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Dealing with Coaches and Favoritism

GymMomma2019

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Has anyone dealt with their DD coach showing favoritism?
My daughter is a fairly new optional and she is so excited!
Well at her gym all of the optionals practice together but a few of the parents have noticed that the head coach pays more attention to certain girls.
For instance, the coach will give out assignments for all the girls to do all by levels however she has recently been giving one girl additional assignments. The girl is in the same level as my daughter and she is not one of the most talented however her mom, the girl and now the coach have really been pushing for her to do upper skills far beyond her level. The coach sets aside more time with the girl learning the skills while everyone else is doing their “assignments “. She is supposedly getting the skills “somewhat “ but her technique is awful-as notes by one of the judges that volunteers at the gym stating it. But the head coach has always preached that she would not have the girls do a skill if they don’t do it correctly (proper technique/form/execution) primarily due to risk for injury on top of low scoring BUT she is allowing this gymnast to do the exact thing. As parents we are not understanding as to why our daughters are not getting the same opportunities. Our girls are just as capable if not more capable of trying the skills. Some of the actual girls including my daughter has addressed her concern and she wants to work towards other upper skills as well. We are not sure if the girl and her mom are trying to get her to move up earlier or what -either way the parents feel as though this is not the way to handle it. All of the girls should be given equal opportunity.

As parents how would you handle this situation? Let it go or address it?
FYI this is not the only situation just the most prominent at the moment.
 

triplethreat+1

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You really really really cannot look at any gymnasts progression other than your own. For one, it will turn you CGM! It has nothing to do with how you and the other parents feel about a gymnast moving up and how they are going about it.
Equal opportunity does not mean each gymnast is treated the same, they are not clones of each other and will need different things at different times. It's a problem if one gymnast consistently gets extra attention to the point that the others are not getting what they need. If gymnasts gets extra at different times, so that it seems the coach is focusing on one and then another, that is perfectly valid and I would say a good indication that they treat each gymnast individually according to her needs.
But unless you are a gym coach, you will not see what the coaches see in terms of potential and what is best for each individual. For example back when my odd was in level 3, there was a girl in her level that was clearly way better and had way higher skills on floor and beam. I was frustrated that my dd had to compete against her, thought she should be a level up. Well, she had a total block against jumping to the high bar and was hysterical at the thought of doing level 4. I would never have known if my dd hadn't been a friend of hers.
In any case, would you really want your dd to be like her, doing skills far beyond her level with terrible technique?
If your dd would like to uptrain some higher skills, she should talk to her coach (without mentioning the other girl).
 

gymbeam

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While I understand it’s hard to accept sometimes, It is very common for coaching to be individualized like that. And the higher level you go, the more that becomes the norm. The individualization can be in the form of more hours, different groups, different coaches, or just more “attention” like you’re experiencing.

Just try to remember that the coaches really do want each kid to reach their fullest potential. They aren’t going to completely sacrifice the success of your daughter and everyone else for this one person who may be getting to uptrain a little more.

You said your daughter is a new optional. In my experience it is right around that time this becomes even more common. The girls all get used to pretty much moving through the levels as a herd up through compulsory and then comes optionals where, like I said, journeys become much more individualized.
 

Jenny

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Each to their own journey. And each journey is different. In optionals girls will tailor their skills to their strong points. A good coach will individualise training. As long as your dd is getting what she needs, is happy and progressing, try and look away. It will drive you crazy if you let it.
 

ldw4mlo

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A few things come to mind.

Fair is not everyone getting the same thing. It’s everyone getting what they need.

In gymnastics I stay out of the gossip and the folks in the window counting how many times a gymnast does something or how many times a coach speaks with each gymnast. In fact I make it a point to stay out of the gym. And try to talk about anything but gymnastics with other parents.

When I do have concerns that relate specifically to my daughter I meet with her coaches. It doesn’t happen often. But when it does I talk to them. And our coaches keep it to my daughter. The last chat was 2 years ago. When my daughter stayed at level 5 when the rest of her team went to 6/7 quicker then her. Bottom line my kids bars weren’t ready. The coach didn’t discuss the other kids specifically and they weren’t my concern. I knew they had a reason. I wanted to know the reason. I got my answer.

And now all the girls including mine are doing L8. The coaches got them all to where the kids are supposed to be. Even though it “appeared” mine was left behind. The journey is different for everyone of them.

