabes" walking around wearing their STAFF shirts. At our gym, when they are asked questions by parents, they answer them any way they can whether the answer is right or not, which is really scary. Not only that, but these coaches seem to have a very arrogant attitude once they get that STAFF shirt on their backs. Parents should ask questions when they come to a gym because many times, these "coach wannabes" are put in charge of teaching the very basic as well as back-handspring classes. If these very basic skills are not taught correctly, they can be problematic throughout a gymnast's career. I once observed a wannabe coach working with my (other nongymnast) daughter on back handsprings. She wasn't "getting it", duh, so every time she tried and wasn't successful, he had her do a series of pushups. I pulled her out of there and asked that she never be put one on one with him again. I later observed that same "coach" trying to teach my gymnast daughter release moves on the high bar. THAT was scary! I hope others do not have bad experiences with coach wannabes. Not to say they are all bad, as some have gone through training and turn out to be very good. I've seen them with other gymnasts. But, my experience hasn't proven that.
 

spokanegymmom

New Member
Aug 21, 2007
18
My dd went to a gym like that

She was taught back handsprings before back walkovers. The owners reasoning was that if they can learn the harder tricks then go for it. It really affected her form. It has taken her about a year to break all the bad habits she learned at that gym. Now at her former gym they have a "coach" who is a team parent who has NO gymnastic background. Her daughter has only been doing gymnastics 2 years, so she has no real knowledge of how tricks are done, etc. Now this may sound mean-but she is not my idea of a gymnastic coach and I would have NEVER EVER let her "coach" my dd. She is lazy, always brings her infant(about a year old) to the gym and he is attached to her nursing, she weighs probably 300 lbs. This is not the kind of person I would want coaching my child. Yet the parents put up with her. She is friends with the owner and this is how she gets by. When my dd was there she was a receptionist who stuck her nose in everything to include giving the girls conditioning if she felt they were goofing off. I didn't like her then either.
Now for little kids, like mommy and me, I think a parent coach is fine. Just the fun stuff. Unless the parent has gotten certified or specfically instructed how to spot, then no they shouldn't be working with the kids.
 

gymbabisMom

Parent/Coach
Jan 8, 2006
178
Ahwahnee, CA
I am that parent. I teach rec classes for a reduction in tuition for my daughter. I think the training you get depends on your gym. When I started, I had very little training but by asking the more experienced coaches I did learn. I teach Level 1. In our level 1 there are very specific skills that a gymnast has to master before moving on to the next level. I am familiar with those skills and if I have a question I can always ask one of the more senior coaches. I never coach or spot anything I don't feel comfortable with.
I have sometimes heard parents complain that thier kid should be learning higher skills when they haven't mastered the basics yet, key being handstands, cartwheels, backbends, forward and backward rolls. The kids shouldn't be bored, but you can't safely teach a back handspring to a kid that can't do a backbend or handstand. I do teach some drills leading up to a back HS, etc.. but leave the actual skills to the coaches who teach the appropriate level for that skill.
If you see a coach doing something that you feel is likely to cause injury, due to improper spotting or technique, you should speak to the owner about it.
 

Ingymmom

Active Member
Jul 12, 2007
981
That is a great different perspective.... just from my own personal findings gymbabismom, I have seen many great gymnasts become not so great coaches, and maybe not just as many but quite a few non-gymnast parents becoming really great coaches... a good coach is not necessarily a reflection of education IMO - except for the higher levels... I have no experience, was not a former gymnast, but think I would do very well as a gymnastics coach - it is something I would actually really enjoy trying. I feel very much the same as you about the basics - I am sure in time any parent that has issues with their child not learning more - now, now, now will understand when their child moves up and does just that slightly better handstand, cartwheel etc... kudos to you for getting involved, trying something you enjoy AND the reduction in tuition is something we can ALL appreciate:D.

I am that parent. I teach rec classes for a reduction in tuition for my daughter. I think the training you get depends on your gym. When I started, I had very little training but by asking the more experienced coaches I did learn. I teach Level 1. In our level 1 there are very specific skills that a gymnast has to master before moving on to the next level. I am familiar with those skills and if I have a question I can always ask one of the more senior coaches. I never coach or spot anything I don't feel comfortable with.
I have sometimes heard parents complain that thier kid should be learning higher skills when they haven't mastered the basics yet, key being handstands, cartwheels, backbends, forward and backward rolls. The kids shouldn't be bored, but you can't safely teach a back handspring to a kid that can't do a backbend or handstand. I do teach some drills leading up to a back HS, etc.. but leave the actual skills to the coaches who teach the appropriate level for that skill.
If you see a coach doing something that you feel is likely to cause injury, due to improper spotting or technique, you should speak to the owner about it.
 

gym law mom

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Dec 23, 2006
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GymbabisMom---1st its great to see you back posting. I know you've all had a difficult time.

The parents turned "coach" who I was referring to are the ones that walk around with their nose in the air because now they think they have an "in" at the gym. You would hear comments dropped like, "oh yeah I had to be at a coaches meeting today and then went to lunch with ________."(fill in the team coaches names). Then you come to find out, it was a staff meeting for ALL the gym employess and they actually only had to be there for the beginning, but hung around to go to lunch with the team coaches.

One of these moms did have some gym background and ended up helping with the pre-team program when my daughter was in it. I did have to talk with the coach in charge of the pre-team program because this lady did some things that were pretty scary. One night she lowered the vault(didn't tell the girls) to help those that couldn't do a fhs without help get over. My daughter and another girl were vaulting on their own and didn't notice the vault was low. Went running full out and when they went to block, completely missed the vault since it was low. What saved them was this was the vault into the pit, so they were able to just flip. This mom had a dd who was on the fast track and I think for her it ensured she was just about always on the floor when her dd was practicing. She would also tell the pre-team kids how advanced her dd was compared to them at the same age. Her dd made level 8 by age 10 and by age 11 she was asked to leave for a couple of weeks due to very poor attitude, mouthing off to coaches/teammates and cursing. At that point she quit----maybe her way of getting away from mom---who knows.

I know there are folks like gbm who do it for the financial aspect, but also because its fun and they act professionally. Just those that do it to look important and think it will help their dd's career that put a blemish on the whole thing.
 
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medic3188

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We just left a gym like that. The coaches were 15 years old and had little advanced coaching experience. They were coaching the team program. The kids were learning skills the wrong way. The gym felt like if you knew a little about gymnastics then you could coach. There was no lesson plan or anything.

After moving to a new gym with experienced coaches my daughter is doing much better and is progressing.
 
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