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How do you foster a good relationship w coach

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Jun 13, 2007
75
NJ
This is a question for coaches and parents. As you may know this is a real issue for me because of recent events. I was kicked out of a gym but not really sure why. I think it was because I asked questions, but am not totally sure. Anyway after the issues my oldest dd had with the coaching staff at her first gym (a coach that was sarcastic and demeaning) and being demoted from team back to level 1 at the second gym (even though she did move back to level 3 in 4 months and made great progress all around, she was told she would never make the team at that gym because of her size.)(One of my questions and probably the one that got us kicked out). Anyway she seems a little gun shy about showing off her skills, and is only doing the skills she is asked to do and not all she is capeable of. The gym seems open to the girls doing the skills they have. The training is very individualized in the group she is in but she says she is to scared to say she can do a cetian skill and won't just do it because she thinks she would get in trouble.(I don't think she would because they are still getting to know her.) I am not sure how to proceed. I really feel this is a place that would boost her confidence as well as let her do more skills if they knew she had the ones they are working on. I want the coach to be the one who know more about her strengths and weekness than I do, instead of the other way around. I love to watch her and support her completely, but have been the only one to believe in her for so long I need the person coaching her to be a fan of hers and to know what they can expect her to do. We have never had a coach who really believed in her. I think this one has the potential, she seems to care about each kid as an individual. I was thinking of asking for a private for the coach to just test her skills, what do you think? Any other suggestions?
 

Mac

Member
Mar 7, 2007
65
Since you asked for suggestions--relax and let the coach coach. Don't stress over every breath she takes and every move she makes. And if she's too scared to speak up about something, then it might be time for her to learn how to speak with a coach/teacher, or accept the results of not doing it. It's a good lesson and life skill.

It will also be good for her to grow beyond Mom or Dad injecting themselves into every circumstance, just as it is useful for parents to learn to back off and keep things in perspective. Find coaches you trust and then give them the space to do their jobs without interference and without special requests. That stuff can wear on the coaches and stress the kids, most of whom don't want that kind of attention drawn to them. A good coach can see the big picture.
 
H

hammy

Guest
Great advice Mac! I can't help you too much with the whole parent-coach relationship aspect, but as a coach I love it when my girls talk to me about life and gymnastics. As far as talking to the coach, I suggest talking to your daughter and the two of you come to a decision on who will talk to the coach. It is important for your daugther to realize the importance of creating her own relationship with her coach; which is why I think it would be a good idea for your daugther to talk to her coach.

A private lesson might not be a bad thing; however I feel that it is vital for a gymnast to show their skills in multiple settings (one on one and in a group).

Not to offend anyone, but a gymnast's career is mainly between the coach and the gymnast, with some parent involvement (such as support and encouragement). As a coach, I don't really appreciate parents "coaching from the sidelines," and I feel that in time the gymnast will demonstrate the skills they are capable of performing.

Like Mac said, find coaches that you trust and give them the space to do their jobs---that's why they're coaches.
 
Jun 13, 2007
75
NJ
I would love my dd to have that kind of voice, but she doesn't . I am that parent who looks nuts because her 9 yr old won't leave her side. Its not that I don't try to boost her confidence and social voice, it is just a struggle for her. It's not something I can fix or force her to do. She has to be willing.I want the coach to get to know her and be the one she counts on. I think that would be fantastic. That was my original question. My dd gets nervous in a group of her peers when she is trying to get to know an adult. How can I help that happen? If my dd wont make the first steps is it a good idea to have a private just to help them get more aquainted? I don't want to get the rep of being a parent looking for special treatment. But after reading all the posts here , I see how important it is for the gymnast to rely on there coach as much if not more than their parents. I do not coach form the side lines. I just watch, and chat about anything but gymnastics with all the other mothers in the waiting area.(I don't want to get caught up in Gym politics.) I am really having a hard time trusting any coach after all the ones I have met in our short gym experience. I get a good vibe from this coach and trust her as much as I can. (but my opinion has been way off more than its been on) I have a tendency to see the best in everyone, a blessing and a curse.
 

Mac

Member
Mar 7, 2007
65
If my dd wont make the first steps is it a good idea to have a private just to help them get more aquainted?
I don't think so. That's you stepping in to solve her problem. You can't force it. It takes time for a coach to understand how to reach and teach a child. Give the coach a chance. Allow them that time. There's no rush, right?

I think that 95% of a parent-coach relationship should be about setting goals for the gymnast—the coach defining the goals and the parent nodding and asking questions—and determining a timeframe in which to check progress against those goals. I wouldn't put my child somewhere without having that talk, whether the goals relate to skills, sociability, competition, or other. But after that, you have to let it go and not micro-manage the steps towards those goals, assuming you trust the coach/teacher.
 
