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For Parents Devastated Gymmie/Need HELP

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Jun 11, 2008
60
Region 1
Something horrible has happened for our gym. We went to (level 4) practice today and the gym was practically empty. The owner apologized that we obviously didn't get the "email" he sent to everyone about the *situation*. The ENTIRE team coaching staff quit and practice is put on hold until further notice but possibly Friday he hopes to have a team of new coaches and a new plan for the gym.

I do not know the details about what this is about but had something to do with a power struggle between the owner and head coach possibly about coaching style and $$. The head coach I think was fired and the rest of the coaches resigned with her. My gymmie is devastated and can't stop crying. The head coach was an awesome woman and coach and we had a very successful year with 20 state champion titles.

We don't know how something this big could get this far and now we are unsure on what our next move is. PLEASE help me decide on what to do.

Option 1: We wait a week to see if the owner can put together a new coaching staff (hoping it would be of similar level) and stick with the current gym. My gut feeling is what if we stick it out only to have it all go under (financially, I think) in 6 months. I don't know if I trust the owner becasue we have no insight to what the fight was about and if he was justified. Because ALL the coaches left, it makes me think it was him who might have the issues and trust would be broken for us.

Option 2: There is another gym in the area but they are not at the same level of competition. Meaning, they are a great rec gym, great price, but they do not produce champions or have the potential to turn out college and elite. However, they told me that they only have 2 spots for level four and some of the other families had already inquired. If we want the spot we can have it but need to decide tomorrow (Wednesday). DD is a "fast track" gymnast meaning that the old gym was pushing her to the top. Would this gym be a huge set back? Perhaps better than nothing?

Option 3 is not possible for us due to the size of our family. Some of the parents decided to wait the week and see. If it does not work out, they will make the drive to the next compatible gym (1 1/2 hours for one way). They would carpool but I can't becasue I have 5 young children and no room for other passengers. These are the few other girls that are gifted gymnasts and they advised that I do not put my daughter in option #2 because it would not meet her level of needs.

ACK, what are we to do? What would you do?
 

Linsul

Active Member
Sep 19, 2008
876
Pripyat
Sounds like you think highly of the head coach. If you have a way to get in touch with her, I'd burn up the phone lines. You don't have to ask her for details. If in your gut you think she and her fellow coaches are big part of why you & DD had success, ask her what her plan is. She may have another gym in mind, who knows? With all the coaches walking out it sounds premeditated, so there may be more to this plan, mutiny, whatever you want to call it.

Be honest and tell her that you are disappointed and don't like the options before you in the current situation. If she cares about her gymnasts she'll have to respect that she owes you an answer after all all the hard work and dedication you guys put in on your end.

On a personal note, I'm very sorry to hear this. When coaching and business butt heads worlds can collide. Not saying that's the case, but the only times I ever saw a HC walk out were over huge differences in those areas. Truly I hope you can get answers from her that give you clarity.
 
M

momofagymmie

Guest
wow! what a fiasco! My thinking might go like this: Plan A. try and call the HC. See where she may go and follow her. Plan b., Go to the nearby not as competitive gym. I think perhaps some of the coaches may end up at the nearby gym soon enough. they can't all leave your area. Plan c or future plan b. I'd keep her at the small gym level 4-6 then if she's still serious about continuing move her to the one an hour away. I'd be real hesitant to stay at a gym that had all the coaches leave suddenly like that.
 

bogwoppit

Former Admin
Gold Membership
Former Gymnast
Feb 26, 2007
16,720
Country
Canada
Sadly you, like many of us, are stuck between a rock and a hard place. I would ask for more info from the owner about your gym, long term plans etc.

Clearly if your home gym doesn't stay afloat you will have to go to gym B unless you could make a financial arrangement for either you 4 other kids to be cared for or your gymmie to have a ride. But a 3 hour gym ride is enough to stop any child doing gym, I know we did it for training one summer, we didn't even have school to contend with and it nearly killed the kids!!! Let alone the costs of being on the road for 3 hours with 5 kids!

