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For Coaches Discipline for missing skill

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gym-mom-fla

Member
Proud Parent
Nov 15, 2008
185
Florida
Hello coaches! I am a long time lurker, new member to CB. I have found many of your answers invaluable as I watch my daughter enter the gymnastics world. My daughter is a 7 year old level 3 who does very well in competition and who has a solid work ethic. She very willingly sacrifices playdates and parties for gymnastics, and has only missed practice for sickness.

This week, she started warm-up on the level 3 vault with a much lower mat stack than usual (they always train the level 4 height). She was bending her arms and landing sideways, basically acting like she had never done the vault before. I guess she totally lost the rhythm she usually has because the vault felt so different to her. The other girls were struggling as well, but it was my daughter who was pulled out of practice and basically told she was level 2 for the day and she spent the next 2 1/2 hours working with the 2's. Nothing against the 2's, but she's been there, done that and scores in the 38's at every single meet. Now, here is my actual dilemma, I don't want to argue with the coach over how they run their team. But my daughter has no idea what she was being punished for! She was trying her best and it was just warm-up and she was really upset. I don't know how discipline is effective if the child does'nt even know what they did wrong! Needless to say, by the end of practice she was near tears. She does not want me to say anything because she is afraid it will make it worse. I don't want to make a huge deal out of it, but I don't want her to be treated this way in the future either. It is practice and everyone has a bad day once in awhile! If this is how level 3 is, what do we have to look forward to in the higher levvels?

Any input, including if you think I am totally over-reacting, I'm thick-skinned, promise, will be welcomed!
 

gymdog

Well-Known Member
Coach
Former Gymnast
Proud Relative
Jul 5, 2007
5,121
I would schedule a meeting with the coaches face to face if possible to discuss your concerns. Moving a level 3 to a L2 group is not the way I would handle unsatisfactory performance because we just don't have things set up that way and ultimately I think if it isn't affecting others, then I can only give the tools for success, I can't make anyone want to try every single minute of every day. But it's also my job to provide some level of motivation and help ward off frustration and discouragement, which can happen to the best of us. If they are trying but struggling then the only appropriate way to handle it is to continue to offer all forms of support to help them achieve the skill.

However I have seen girls moved into different groups just because that was the way it worked out, but I personally think for one day based on one exercise is silly, inefficient, and disruptive to all. Just my personal opinion and I wasn't there and have never seen your gym so to some extent it is impossible for me to say. Personally when a decision about grouping is made, I think it should have some level of permanency, not everyone moving in and out of groups as some form of punishment. Before making that decision I would probably just (in order) (a) pull the child aside for a moment and try to establish what the problem was (b) if I thought they were intentionally not trying to make the corrections, I would remove them to some form of easier conditioning exercise on the side and tell them when they can perform that satisfactorily they can come back (c) remove them from practice temporarily, "cool down" time for frustration or lack of focus (d) remove them from practice for the day or week if it was not working out and speak to parents about what the viable options are.

I have never even really get halfway through those steps to be honest and I think it would be a pretty intense circumstance to warrant getting all the way to (d) for a 7 yr old L3. In higher levels/older ages I think there can be higher expectations of course.
 
K

KBT

Guest
I think you need to talk to your daughter's coaches. We can only speculate about the situation and what the coach was trying to do and how it should have been handled. I don't think you're overreacting, and having talk with the coach should clear up the confusion and let you know how to proceed.
 

bogwoppit

Former Admin
Gold Membership
Former Gymnast
Feb 26, 2007
16,718
Country
Canada
I would definitely have a chat with the coach. I would just say that your DD was very upset after last weeks class when she was placed with the L2 group. Ask them to explain it to you so that you can explain it to your child. I am sure that during the course of the chat a lot of information will come out that will help you decide whether the coach was punitive or not.


In our gym if a child struggles with a skill there is no punishment, they might get some extra time with the coach, but if it is just a one off the coach would put it down to hunger or fatigue or just an off day.

Misbehaving is dealt with by sitting out or an embarrassing chat with the parents and the gymmie, that is usually all that is needed.

Your DD is very little and I would expect her gym experiences to be fun with the only tears being related to a boo boo.
 

gym-mom-fla

Member
Proud Parent
Nov 15, 2008
185
Florida
Thanks so much for all of your helpful replies. I talked to her coach today at practice and...they made her work with the 2's because they knew she could do better vaults than she was doing. Well, no kidding, but the mats were about a foot lower than she was used too...I don't know that anything was really resolved per se, but she did have a great practice and her vault was back on track (at the L4 height they usually use). So she came bouncing out of gym with a smile and all is well with her world, at least for now:).

This is a new gym for us (we moved from another state), and my daughter has done great so far. I do want to keep a closer eye on the discipline issue overall though...this is her fun, not her career! Thanks again...
 

gymdog

Well-Known Member
Coach
Former Gymnast
Proud Relative
Jul 5, 2007
5,121
I agree with the way you're handling it. It's not an egregious mishandling of the issue, but I do think it was unnecessary and probably unproductive. I'd just watch it. It's possible that it was a one time thing where there was some miscommunication between coaches or something, and so that was how they ended up handling it. Hopefully by talking to them they will be more mindful about the effect of this in the future.
 
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