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Controversy at the gym

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cathiann

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I'm posting here to get feedback from everyone--coaches, parents and gymnasts.

This doesn't personally involve my daughter, but just wondering what everyone thinks of the situation. Yesterday (Sunday) we had our last meet of the season. The head coach (let's call him B) always says that the two nights before a meet you have to get to bed early and get good sleep. And that if you miss practice right before a meet for anything other than illness, you can't compete that meet (they do make exceptions for school events, etc.) That's the background.

So Friday night, three of the girls (2 level 7s and 1 level 8) decide to have a sleepover. The girls are in 8th grade and I think the level 8 is in 7th, but I"m not positive. (just saying they're old enough to know the rules and follow them). Rumor has it (through the parent in charge of the sleepover) that the girls were up past one--wouldn't go to bed. IN the morning (practice is at 8:30), they wouldn't get up. The head coach B had the office person (and team parent) call the house and tell the mom to tell the girls if they don't get to the gym immediately, they wouldn't be competing on Sunday. The girls reportedly FLEW out of bed. Go to the gym over an hour late.

At the gym second head coach (let's call her L) pulled the girls aside and yelled at them--then they had to apologize to their teammates for their behavior (on the theory that their actions affected the team and the team's chances of scoring well)

Two of the moms involved are furious (the third didn't really say much). One thinks it isn't a big deal that they miss practice occasionally--even right before a meet and if they miss the meet--who cares. The other mom said the coaches were totally wrong to yell at the girls--it was her fault (the mom's--she did say she tried to get the girls up and they wouldn't move) and the coaches should talk to her.

My thoughts: gymnastics is a sport--with ANY sport you have to make a commitment and if you miss practices you typically are pulled from a game or competition--this isn't unusual at all. And although it may be more individualistic that many sports, it IS a team. Our level 7 team has 5 girls--if 2 are missing are perform poorly because they got little sleep, it affects the entire team. I also think the girls are old enough to know better--they were told to go to bed earlier--and didn't. They were told to get up--and didn't. Yes, they should get yelled at. Maybe it'll make them think twice in the future. (hey, the coach B yelled at Beth at the meet last weekend--talked to her for 5 straight minutes about looking at him when he's talking to her (she never has in the past--drives me crazy too)---I watched and at this meet anytime a coach spoke to her, she looked straight at him/her LOL!)

But... what do you think?
 
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gymnut1

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From a coaches point of view having a sleepover before an 8.30 practise is to be avoided if possible. It is dangerous for these girls to be training level 7 and 8 moves with little sleep. If there were an accident the coach could be held responsible for allowing them to do moves they were not in a fit state to. At our gym girls are asked to let us know if they have had sleepovers so their training can be adjusted. Basically lots of stretching and conditioning.

I dont see any point in yelling at them. Their parents allowed them to have the sleepover and should take responsibility. When they refused to go to bed the parent there could have phoned the other parents and told them to come and collect them.

I can't see why they would want a sleepover so close to a meet. I think they do need other things in their lives but the timing of this was poor. If they broke a club rule then the girls and their parents should be spoken to (not yelled at) about it and take the consequences. I don't personally think it is nice to let your team down. If you want to miss a meet fine - just arrange it in advance, don't treat it like it doesn't matter. That is insulting to the coaches and the other girls trying their best.

I hope the bad feeling in the gym blows over soon. It can upset everyone.
 

Geoffrey Taucer

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I think what the coach did here was completely fair; the girls knew the rule.

I would be far more concerned if a coach made a rule like this and didn't follow through with it.

Yelling at them shouldn't have been necessary, but otherwise it sounds to me like the coaches handled this perfectly.
 

bogwoppit

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The rules were clear and were established in a way that ALL involved knew. THe parents and the girls were nbot respectful of the coaches policies and therefore they got yelled at. It would have been better without the yelling, but I am sure the coach was a very unhappy camper after having to call the girls.

As for sleepovers before meets, I just don't get it, why not the night after to celebrate. For the responsible parent she/he should of made sure the girls were sleeping or sent home.
 

CoachKat

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Oct 27, 2008
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I think that the rules are in place and that the parents in this situation did not and are not setting a good example. I mean by defending their actions the parents are sending the message to their daughters that they don't have to follow the coaches rules. As a coach I would be very dissapointed in both the girls and prents.
 

I-Heart-Beam

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Sep 9, 2007
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This actually happened at my gym.