I wish I could help more, but sadly above all gyms are money making businesses and have employees, if the money isn't flowing right or the employees are miserable things can, will and probably should change.

Bites.
 
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nettyinpa

Guest
Wow, to have one coach leave is hard enough but to have them all go?? Was it all the Level 4 coaches or every level? I smell something fishy going on. :stinkyfeet: This must've been an on-going thing that they were just waiting for the right time to take that step. I would try and find out where the head coach went and see if they're planning to open up a new gym or what. They're bound to go to another local gym so maybe this other, closer gym you're looking at will have some new coaches and a new program? Either way, it's not a good situation at your current gym. Getting all new coaches for any level will not be an easy thing. Getting one coach is hard enough. Does the owner honestly think that all the gymnasts are going to stick around? How does he think he's going to pay for new coaches if he doesn't have any gymnasts? I wish you all the best in your decision, whatever it is you decide!
 
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Tim_Dad

Member
Nov 3, 2008
414
Region IV (Missouri)
Honestly, If it were me: I'd wait and see what the Gym does first. Especially since you dont know the gorey details.

Since it's clear the kids weren't a high priority for the coaches when they decided to walk out, I would give the Gym a chance to clear it up.

Who knows... you may end up with a new coaching staff that's even better! It wouldn't be the first time it's happened.
 
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NOG

Guest
:eek: I would try and contact the HC, this sounds like a planned mutiny. Since all the coaches left in support, I would think that they may be opening a gym together themselves and eliminating the owner problem.
:confused:I've seen this happen to teams that my dd has competed against. In those cases, the HC and all the optional coaches left and opened their own gym within a few weeks. I talked the mom of a girl that decided not to go with the "new team" and she was unsure if she had made the right decision - to stay with gym and not follow the HC-. She was the only girl to stay and not follow the HC. Therefore, she felt left out and alienated from her former teammates and missed them (not that you should base a decsion on that alone). That feeling compounded when they met the "new" team at meets and the "new" team placed higher than her daughter. The "new team" started strong, what with all the coaching and team members ready and waiting, whereas the old gym had to start from scratch with only 1 girl and no ready coaching for anyone above a level 4/5. That year they only had 3 girls competing (all level 4).
:eek:For a gym, starting over is very hard, and with an entire coaching staff walking out the rumors fly. Coaches talk and it will be hard to get high level coaching to step into that situation.
If your dd is really serious about fast tracking, I hope that the former coaches are opening a gym nearby, or try to find a way to get into that carpool (babysitting for the other 4 kids maybe). A year at an inferior gym can be detrimental to a fast tracking gymnast. Don't go to the other local gym unless there really are NO other options. I don't mean to sound so pessimistic, but I'd hate for you to stick it and find yourself facing the same question in a few months. I hope that your dds gym can recover, but I thought you ought to know what the gym faces.

;)Good Luck with a hard decision!
 
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ZJsMom

Active Member
Former Gymnast
Proud Parent
May 11, 2007
998
Pacific NW
Country
USA
We had a major coaching turnover at our gym too so I can relate to what you're going through. It will be hard for your dd, but you just have to approach it as a learning experience for her and look for the teachable moments. As to what to do, remember that most decisions aren't irrevocable. I'm inclined to say take the spot at the other local gym. My guess would be that if the old gym is able to stabilize and bring on a new coaching staff, you could go back. And you could keep the option of the far away gym in your back pocket. You could explore whether you could get into the car pool and, instead of taking a turn driving, chip in $20 a week for gas.
 
Jun 11, 2008
60
Region 1
I've been able to get in touch with some other parents and everyone is as devastated as we are.

To answer some of your questions. Yes, it was the ENTIRE team staff of every level 4-10. Now, that is only four coaches but they were very good and like I said, we had 20 state champion titles for compulsory 08 and Regional champions as well as western qualifiers for optionals.

I am unable to speak to the coaches becasue I do not have their personal numbers and the gym owner so far isn't speaking. The booster club is urging the owner to call an emergency parent meeting to discuss this mess.