If you are concerned about your daughters path and the plan ask. The other kids are not your concern.
 

GymMomma2019

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Maybe I vented and worded some things wrong because I’m not a CGM whatsoever and have never been characterized as one. What I’m mentioning is from other parents who sit in the lobby and discuss who are extremely CGMs and no I do not partake in gossip-this comes from other parents discussing issues loudly in the gym lobby and afterwards (I admit) I did begin to notice. My focus is not the progression of the girl but the focus on one gymnast when you have 16 others not being coached is a concern which places the girls at higher risk for getting injured, doing skills incorrectly, etc. due to coaches not coaching them. My daughter also had a concern as well which is why I brought it up. I really wish I could go more in depth with some things but if I do I risk mentioning our gym and I don’t want that. But I feel as though it would better explain so no one will think that I’m a CGM that just sits, watches, and complains (no that’s the 5 other moms in the gym lobby lol!!). I’m so far from that if you only knew! And yes, I believe in individualization however to a certain point. When it’s like a private lesson being carried out during practice-that’s when I have a concern. A lot of parents I guess believe in just turning their heads and saying it will be okay but when there is a concern, I’m sorry but I like to speak up. I am one of those moms that NEVER say anything. As for sitting in the gym, I have no other choice for the most part because we travel over 1.5hrs to her gym so I can’t just really up and go home each day or leave the gym every day. Nonetheless, thank you all for your responses I truly appreciate it. I get it 100%! Maybe it came across wrong because I mentioned the girl’s skills which I shouldn’t have but I thought it fit in with my example so I apologize for that.
Some points were very valid and spot on but some I do feel as though I may have come across the wrong way so I apologize for that. Thank you all!!
 
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John

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@GymMomma2019 I personally did not see your post as CGM. My DD was a favorite at her old gym, it was not a good thing. The pressure to be successful was intense. I moved her, forced move, it was very hard. Her current gym is fair to all girls. Everyone gets what they need. I will say that there are times a girl struggles and draws the extra attention of a coach. I like this. I know there are favorites because athletes and coaches are people and not all people like each other with the same intensity. It shouldn't be obvious!

A thought on parenting a gymnast. It is not like any other sport. It is a hard thing to do. My son played traditional sports and for a parent to watch baseball or football practice was the norm. Wrestling was the only sport he participated in that even came close to gymnastics. I do not see anything wrong with watching practice when you want to show your athlete you are invested in what they are doing. I find the kids like a parent to watch just not offer coaching.
 

gymbeam

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My focus is not the progression of the girl but the focus on one gymnast when you have 16 others not being coached is a concern which places the girls at higher risk for getting injured, doing skills incorrectly, etc. due to coaches not coaching them.
Hmmm, well this isn’t at all what you said in your original post though. You actually said your concerns WERE primarily about the other girls skills and you specifically stated you didn’t understand why your daughter wasn’t getting the same opportunity to try those harder skills. That was clearly what you said the issue is.

Anyway, if there’s a safety issue, definitely address that, but just do be careful not to let the green-eyed monster cloud your judgement of what’s going on. Best wishes!
 

Freddy's Fred

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Hmmm, well this isn’t at all what you said in your original post though. You actually said your concerns WERE primarily about the other girls skills and you specifically stated you didn’t understand why your daughter wasn’t getting the same opportunity to try those harder skills. That was clearly what you said the issue is.

Anyway, if there’s a safety issue, definitely address that, but just do be careful not to let the green-eyed monster cloud your judgement of what’s going on. Best wishes!
Has anyone dealt with their DD coach showing favoritism?
My daughter is a fairly new optional and she is so excited!
Well at her gym all of the optionals practice together but a few of the parents have noticed that the head coach pays more attention to certain girls.
For instance, the coach will give out assignments for all the girls to do all by levels however she has recently been giving one girl additional assignments. The girl is in the same level as my daughter and she is not one of the most talented however her mom, the girl and now the coach have really been pushing for her to do upper skills far beyond her level. The coach sets aside more time with the girl learning the skills while everyone else is doing their “assignments “. She is supposedly getting the skills “somewhat “ but her technique is awful-as notes by one of the judges that volunteers at the gym stating it. But the head coach has always preached that she would not have the girls do a skill if they don’t do it correctly (proper technique/form/execution) primarily due to risk for injury on top of low scoring BUT she is allowing this gymnast to do the exact thing. As parents we are not understanding as to why our daughters are not getting the same opportunities. Our girls are just as capable if not more capable of trying the skills. Some of the actual girls including my daughter has addressed her concern and she wants to work towards other upper skills as well. We are not sure if the girl and her mom are trying to get her to move up earlier or what -either way the parents feel as though this is not the way to handle it. All of the girls should be given equal opportunity.