I agree with your head coach. I don't know what age the girls are, but I'm guessing old enough to know the rules. If you're at an optional level, you have to show dedication, and they didn't do that IMHO.
 

gym law mom

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Poor choice on the part of the parents. If none of them had agreed to a sleepover on Friday night then none of this would have happened. If the one mom couldn't get them to sleep by about 10pm, she should have called the other parents to come get their kids. The girls should take some responsibility for not going to sleep earlier and not getting up until a they got a threatening call from the gym.

Don't know that yelling at them was needed although I don't know the personalities of the girls involved. A stern talking to certainly was called for and I agree with the apology to the team.

Sounds like the HC may need to follow up with at least the parent who doesn't think its a big deal to miss practice occasionally even before a meet and missing meets is ok too----that mom needs a reality check.
 

gymdog

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I don't think yelling in the gym is necessary under any circumstances except maybe to warn someone of oncoming danger. I don't like yelling, and it's not appropriate social behavior to model to kids in my opinion. If they're old enough to make the choices, they're old enough to be involved in a respectful and clear discussion about them (final say is from the authority side though).

But we weren't supposed to miss practice, and if you missed within two weeks of a meet, you couldn't compete (no exceptions).
 
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flippersmom

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Since all 3 are involved in gym, it seems like a bad decision on their and their parents parts. It's hard to say no when it involves friends from outside of gym, but in that case where the are at the gym together all the time the parents should have had no problem saying no. Save it for non-meet weekend. Or save it for after states and maybe left them miss the morning practice for that week. I know they are still kids, but you're right that it does have an impact on the whole team.

Hopefully they have learned their lesson and anyone tempted to repeat this will think twice.
 

eeyoretumbles

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Jul 13, 2008
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I think the girls deserve some slack. Yes, there is a meet coming up, and they should know their responsibilities, but they're teenagers or tweens, you know how they like to have fun and take a break from things :] I do think the parents had some responsibility and the girls should have taken some too. The yelling seems unnecessary to me. Maybe they should have been taken aside after practice, or something, the girls made a mistake, but for me being yelled out would probably make me more upset. For the apoligizing to the team, I'm not sure how much that would do good. Who knows how sincere the apology is, and I don't think it's necessary since the team probably saw the girls getting in trouble. For affecting the team at the meet, I always liked the team competition to be more for fun :]
 

JessMom

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Mar 6, 2009
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Honestly, I would not have hosted a sleepover a night when anyone had to go anywhere at 8:30am nor would I allow my DD to attend. That said, it's a clear rule. If I did choose to let my DD go it would be with the understanding that she was going to be up late and would probably be late.
 

Aussie_coach

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I think we need to respect the choices of the families in this equation as well. The coaches can make reccomendations for lifestyle and behavior outside the gym. But ultimatly they have no say. Its the parents choice.

I personally would not allow my child to have a sleepover the night before a meet, but that would be my personal choice as a parent. However, it is quite common for our girls to have sleepovers the night before training. For the good of training. The kids will train on friday night and perhaps stay with another child and come to training together on saturday morning. This works especially well if for some reason there will be issue's getting their child to training the next day. If you are the parent in charge you are responsible for making sure they get enough sleep, and if you are the parent of the child going over its a risk you take to allow your child to go. But it isnt the gyms choice.

As coaches we can reccomend what kids do and dont eat but we have no say over their diet outside the gym. This is the same.
 

Geoffrey Taucer

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I think we need to respect the choices of the families in this equation as well. The coaches can make reccomendations for lifestyle and behavior outside the gym. But ultimatly they have no say. Its the parents choice.

I personally would not allow my child to have a sleepover the night before a meet, but that would be my personal choice as a parent. However, it is quite common for our girls to have sleepovers the night before training. For the good of training. The kids will train on friday night and perhaps stay with another child and come to training together on saturday morning. This works especially well if for some reason there will be issue's getting their child to training the next day. If you are the parent in charge you are responsible for making sure they get enough sleep, and if you are the parent of the child going over its a risk you take to allow your child to go. But it isnt the gyms choice.

As coaches we can reccomend what kids do and dont eat but we have no say over their diet outside the gym. This is the same.

You make a very good point -- the question of whether the girls can have a sleepover and when they must go to bed is not within the coaches' jurisdiction. HOWEVER, the question of what meets the girls can and can't go to is completely within the coaches' jurisdiction; if the coach feels that the kid is disrespecting the team and possibly putting their safety at risk by not getting enough sleep and practice right before a meet, I think the coach is well within his rights to prohibit the girls from going to that meet.
 

mariposa

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I definitely think the parents have the most blame in this, what girls can go to sleep at a SLEEPOVER early? Practically impossible. The girls are also old enough to know better, they should have gone to sleep at a reasonable time. I disagree with the yelling at the girls (but I don't like yelling in general), but do think talking to them about it and having them apologize to their teammates would have been appropriate.