I think the other coaches would open a gym if it were possible but none of the other parents think it is a probability given the USA economic situation. We have some wealthy parents but the amount is still too much $$$. Not totally ruled out though, just not at this time.

What the other parents are telling me is that they are waiting till the end of the week to see if the owner can get a whole new team staff. If he can not, then for them, it is a safety issue for one. For two, if the coaches are not of a comparable level for our champion girls, then those champion girls will most likely make the travel. Not everyone can do this and the other ones will either join the lower level gym (they don't have an optional program) or drop gymnastics because there is no other gym.

All that being said, it boils down to 1) waiting on the owner - can he really accomplish the task in a short amount of time? I wonder if it could take years to rebuild the program. 2) If the gym goes under, the other local gym told me they ONLY HAVE 2 SPOTS for level 4. Do I grab it before someone else does and risk my dd losing skills but take a "lets just do it for fun" approach? I don't want to sound like we are overly into ourselves but, yes, she really is a fast track gymnast. They were expecting her to go all the way and she has the attitude and desire to do it. The "whole" package I guess you could call it.

If we decide to join a far away gym, we could possibly move closer but that would be at least a year away, maybe 2-3 years.

I guess after all my rambling it's coming to the question of will the lesser gym hurt her career? Don't laugh at me but she is only 6 years old. I hate to call it a career for a 6 year old but seriously, she has the potential to do it and wants to.

Ugg this really sucks and to make it worse, there is the crunch of making a move before someone else takes the spots. :confused:
 

Linsul

Active Member
Sep 19, 2008
876
Pripyat
If you're willing to give the gym owner til the end of week to give you guys a game plan, then give it to him straight. You have every reason to be looking at your options right now. This is chaos, and you need to restore order to you and your daughters world. If you put it to him like that in a calm way, then I doubt you'll be burning any bridges should you end up choosing to leave and then for some reason come back.

Will it ruin your daughters career? Doubtful. Without knowing your daughter there's only so much a gym can say up front. If she comes in and blows them away she may very well find herself back on the fast track. Another thing to consider is the potential reasons behind why the other gym is a lesser gym. Coaches can only take an athlete so far. Their current group may have just reached their potential is all. If there is no new talent walking through the doors, or the current talent is localized at another gym, then maybe you guys will be the infusion they need.
 

kristilyn73

Active Member
Jan 17, 2008
1,326
Minnesota
I dont know of many people who can walk out of their job and not have something on the back burner. Financially that is... It makes me think that maybe these coaches are going to a different gym. Maybe the other gym in town.

Remember you are not contracted into anything. If you try the new gym you can always go back to the old gym...

good luck - try to tell DD that when a door closes a window opens somewhere.. where that is no one knows but the surprise might be worthwhile.
 
F

flippersmom

Guest
That really is a bad situation.

To play devil's advocate, she is only 6 you said. It is easy to have that desire at that age. I've seen lots of girls who could have gone "all the way", but have either left due to injury, or who simply have had enough and wanted to do other things. When making your decision, keep this in mind. Skills may get harder when she gets older also. Puberty is a trying time for gymnast, and is a turning point for many.

When you consider moving your family or letting your daughter commute 3 hours a day for practice, please just keep this in mind. Make sure it is worth all that you put into it. And make sure that if she decided she is done at 14, that you will not hold all that you have done over her head.

That being said, I understand your desire to give her every opportunity, especially having been told she has great potential. At the 2nd gym, have you seen them at meets. How do they look? Do they have a good style? Can you do a trial there this week, get her into a practice to see if she and you like it? Although it may not hurt to go there in the meantime, realize that she could build bad habits that take twice as long (or longer) to break. I would also try to do a search for the coaches and see if anything turns up. They must have something up.

Good luck with your decision.
 
