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For Coaches Coaching Your Own Kids

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kez

Guest
I was hoping to get some advice regarding how to deal with your own kids when coaching. Unfortunately I work at a very small gym and their is only myself and another coach so I'm in the unteniable position of having to coach my own kids.

My daughter had some issues with the mother/coach relationship last year but seems to have resolved some of them this year.

However, my son now seems to have developed some issues which I think is effecting not only his enjoyment of gymnastics but also our relationship outside the gym. He has trouble excepting criticism from myself and accuses me of being harder on him than the other kids. I don't believe I am as I'm trying very hard to be fair to my own children as well as the other kids in the class. I'm at a loss as to what to do because I would love him to continue with gymnastics but the situation appears to be affecting his enjoyment of gymnastics and I think is largely behind the additional arguments at home. If I say it's black he say's its white.

Any suggestions on the best way to deal with this? I've tried talking to him and so far I've got no where because apparently he's right and I'm wrong.

Cheers.
 
B

BlairBob

Guest
My dad assigned me many judo crawls, duckwalks, and crabwalks.

In all honesty, I met a guy who came with his kid and her lines were perfect and she was very jubliant so it can be done.
 

KAQuinlan

Member
Mar 6, 2009
93
Florida Panhandle
I think that just as every child/gymnast is different, every parent/child relationship is different. I had to coach my four year old for a year. I swore that I'd never do it again. It's different because he was so much younger, but he spent the whole time vying for my attention -- usually in unacceptable ways. I figured that he needed to be taught by someone impartial so that he wouldn't mind other children receiving the coach's time and attention. We took him to swim lessons and he did far better in terms of attitude and behavior. Now he is asking to come back to gymnastics!

I competed under two coaches who did teach their own children. One had four daughters. The two oldest did ok -- some back talk, but overall hard workers and good gymnasts. The two younger were constantly causing problems in the gym. She ended up putting them in dance instead. They both ended up doing very well with dance and the home attitude got much better.

The other coach had two daughters. The older was a hard worker - a perfectionist. She did well in school and was always striving to please her parents. She ended up being a great collegiate gymnast. The younger struggled in school and seemed to be unable to outdo the older. She went to cheerleading. She ended up being a great cheerleader and was going to go to college and cheer. Instead she married a neat guy, had a family and ended up living close to her parents and having a great relationship with them!

I really don't have any advice, but just wanted to make the point that I don't think that every kid can be coached by his/her own parent. If you're in the position where you have no other gymnastics coach, then it might be ok to let him try other sports and activities. He may discover how much he loves gymnastics and come back with a better attitude. Or he might discover some other sport he enjoys and he may excel in it. I hope you can find a working solution for you both!
 

Valentin

Coach
Coach
Nov 12, 2007
376
USA
Hi

I think that universal approach to when you as the coach have to coach your own kids, is that its made very clear as soon as possible that when in the gym, they are a gymnast and you are a coach. When classes are done, Your are the Dad and they are your kid. Its important to clearly separate this out, that way conflict at the gym stays at the gym, because its between gymnast and coach, rather then father and son/daughter.

How to do that? well talking is the best way, come to an agreement. If you are having they are right you are wrong attitude, have THEM draw up or propose the terms of the agreement, and than you have to accepted rather then the other way around, otherwise you propose stuff (write it down) and discuss if its acceptable to both parties. That way they feel that you are there listening to them as the Dad, rather then being the coach at home as well. Its also important that your coaching style is not your parenting style necessarily. For example if in the gym you are all strict, no nonsense type of coach, its good if at home you are more laid back, easy going. This will clearly demonstrate your two roles, and will hopefully prevent confusion.
Also leave your coaching hat at the gym, when you leave the gym don't bring up gymnastics coaching, or what they did wrong that session or whatever... You have to play split personality.

Overall there are many parent gymnast relationship that have resulted in success so its clearly possible. however if your son or daughter isn't cut out for gymnastics its important to look at that as well, and be realistic, and give them alternative avenues.
 
E

emacmommy

Guest
I too am in that mom/coach of many hats role. So far things are going okay with my munchkin, but she gets sharp words when she crosses the line between "gym brat" (and I say that lovingly, since she is in the gym so much more than the average team kid) and being "part of the team. She's not snotty, but she does try and get away with less hard/quality work than her teammates, which does push that... do I discipline her like I would a team girl or does she get the sharp words from the parent side of me.