And I agree with Aussie for the most part, except that the coaches do have the right to have rules and expectations for meets and if families don't like it, I am sure there are other gyms that aren't as strict. It is common sense to me that girls need their sleep before training and a meet, but many people simply don't have common sense. LOL. Parents were in charge and parents failed to make sure the kids did what they should have.
 
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Linsul

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Sep 19, 2008
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It sounds like this is the first time it's happened at the gym...if I'm wrong correct me! Seems to me it can be chalked up as a learning experience. Rules are like anything, in theory they sound great, in practice (of breaking them) circumstances and how it's dealt with are a chance to re-evaluate and get a rule that focuses on the goal. Well rested gymnasts that are still allowed to have fun, and coaches that don't need to stress on yelling, punishment, etc.

The parents basically need to make a phone call pact I think. Be ready for a call at any hour should the kids not be sleeping. It sounds realistic to me whether a meet is upcoming or not! I wouldn't wish my cranky sleepy morning kid on any other parent lol! Gymnasts rely on parents for success and continued training already, paying tuition, getting to the gym on time, working a family schedule around the gym, doctor visits, traveling for meets, etc. This is just one more thing that out of the coaches hands but that the girls require, sleep!
 
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BlairBob

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I would fine the girls about 500 burpees the week after the meet. Failure to finish them after practice that week would mean it would get upped to 1000 the next.

He's not out of line. In fact, I think it's kind of poor taste they had a sleepover before a meet or before a practice. Not so much poor taste, just dumb. I wouldn't be so peeved if they had showed up at practice on time unless they were too tired to practice well.

Then again, part of me thinks, kids just gotta be kids sometime.
 

Granny Smith

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As a parent of a gymnast, I would never let my dd sleepover someone's house, even a fellow gymnast, the weekend of a meet. I understand that they are kids and my dd is the same age as those girls. My dd is a level 8 and at most she will compete 10 meets this season. That is only 10 weekends out of 52 weeks that she can't have a sleepover or go to one. I do not think that is being an irrational parent. Then again, I would never be put in that situation because my dd would never think to ask for a sleepover the weekend of a meet.

Maybe I am harsh, but as a coach I would have never contacted the girls to get them to practice and if I found out the real reason they did not make practice I would definitely consider scratching them from the meet. If there are rules in place and you commit the crime (such as if you miss a practice right before a meet without a valid excuse, no compete), then you do the time. There are consequences for actions and instead of the mom stepping up and saying blame me, it's my fault I couldn't get them up - no, blame the kids they are old enough to know better. JMHO.
 

gym monkeys mom

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Oct 3, 2007
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Cathiann that is a bummer of a situation to be put in for the team. Rules are rules and maybe the coachs didn't handel things right by yelling BUT kids need to suffer the consequences of their actions. We do our kids no favors by letting them not suffers the results of their actions. I am sure this will be a good learning time for all involved parents included.

We expect a lot of our gymnasts as parents and coaches it is a tough sport. However, they also need to be safe and lets face it lack of sleep leaves one open to injury.

My best wishes to your team as you grow through this tough experience.:eek:
 

kristilyn73

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Jan 17, 2008
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I learned very early on in my DD's competitive career that sleepover's on meet weekends were a terrible idea. In her first year of level 5 we let her have a sleep over on a Friday night, the meet was Sunday. She did terrible.. forgot her floor routine - did 3 backhandsprings instead of 2. :rolleyes:

Now that she is older sometimes things happen out of our control and a sleep over is required. For instance we did a traveling meet to Iowa (thankfully we were able to stay at my InLaws) but we brought Beetle's Bff her parents had a conflict and couldnt go.. They went to sleep right away.. they knew that they had to compete..that the sleep over was not a true sleep over.. it was just another night before a meet.

That all being said, I think that these girls were old enough to know better. They should be punished. Our gym is so small that we dont enter the team competitions at meets so that isnt as big of a deal for us.. but I think they need to realize that there are rules in place, they are there to help with the safety of the girls. Not to ruin their fun...
 
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gymnut1

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What has happened since the problem? Did they get to compete or not. Do you think they (and the parents) have learned a lesson! Hope your dd was not too upset by the turmoil.
 
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