Jun 13, 2007
75
NJ
See how nieve I am. And why my judgement is off. I never had that kind of open relationship with any coach my dd has had. Its been more like the coach/ owner saying "please give me the money and I do what I can with your dd." And me saying "OK here is my life savings, and I'll just sell a kidney if you need more, can I just get a reallistic view of where my dd is and is this a sport she can do well in?" Then the coach saying "Depends on how quiet you are willing to be while I yell and berate you kid in front of the whole team, while you still pay." Ok maybe they didn't say that to my face, but that was the actions they took. I never had a goal setting conversation with any coach, They have always given the impression that was their thing and in trying to ask stuff like that was taboo.
 

Ingymmom

Active Member
Jul 12, 2007
981
I am not sure with all coaches, but it seems that many of them are weary of parents asking too many questions - not based on actual experience, but intuition & just from what I have read in different forums...

For our coaches it just took Time to develop the relationship - once they felt that I trusted them, they could develop more of a committment to my dd, which in turn enabled her to trust them completely as well... I did most of my research online to understand the process better and avoided asking them questions (believe me, this gymnastics stuff can be tough to understand LOL)- if they needed to speak to me they would simply stop me when I picked my dd up .... I am so happy I took the time I did to get involved in the beginning though because once summer came & hours increased I could drop off/pick up more often - she felt comfortable and I felt comfortable. BUT, If I would have had red flags go off during the times I stayed to watch, I would have asked questions as well Carman. If I did have a concern (I only had one regarding free weights) , dd's coaches addressed it with no problem. As you know that last ? I asked (my one and only to the sub) also resulted in a boot. I certainly do not regret asking because raising our children is THE single most important job we will ever have in our lifetime and any program that does not understand that has no place for our children. Hopefully now that you are in a gym where you feel more comfortable your trust for the coach will grow and in turn your dd's will as well - confidence is such a very important part of any sport & with that trust the confidence should foster as well:D...
 

gym law mom

Active Member
Proud Parent
Dec 23, 2006
2,527
Country
USA
Your dd may very well be quite shy about showing a skill that isn't asked for since she's had some bad experiences in other gyms. Don't force showing all the skills she can do to the coach right away. Sit down with your dd and discuss how she feels at this new gym, with a new coach you seem to have some confidence in etc. She's 9, so she should be able to give you some pretty decent answers. If she says she likes it, is comfortable and wants to stay then I think you have to let her know, that this is her sport. You will support her as much as is reasonable, but gymnastics is about working with a team and a coach(with proud moms/dads in the background) and now is a great time for her to learn that and grow in the sport.

I would not do a private lesson at this point. Don't know how much you told the coach when you checked this gym out, but you might want to have a short talk with her about your dd and your observations of her. A good coach may have already picked up on the reluctance to form any kind of relationship, do skills not asked for etc. It could take months before she feels totally at ease with the whole idea of team gymnastics and everyone just needs to be patient. She may just be waiting for the other shoe to drop and doesn't want to let her guard down---she's been hurt already.

If you feel this gym is the right fit, then show her your confidence and start leaving during practices or not staying at all. Tell you'll stay for 1st 1/2 or 2nd 1/2--her choice. Or maybe pick one practice you'll stay for and skip another. She may just come around by seeing mom doesn't feel this is a bad place or she wouldn't leave.
 

audra

Coach & Mom
CB Booster Club
Verified Coach
Proud Parent
Feb 5, 2006
203
Wisconsin
Although I agree with a lot of what has been said, I disagree with the strong feelings that a Private lesson would not be beneficial. If your dd is shy in front of the group a PL can help build trust with the coach and give her more confidence. It is also a chance for your daughter to speak to the coach one on one where she may not be intimated because her peers are not there. It is a great way for her to learn to communicate with the coach. I would recommend that you allow her and the coach to decide what it is to be worked during the lesson and watch from a distance. I see no harm in something that could build a stronger relationship and give your dd more confidence.
 

GymMom68

New Member
May 3, 2007
21
This is a question for coaches and parents. As you may know this is a real issue for me because of recent events. I was kicked out of a gym but not really sure why. I think it was because I asked questions, but am not totally sure.

I'm curious, if you think you were kicked out for asking questions, what questions were you asking?
 
Jun 13, 2007
75
NJ
I'm curious, if you think you were kicked out for asking questions, what questions were you asking?