She's only 8 (almost 9), and we have managed to get to the point where I can use a warning lines like, "right now I am your coach, I don't want to have to use my mommy voice", or things similar. I do make sure she knows that even though I'm at work, I can always have her dad come get her if she isn't going to behave like she's part of the team. I also make sure the rest of her team mates know that I wouldn't discipline/scold them like I do her at times because it's such a different situation to be coaching your own daughter/child. I hope I'm laying the ground work so I don't have a prima donna "gym brat" attitude as she get's into the terrible tweens. It's hard enough to coach that age group for me, not to mention that tween be your own daughter.

I agree with keeping gym issues at the gym. I don't bring our differences home, however I do try and be the supportive parent at home, gauging her own gymnastics desires, goals, and trying to discuss at times what it takes to reach those goals. I'm not perfect, I'm sure there have been times where I've left the gym frustrated with her and hence had kind of a distant evening at home, but most of my frustrations aren't necessarily her behavior, which I've managed to keep in check, rather her ability to keep any sense of focus, anywhere. At the gym (oh, she really could be quite good, but she can only focus to average), or at school (she could be getting straight A's but unable to sit still and focus to finish school work, then forgets to bring it home to finish), or at home (can she finish a chore that takes longer than 5 minutes?). I have to walk a subtle line there, because I think this is a life skill that is just going to take her longer to grasp hold of.

I agree with much of what is said in previous posts. Every parent/child relationship is different. I've been somewhat lucky in that I do have one other team coach in the gym to temper her training with. We share responsibilities across all levels, and now that season is over, we integrate the boy's team coach into the mix too. So I don't have to be with her 100% of the time.

Good Luck and if you need a sounding board, just give me a PM.
 

kalgymcoach

Coach
Coach
Judge
Sep 8, 2009
46
Gosnells, Western Australia
Country
Australia
I too come from a small town, so I have coached all three of my children over the years. I have always maintained the attitude of "when in the gym, I am coach, you are gymnast". This worked for my first 2 children, one has a mental illness. My last one is the one that did my head in for a year. Wouldn't do anything I asked etc. I ended up "benching" her for most of her lessons, as nothing I said or did worked. I know that is harsh but she is young and could repeat the skills. This year she is just like everyone else. Nobody would think she was my child. Try and keep your chin up. My motto is if you can train your own child effectively, you can train anyone!
 
W

Wally

Guest
I was hoping to get some advice regarding how to deal with your own kids when coaching. Unfortunately I work at a very small gym and their is only myself and another coach so I'm in the unteniable position of having to coach my own kids.

My daughter had some issues with the mother/coach relationship last year but seems to have resolved some of them this year.

However, my son now seems to have developed some issues which I think is effecting not only his enjoyment of gymnastics but also our relationship outside the gym. He has trouble excepting criticism from myself and accuses me of being harder on him than the other kids. I don't believe I am as I'm trying very hard to be fair to my own children as well as the other kids in the class. I'm at a loss as to what to do because I would love him to continue with gymnastics but the situation appears to be affecting his enjoyment of gymnastics and I think is largely behind the additional arguments at home. If I say it's black he say's its white.

Any suggestions on the best way to deal with this? I've tried talking to him and so far I've got no where because apparently he's right and I'm wrong.

Cheers.
I think gyms all around the world have parents coaching their kids. Gosh I even had a grandkid for a short while. There are no easy answers. However, even though you say you aren't harder on your child, you can't always be sure. In hindsight, I think I was pretty tough on my eldest daughter when I coached her. I couldn't really see it though. I was a WAG coach and a school teacher at the same time and I once got a student teacher to do some data gathering of the way I responded to and asked questions in my class. Now I thought I was a pretty cool as in not having favourites or favouring any group but the data came out that I expected far more of the girls in the class possibly because I was coaching competitive girls. The point is that I just didn't see it.... on the surface, all the kids were ok with it because they liked & trusted me BUT it wasn't the best for the kids.

Devise a action research format for someone to observe you when you are coaching. Set it up so it is a simple TICK system . It might be on How you provide Feedback one time. Have a sheet of paper divided up into 4-6 sections. 1. Positive Feedback 2. Negative Feedback 3. Neutral Feedback (Ok, try it again. eg) 4. Short Feedback 5. Long Feedback. 6. Animated Feedback.

Get a friend/parent/other coach to observe & fill in the checklist. Eachtime you give feedback to a child that child's initials are put into the section that best describes the feedback. SOMETIMES this sort of research can give you heeps of helpful stuff....SOMETIMES nothing!

Vary what you research.
 
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