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For Coaches Handling parents who think their child needs to be 'moved up'

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hammy

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I have one particular student who is not ready for the next level, and her mother keeps bugging me to move her up. I have told the mother that the child does not have all of the skills necessary and that she needs to learn how to control her body better (both for safety reasons and for mental reasons). I have explained to the mother that if her daughter does not have the necessary skills to move up that she will have problems with the next level. The mother believes that just having the skills is necessary, so I have also explained that the skills need to be done correctly and not just done (for instance she can do a back hip circle on bars but it is piked and she ends up laying on the bay).

Does anyone have any advice on how else to deal with parents like this. Her daughter comes two days a week (two different coaches) and she has been nagging both coaches about moving her daughter up.
 

bogwoppit

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Feb 26, 2007
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Could you make an official move up sheet? On it would be the the required skills, which can be circled to show where each child (really the child) is at....

BWO................. with spot............. aquired........... perfected
BHC................... with spot............. aquired.......... perfected

This way you can show Mom where her child is at and you can also let her know that the child will be evaluated along with the rest of the group at regular intervals and that when she has all the skills, to your required level, she will get to move up.

One of the hardest things for parents is not understanding that simplt having the skill is not enough, they need to have it explained that a skill needs to be perfected before a child can move to the next stage, whatever that is.

Sometimes you just have to repeat yourself a lot. But at least with skill sheets, you can just point to the lacking skills and shrug!:D
 

lannamavity

Member
Sep 13, 2007
409
way out West
I have one particular student who is not ready for the next level, and her mother keeps bugging me to move her up. I have told the mother that the child does not have all of the skills necessary and that she needs to learn how to control her body better (both for safety reasons and for mental reasons). I have explained to the mother that if her daughter does not have the necessary skills to move up that she will have problems with the next level. The mother believes that just having the skills is necessary, so I have also explained that the skills need to be done correctly and not just done (for instance she can do a back hip circle on bars but it is piked and she ends up laying on the bay).

Does anyone have any advice on how else to deal with parents like this. Her daughter comes two days a week (two different coaches) and she has been nagging both coaches about moving her daughter up.

Keep doing what you are doing (it's best to have a chart or move up requirement record of some kind) and enjoy working with the kids who are working hard and whose parents are realistic about their child's ability. They'll be gone soon. A lot of parents think that "being an advocate" for their child means nagging every coach, teacher etc. to DEATH.
 
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KBT

Guest
I would suggest the same thing as bog. Do you have an official list of skills required to move to the next level? At my gym we have a list of skills, and we test them every eight weeks on those skills. We want kids to be able to check off skills every eight weeks so many are listed twice, once with a spot and once on their own so we can track progress even when a kid hasn't fully acquired a skill. I'd show that list of skills to the parent and show that she's missing skills required to move up. You can't argue with the "official" list!
 

Linsul

Active Member
Sep 19, 2008
876
Pripyat
OH MY GOSH! One of the most frustrating situations EVER. I had the exact same situation at a gym back in Cali a few years back. Concerned mom, kid came 2 times a week, me and another coach. 15 minutes before and after class was spent with the mom, swearing up and down that her kid did 500 times better in the other class that week, which she was also telling the other coach.

My advice is for both you and her other coach to evaluate the child, then face the mom as a united front, evaluation sheets in hand. She will then probably bring up specific skill(s) that she thinks her daughter should have got marked higher for. Grab a team kid if one is around and not busy, and show the mom the skill as it is meant to be performed. Be very sure to point out what her daughter is doing right and improving on, but don't gloss over what still needs work. Hopefully when faced with the skill done cleanly, and both coaches, she will get a deeper sense of what you're trying to achieve. Knowing that you guys are working together should keep things on the level when she speaks to you individually in the future too! Be strong! Good luck!
 

Gymtastic

New Member
Jun 12, 2008
22
YOU are the coach. Stick to your guns. parents are so eager to have their child move up that they don't think about what is in the best interest of their child. Tell her politely WHY she is not moving up and tell her that her daughter will move up when YOU feel she is ready. It also helps to explain that it is better to stay at the same level in order to perfect the basics (which she will use throughout her entire gymnastics career) than to move up too early and not be ready, do poorly in competition and get frustrated with the sport and her own performance. Gymnastics is a marathon, not a sprint. To be successful long-term, a gymnast needs to be prepared and needs to have achievable and concrete goals. Be firm. If you give in on something like this, word WILL get around and other parents will try to bully you to no end to get what they want. You are the expert, not the parent. By setting the ground rules early, you will be respected for it and the parent will come to really understand and respect your point of view. Good luck. This is NOT a fun conversation to have, but you will save yourself a LOT of hassle in the long run.
 
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hammy

Guest
I do have a skills sheet and I've shown it to her, but she still thinks that her daughter has all of the skills. She may have them, but not correctly or safe enough to move up. I'm afraid that if I move her up she'll lose control of her body and get hurt.

Thank you for the advice! I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one out there with this problem. I mean, I have no problem with parents asking what the kids need to work on and what not, and I like them being involved, but I don't appreciate them giving me a "status" report every week. I'm going to try to talk with the other coach this week and see what she says. Supposedly the girl has been doing private lessons with the other coach...I'm not sure.
 
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Aussie_coach

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With this particular mother you may need to be a little more blunt. If you are scared that the child will be injured if she moves up to the next level, then it would be totally irresponsible to move her up. You may need to let her know that at your gym she will remain in her current level and if she wishes to move up to the next level she will need to find another gym that are prepared to accomodate her wishes. It is better to lose one gymnast than have a child seriously hurt.
 
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KBT

Guest
I would also emphasize to the mother that there are two levels of mastering a skill. The first is the child can complete the skill successfully. The second is that the child has done enough reps and has learned to fall safely and been able to demonstrate safe falling when the skill goes wrong. As a coach that's the point at which I feel comfortable stepping away and letting a kid do a skill without me ready to spot "just in case". Sounds like your kid is only on level one of mastering the skills she needs to move up. She needs more reps to safely move up.
 

iluvgym

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Feb 6, 2008
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Stick to your guns. This would be the same parent who, if you moved her child up, would be complaining that she wasn't doing well enough at the new level.
 

gymch34

Member
Aug 2, 2008
322
east coast
Parents like this think that by driving you crazy you will just give up and do whatever they want. If you really feel she is not ready, tell her that FIRMLY- one more time and then add on that you will continue to challenge her daughter in your class, and YOU will let HER know when her daughter is ready. Then walk away. Make sure the other coach is on the same page. If she really doesnt get it, enlist the owner or HC to talk to her.
 
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