I definatly think it was because I asked questions and stayed to watch. The owner said almost that when she asked me not to return. I was quite shocked and upset so I don't recall the conversation completely word for word. I admit I was a little more inquisitive of her because I had a bad experience and my dd was emotional about the first gym we were at and there were red flags I didn't see or was afraid to aknowledge. So I made a promise to myself to keep my mind open and ask questions before anything got out of hand or if I had questions about my dd's training and skill level. I made that clear before I even joined the second gym. I had what I thought was an open relationship with the coach and one day she said she was feeling like I didn't trust her to coach my dd, so I told her I was not questioning her training or her methods, I was just looking for her insight into my dd's progress because her goal was to make it back on the competitive team at her gym,(my dd and I had thought that was why her coach had put her back to level 1, then 2 then 3, So she could fix her form and then eventually move back to the competitive level 4 team). Seems like that was never the plan, because she then informed me my dd was not the correct body type and size to be a competitve gymnast at her gym and that we should look elsewhere if that was our goal. I said OK then what more can we hope for her to get out of these classes because she wanted to do more that ROBHS which is all the level 3 class was working and then they move to level 4 team to learn the compulsory routines and move on. Level 3 is the highest level of rec gym they offer. So I asked what would happen to my dd whe the group she was with moved on and she was with new level 3's move does she just do ROBHS again? (Sessions are only 8 weeks at this gym and then they look to see who should move up from the level 2 classes so they pretty much always have new kids in the program so they seem to always work on the same things) She ended the conversation saying that was the class she had for my dd take it or leave it, and my dd will never compete for her gym. I said we would stay, not really knowing what else to do. My dd was still progressing at this point and was still learming to prefect her form. As long as I was seeing progress I figured we could stay, my dd wasn't looking to compete this year anyway so why not just let them coach her (the coach was really great at form stuff, something my dd needed work on so I was fairly happy, like I said before I wasn't unhappy with her coaching and wasn't questioning her training or methods, just if she was making progress and reaching toward her goal of competing.) The next day as I was walking out the door to take my dd to class the owner called me and said she was sending me back my tuition and that we should take a break from her gym until September.
 
Jun 13, 2007
75
NJ
Although I agree with a lot of what has been said, I disagree with the strong feelings that a Private lesson would not be beneficial. If your dd is shy in front of the group a PL can help build trust with the coach and give her more confidence. It is also a chance for your daughter to speak to the coach one on one where she may not be intimated because her peers are not there. It is a great way for her to learn to communicate with the coach. I would recommend that you allow her and the coach to decide what it is to be worked during the lesson and watch from a distance. I see no harm in something that could build a stronger relationship and give your dd more confidence.
Thanks, I think you are understanding the feeling behind my question. I was looking more for a 1 on 1 time for my dd to get to know the coach better and for the coach to get to know her better. I don't think she needs to work on and perticular skills or even show off what skills she has. I was planning on just dropping her off for the private so she has to communicate with the coach, not me doing the communicating. As I said before she has never had a close relationship with any coach before, and before hearing how improtant it is from reading this forum I never pushed the issue I figured if I stayed to watch and told her how well she was doing I was enough of a support group, and the coach was just a teacher, and the teacher who knew how to teach was enough. I have change my opinion completely and feel that the coach needs to be a cheerleader, friend, teacher, and confident for the gymnast. The best and most sucessful athletes have those kinds of relationships with their coaches. So that is what I looked for when interviewing gyms. I think her new coach has that potential for my dd, and was just hoping to help the bond grow.
 
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GymnastRaeRae87

Guest
Although I agree with a lot of what has been said, I disagree with the strong feelings that a Private lesson would not be beneficial. If your dd is shy in front of the group a PL can help build trust with the coach and give her more confidence. It is also a chance for your daughter to speak to the coach one on one where she may not be intimated because her peers are not there. It is a great way for her to learn to communicate with the coach. I would recommend that you allow her and the coach to decide what it is to be worked during the lesson and watch from a distance. I see no harm in something that could build a stronger relationship and give your dd more confidence.
I'm a gymnast and I think what Audra said is a good way to become more comfortable with a coach. Private Lessons are great because a gymnast can ask questions and have a one on one time with the coach. Private Lessons are fun too.
 
Just from a gymnasts perspective, i completely agree with gymnastraerae87. sometimes when you are in a gym and your not the best in your group, though you may be able to do skills your coach doesn"t know, telling them in front of the whole group would seem like showing off. a private lesson would give her a chance to show the coach what she can do. the fact that she is sitting there now doing skills that she can already do and not practising the harder ones she can do (if that makes sense) is kinda a waste of time.
I personally hav a great relationship with my coach and even go out with her outside of class for coffe or something so i cant relate, but i knwo how great it is to have that relationship. it is really worth trying to get.
 