Jan 22, 2008
437
If it were me I would be trying to get one of the coaches phone numbers. I have all our coaches home and cell phone numbers. I am sure someone has that information that is not the gym owner. When you travel to meets don't you all have that information just incase something happens? I would try to get more of the picture. I would go ahead and hold her spot at the "lesser" gym just to make sure you have a backup. You can try it and if it isn't going to work then leave. I have a feeling if the entire staff left at the same time they are all going somewhere together. Someone in the gym has to have the story.

I know the girls/parents that are close to each coach. I would start there and try to put the puzzle together. Also check the e-mail distribution lists and see if you can locate any of the coaches E-mails and try to contact them. Explain your situation and let them know you value their opinion.

Good luck
 

kevchriswilli

Member
Proud Parent
Sep 4, 2008
345
Dallas, TX
Country
USA
I'm really surprised the coaches did not take atleast their optionals with them... Most of the time when coaches leave they let you know and let you know where they are going, especially if it's the whole coaching staff. Did any other gymnasts leave? I would bet they are at another gym. Sorry you are going through this. I would try to find them if you really admire them.
 
T

TeamDad

Guest
What the other parents are telling me is that they are waiting till the end of the week to see if the owner can get a whole new team staff. If he can not, then for them, it is a safety issue for one. For two, if the coaches are not of a comparable level for our champion girls, then those champion girls will most likely make the travel. Not everyone can do this and the other ones will either join the lower level gym (they don't have an optional program) or drop gymnastics because there is no other gym.

All that being said, it boils down to 1) waiting on the owner - can he really accomplish the task in a short amount of time? I wonder if it could take years to rebuild the program. 2) If the gym goes under, the other local gym told me they ONLY HAVE 2 SPOTS for level 4. Do I grab it before someone else does and risk my dd losing skills but take a "lets just do it for fun" approach? I don't want to sound like we are overly into ourselves but, yes, she really is a fast track gymnast. They were expecting her to go all the way and she has the attitude and desire to do it. The "whole" package I guess you could call it.

If we decide to join a far away gym, we could possibly move closer but that would be at least a year away, maybe 2-3 years.

I guess after all my rambling it's coming to the question of will the lesser gym hurt her career? Don't laugh at me but she is only 6 years old. I hate to call it a career for a 6 year old but seriously, she has the potential to do it and wants to.

Ugg this really sucks and to make it worse, there is the crunch of making a move before someone else takes the spots. :confused:

I know this is a tough situation and you are a little stressed out right now, but that is all the more reason to wait a week to see what the owner does. If it is a good and 'safe' facility and the owner is dedicated to having a good organized program with a top notch coaching staff, then this would be my first choice.

Considering the other program doesn't train optionals, it really doesn't sound like a good fit, but it might be worth looking at the facility to see if they have the space, equipment and pits and so on to grow the program and provide a professional and safe facility and staff. You have to keep in mind that the 'team' aspect of gymnastics probably isn't the most profitable and the real money is usually made offering recreational classes so it takes an owner with a real dedication to 'want' to have and support a competitive team and provide a high level coaching staff.

With all that said, moving the entire family closer to a gym or commuting 2-3 hours can add alot of stress and it might be a good time for a reality check. While it is admirable that you want to support your DD's passion for the sport, not many kids go 'all the way'. This is probably a good time for patience. This Q&A might be helpful to you, so I'll attach it here:
------------------------------------------------

Question
Hi,
I've read your previous responses about TOP's so I thought I'd ask you my question. I have a almost 8 year old daughter who finished competing Level 4 with a 35AA and is just starting level 5. Her gym started a TOP's program a few months ago but my daughter was not invited. Just she and one other girl in their group of 6 were not asked. The reasoning is that she is not strong enough. I understand this as I can see her being "not as strong" as some of the other girls. My question is.. how much of a disadvantage will she be at by not being a part of this program. I am afraid the other children will just get keep getting stronger and further ahead, as I see it happening already. How important do you think this will be in her success at gymnastics? I'm worried she might not be strong enough to do the harder skills. Her coach refuses to put her on a home conditioning program, because he says she doesn't need it.. yet, he asks her to come to 1 hour privates once a week to get stronger. Don't you think these needs could be met by letting her do the TOP's program?