As parents how would you handle this situation? Let it go or address it?
FYI this is not the only situation just the most prominent at the moment.
Don't watch practice often. Don't pay attention to what's going on with kids other than yours. If you have concerns, go directly to the coach. You can make yourself crazy so easily in this sport. The less I know, the happier I am. I am much better of now that my kids are old enough to manage all this stuff on their own.
 

GymMomma2019

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Hmmm, well this isn’t at all what you said in your original post though. You actually said your concerns WERE primarily about the other girls skills and you specifically stated you didn’t understand why your daughter wasn’t getting the same opportunity to try those harder skills. That was clearly what you said the issue is.

Anyway, if there’s a safety issue, definitely address that, but just do be careful not to let the green-eyed monster cloud your judgement of what’s going on. Best wishes!

I did say that maybe I stated things wrong out of venting. I did say that I admitted that. And there is no green eyed monster- it honestly came across the wrong way. But once again thank you so much!
 

GymMomma2019

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Hmmm, well this isn’t at all what you said in your original post though. You actually said your concerns WERE primarily about the other girls skills and you specifically stated you didn’t understand why your daughter wasn’t getting the same opportunity to try those harder skills. That was clearly what you said the issue is.

Anyway, if there’s a safety issue, definitely address that, but just do be careful not to let the green-eyed monster cloud your judgement of what’s going on. Best wishes!

ONCE AGAIN- I did admit maybe I worded it wrong out of venting. I stated that. And there is no green eyed monster believe me. Thank you for addressing what I said in my post and dissecting it but I did say things wrong due to venting now that I read my message. I admitted that. But thank you so much!
 

Aussie_coach

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Favouritism is always going to be a part of our sport, and of sport and life in general. Even the best coaches, who hide it well and convince everyone that they don't have favourites, actually do have favourites. It is human nature to be drawn to certain people more than others, to he on with certain people more than others and to dislike certain people for reasons that might not make sense.

Great coaches are aware that they have favourites and do their best to make sure the kids can never work out who they are. But many can't do this because they don't like the idea that a coach would have favourites so can't admit to themselves that they actually do.

I would not speak up about this to the coaches and staff because it's likely to end badly. Most people do not want to admit that they would every treat certain gymnasts differently and any accusations would be met with vehement denial and anger. Doing things like blaming you and your child for being jealous is easier for a coach to handle in their own minds than theynidea that they may be coaching unfairly.

The other reality is, that as a coach you have certain kids who inspire you. You love to coach them and it motivates you to be a better coach every day, which benefits everyone.

Really one of the best ways to deal with this is to work on being an athlete who is as coschable as possible. Consistent attendance, arrives on time, brings a positive attitude, works hard. Applies corrections, persists when things are difficult etc.
 

gymbeam

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ONCE AGAIN- I did admit maybe I worded it wrong out of venting. I stated that. And there is no green eyed monster believe me. Thank you for addressing what I said in my post and dissecting it but I did say things wrong due to venting now that I read my message. I admitted that. But thank you so much!
Ok, but I didn’t dissect. Wasn’t necessary. You were pretty clear what you meant...
 

ldw4mlo

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If you have safety concerns and trust issues with the coaches. It is time to consider a gym move.
 

CLgym

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It can be hard when you feel like coaches aren't seeing your child's potential. I went through a period of doubt about a year and a half ago, when my daughter was passed over for TOPs and grouped with girls who appeared to be struggling. The coaching between the two groups was vastly different - both in terms of skills and attention. It didn't seem "fair" to me at all. For example, all summer, the TOPS group got the full spring floor, while the "other" group (my DD's group) had to wait in long lines to tumble one at a time down the rod floor. I think I even posted here and received similar feedback as you. Something that resonated with me was a comment I read that coaches and gyms want to see their gymnasts succeed. They want their gymnasts to progress and score well. It's how they attract other gymnasts. There is no benefit to the coach/gym to ignore the next Simone Biles. So I decided to let go and trust the process. Definitely was not easy for me. I had to literally force myself not to watch or ask too many questions.