Thank you,

Answer
Dear ---,

Some of these are scary questions to answer not knowing your daughter's capabilities personally, and not knowing the motivations of the coach.

What I am trying to say is that I always like to assign positive motivations to each person's actions unless otherwise persuaded.

So, let me apologize to everyone if I misinterpret or step on anyone's toes. With that said, I tackle your first question.

"How much of a disadvantage will she be at by not being a part of this program?"

This answer to this question has a good news / bad news quality to it. The bad news (for you) is that any program designed to streamline a process will always produce the intended effects (I.E. strength, skill development) quicker than a less focused program.

The good news is that your daughter may not suffer the potential burnout and disillusionment suffered by parents and athletes who thought this program was their ticket to fame and fortune.

I believe the minimum age to compete in the Olympics is 16. Your daughter is not even 8 yet. How will you and her coach maintain her interest and desire for 8 more years without burning her out?

It is a major sacrifice to be on any national or international team and that becomes increasingly more difficult as technology and society change.

And, did you know that only 6 gymnasts make the Olympic squad?

If you check the past few Olympics you will see that more than a few gymnast's were actually repeats from former Olympics, which means there were fewer than 6 spots available for upcoming gymnasts. Add to that a selection procedure which has drastically changed, where a child could achieve a score to make the team but get bumped so a "panel" could decide the best team makeup - for the benefit of the USA team - forget sacfricing and earning the right by dint of hard work. It doesn't exist anymore.

Please understand this is not an indictment of the system. Gymnastics "powers that be" may be doing what is necessary to field top level squads which has been evidenced in several international competitions, but that does not make the procedure an easy pill to swallow. Unfortunately, it is the reality.

Keeping all of that in mind, you might be better off allowing your daughter a more "normal" childhood and focus her gymnastics aspirations on a more lucrative (educationally and financially) course for the College Green rather than the Olympic Gold.

Does that mean she still cannot make the Olympics, the World Games or some National team? No, she still can. It simply means those are a byproduct of a more rational training and goal system - in my opinion.

"How important do you think this will be in her success at gymnastics?"

I believe I may have already answered this question in my diatribe above.

Regarding conditioning, it cannot and will never happen in a 1 hour private class per week. For conditioning to be effective, just like gymnastics training, it must occur in spaced repetition workouts - say every Monday - Wednesday - Friday. Your daughter does a strength circuit on Monday, allows 48 hours for rest and recuperation of the muscles, and then repeats the strength workout on Wednesday, rest 48, and then repeats the workout on Friday. Ask any pediatrician, sports medical doctor, physical therapist, or athletic trainer.

I must be tired. I don't usually ramble on so much. Hopefully, this answer will give you some pause for thought and help you make a more informed decision about your daughter's gymnastics career.

Happy Holidays!
 
G

gymnut1

Guest
Wow that was a really interesting Q & A. thanks for that, good to know some different sides and ideas.
 
T

TeamDad

Guest
One more cut and paste:
---------------------------

Top 10 Things to Look for in a Gymnastics Team Program for Your Gymnast
By J Howard

An Atmosphere of Positive Psychology
Although these are not necessarily in any particular order, we have put this one first because it may be the most difficult to find. Gymnasts, athletes, humans in general react best to positive reinforcement, enthusiasm and confidence building. If you find that, you will almost also certainly find all of the following.


Pits
For any successful high-level team program, pits are a virtual necessity. Most good coaches would not even consider coaching in a facility that didn’t have pits. Parents should feel the same about putting their gymnasts into a facility without pits. Pits allow an extra degree of teaching, coaching and learning flexibility. Pits should be available for every event and apparatus type.


Trampolines
Trampolines are one of the most efficient training tools for gymnastics. They allow significant time saving advantages when doing skills like somersaults. Ideally, trampolines should be in the ground for extra safety. Training in a facility without or that doesn’t use trampolines will result in a slower learning curve for tumbling skills.


Tumble Tramp and/or Power Tumbling Strip
A tumble tramp is a long trampoline for working tumbling skills and power tumbling strips are fiberglass rod or slat floors that provide more bounce and softer landings. Both of these allow longer training sessions of tumbling with less wear and tear on gymnasts’ young bodies.


A High Level Competitive Team
This gives you the best indication of the level of coaching available in the gym. If there are not already Level 10 and Elite gymnasts in the gym, you rally have only a hope not a realistic expectation that your gymnast might reach those levels. High level team coaches will likely have trained the rest of the staff in their successful training techniques.


A Clean Facility
A clean facility says a lot about the type of organization that you are dealing with. Parents who are paying significant fees for training have a reasonable expectation that the surrounding sin which they are placing their child are much like their own home – clean.


A Very Organized Program
This is the best indication of whether a gym will have the organizational abilities required to put forth a top level team and gymnastics program. Missed deadlines, lateness and other similar organizational failings can result in missed competitive opportunities.


Sufficient Sets of Full Olympic and Training Equipment
Gymnasts require enough equipment that they will not have to waste valuable practice time waiting for equipment to open up for them to practice on. This means both enough equipment for other teammates and enough for any classes that are in the gym at the same time.


Sufficient Practice Time
While younger gymnasts should not train too much, there should be sufficient practice time available for gymnasts if they are to be competitive with other gyms and gymnasts. It is an unfair advantage if some teams are practicing more than your gymnast wants to and is able to.


An Effective Strength and Flexibility Program
All high level and successful gymnastics training programs have effective strength and flexibility programs. Effective gymnastics skill training and learning happens best if gymnasts are already strong enough and flexible enough to be able to perform the skills trying to be learned.
 
Jun 11, 2008
60
Region 1
An update...

Thanks to all the support and ideas on how to proceed. Thank you also to those who wanted to mention reality checks. I agree 100%. At the same time, I will provide every opportunity to nurture and grow my children's talents no matter what the sport or activity. Our family # one rule is to just have fun. If nobody is having fun, than it is not worth it. Thank you for your concerns though. Also, I'm sorry if my mention of moving scared anyone, my husband travels for work and we have a very large geographic area where we can set up "home base" and had already considered doing so, it would never have been based solely on gymnastics.

We did go to the lesser gym yesterday and we were very dissapointed. The coaches were nice and so were the girls but the facility was horrid. It was in a corner of several basketball courts (a community rec center) and while they had a blue tarp type of thing to block the "gym", there were stray basketballs entering the gym area. The vault run was in the basketball court with a basketball practice taking place. There was no foam pit, and only one very short tumble track, maybe enough room to do 2-3 bhs but no more. On the plus side my DD had fun being the superstar. Overall though, this gym program would never work.

The old gym owner has rescheduled practice for tonight. He is having the recreation head coach help with the level 4 and he hired a collegiate to handle level 5 and the owner will take 6-10. He says he is in the works of hiring more higher qualified. So we will go to the old gym tonight and see what the atmosphere is and what other gymnasts show up.

Unfortunately, the other parents (and myself) are very dissapointed with the owner's attitude towards this situation. He started a witch hunt so to speak, to see which families were planning to go elsewhere. Lawsuits were threatened if parents went to an upcoming major meet with the old coaches as independants. All that and we found out that the reason the coaches left was mostly due to his own unproffessional behavior and language towards the coaches.

We are unsure of how this will all end, hopefully the owner learned his lesson and will not repeat. For us, I think it will end up being decided on the other families. If they all walk, then we probably will too because at that point he may very well be out of business anyway.

The sadest part is that all this silly behavior has devastated the girls. They are the real victims of this but so far, the owner has not fully addressed what his actions did to them. Keeping fingers crossed!
 
G

gymnut1

Guest
I really feel for your - I hope it goes well tonight. At the least you can keep your dd 'ticking over' until something is sorted out. Good Luck.
 
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