Fast forward 18 months. My daughter was one of only a couple of girls selected to test TOPS last summer and, while she didn't qualify for national testing (I never expected her to), she was able to compete all four events + physical abilities and her scores improved every time she tested. She is now one of the higher scorers at her level (and while many in her first group repeated the level, but she did not and has moved up relatively quickly). She is particularly strong on one event, and is often pulled out with a teammate to work on separate drills on this event for skills two levels up. I've heard several parents grumbling that my DD is "favored" by this event coach, and one girl even told my DD that the only reason she's good on the event is because she is favored (not nice, I know).... Oh how the tables have turned.

This sport is such a long road. If you genuinely have safety concerns, then I would not hesitate to ask questions. This is obviously a potentially serious issue that should not be ignored. But if you trust your coaches and feel things are safe for your daughter, then I would advocate letting go. If you are stuck waiting at the gym during practice, maybe find a nearby library, yoga studio or Costco to kill time.

Good luck
 

Flippin'A

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Honestly, every young favorite I've ever known has burnt out either due to stress, injuries, or blocks. As others have said, you're actually in a better spot that your DD isn't being asked to uptrain in an unsafe way like this other gymnast. That being said, it is absolutely within your rights to speak up if the training arrangement seems unsafe. Or better yet, if your DD has concerns and feels comfortable doing it, it might be a good experience for her to speak up (with you backing her, of course.) All it has to be is "it makes me uncomfortable when no one's around to spot vault/bars/tumbling" whatever the issue is. Now, if such a simple request elicits a negative response or any kind of backlash, well then you've got your answer and it's time to switch gyms. I always tell my DD "eyes on your own paper" when she starts telling me that so and so is already training such and such, but that doesn't mean to ignore safety concerns. Good luck to you and your DD!
 

GymMomma2019

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Honestly, every young favorite I've ever known has burnt out either due to stress, injuries, or blocks. As others have said, you're actually in a better spot that your DD isn't being asked to uptrain in an unsafe way like this other gymnast. That being said, it is absolutely within your rights to speak up if the training arrangement seems unsafe. Or better yet, if your DD has concerns and feels comfortable doing it, it might be a good experience for her to speak up (with you backing her, of course.) All it has to be is "it makes me uncomfortable when no one's around to spot vault/bars/tumbling" whatever the issue is. Now, if such a simple request elicits a negative response or any kind of backlash, well then you've got your answer and it's time to switch gyms. I always tell my DD "eyes on your own paper" when she starts telling me that so and so is already training such and such, but that doesn't mean to ignore safety concerns. Good luck to you and your DD!

Thank you so much!!
 

josie55

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So much good and sound advice here. I agree that favoritism is a part of the deal. Sometimes it is for good reason. Sometimes it is confusing. Your post reminded me, though, of a period of time a while back when a friend in my dd’s group seemed to be getting about 90% of the bar coach’s attention. She was a higher level than others in the group, and arguably highest potential. It was annoying but I told myself to ignore it, and other parents kept their mouths shut also. The mom of the girl told me she felt awkward about it too and thought to say something but didn’t.

Fast forward a few months later — the coach moved on and the gym owner mentioned that she thought it was a problem and talked to the coach about it, but as nobody complained she didn’t do more. I found that interesting and it was a good reminder that we don’t always have to look the other way and keep our mouths shut.
 

GymMomma2019

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So much good and sound advice here. I agree that favoritism is a part of the deal. Sometimes it is for good reason. Sometimes it is confusing. Your post reminded me, though, of a period of time a while back when a friend in my dd’s group seemed to be getting about 90% of the bar coach’s attention. She was a higher level than others in the group, and arguably highest potential. It was annoying but I told myself to ignore it, and other parents kept their mouths shut also. The mom of the girl told me she felt awkward about it too and thought to say something but didn’t.

Fast forward a few months later — the coach moved on and the gym owner mentioned that she thought it was a problem and talked to the coach about it, but as nobody complained she didn’t do more. I found that interesting and it was a good reminder that we don’t always have to look the other way and keep our mouths shut.

Thank you!!! I agree :)
 

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