gymnomore

Member
Aug 3, 2007
208
See how nieve I am. And why my judgement is off. I never had that kind of open relationship with any coach my dd has had. Its been more like the coach/ owner saying "please give me the money and I do what I can with your dd." And me saying "OK here is my life savings, and I'll just sell a kidney if you need more, can I just get a reallistic view of where my dd is and is this a sport she can do well in?" Then the coach saying "Depends on how quiet you are willing to be while I yell and berate you kid in front of the whole team, while you still pay." Ok maybe they didn't say that to my face, but that was the actions they took. I never had a goal setting conversation with any coach, They have always given the impression that was their thing and in trying to ask stuff like that was taboo.
Hey, my DD and YOUR DD must have had the same coach! Her compulsory coach was wonderful. Then she turned optional and was working with a new coach who was just like that. Give me your money, and I'll do what I want whether you like it or not. I like the part about handing over your life savings and selling a kidney, (ha ha) nice touch! And yes, she yelled at and berated my child and told her she wasn't as good as some of the others, and on and on. I decided not to complain, interfere, or address this issue in any way to not cause a stir. I wanted to be an accomodating parent and let the coaches coach. Looking back, maybe I should have said something I don't know. Then this coach made the mistake of humiliating my daughter in front of the whole team. THAT would be why my name is Gymnomore, meaning GYM NO MORE! So sorry that happened to you, and especially your daughter. She deserves better. Keep looking, as she'll find someone who can relate to her and give her the attention she needs.
 
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GymnastRaeRae87

Guest
I love my coaches. I have a great relationship with all three of my coaches. They are awesome! I have had two of them for 8 and 10 years! I could talk to them about anything!! It makes gym all the more fun when you have a good relationship with your coach!
 
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BlairBob

Guest
Things to get a coach on your good side. Get them a coffee if it's early. Don't pester them more than any other parent...however. Don't tell your kid to come over there when they are in workout/class and they are acting up( this really irks me ). Don't be dumb enough to talk negatively about them on the sidelines.

Offer them a drink while the kids are on break. Ok, I'm kidding. Really, I am. I just have a far off dream of coaching in a tropical place with surfer music in the background while I sip on a Mojito while I'm in shorts and barefoot and in an Hawaiian shirt. At least joke with them when you see the boys are being hellions ( aka boys ). Hopefully, you understand my point here.

Ok, back to being serious. Too early, too much paperwork. You shouldn't have to bribe a coach to get them on their side. I generally will decline gifts but sometimes I'll just shut up about it. That's a whole different issue, really.

I try to keep an open dialogue with all the parents with whom I have gymnasts I coach. Whether this is the 4 year old munchkin or team kid or a cheer tumbler or rec girl in an advanced beginner. Especially, as I'm not a social extrovert by my nature. However, in the gym I have to be this way. It's called good business sense. I'm competing for your dollar even indirectly so you don't take Johnny to baseball or Mandy to soccer instead. You have a right to hold your coaches accountable. Unfortunately, coaches have ego trips besides a zillion other things in their head when they are in the gym. And that's just when it's gym-related and they've left Life at the door!

Don't go threatening coaches of pulling your kid. Then Coach will get all defensive and generally will just nod and say ok. Sometimes, they'll dance afterwards and tell ya to go now not tomorrow.


However, this doesn't sound like your case. I started in a gym that was a fluffed up Mommy and Me gym and progressed from there to a bigger Rec gym with a small team to Competition Gyms and so on.


In my case, I probably try to talk to the Parents too often. I regret they receive my long winded emails and bulletins. I am dismayed when I never know their parents because they drop them off and pick them up outside.

I do believe as a Coach we have to extend ourselves to our gymnasts. This will vary depending on what they are there for, but I knew as a competitor ( in other sports ) that bonded more with the coaches that showed a small interest in giving a damn about me. I didn't hound the coach for attention and I probably was a pain in the butt. However, I'm a guy and there is a different bond between a male coach and male athlete than female coach and female athlete or opposite gender coach and athlete. Especially, given age ranges.

As for Private Lessons... I'd inquire about it to the coach in question. I put so much into my private lessons, that I really like to know both the parent and gymnast a bit before hand. As in I'm cautious of problematic parents or gymnasts ( i.e. crazy kids or pushy parents ) I want to know the goals they want out of the lessons. I've seen kids in rec get a PL for their bday or a gift or just because they want to get a cartwheel or bridge kickover. Never really saw the point of doing it when they are very young. I mainly like to have both the gymnast and parent on board with me so they will trust me a lot more which makes the whole process smoother. And because I can be quite grueling at times with private lessons.


I'll just say if I get a gymnast to bond with me, I can abuse them more ( I don't physically abuse them...besides the occasional pit throw though I do enjoy theraband snapping ) ; hahah. It means I can be tougher on critique ( though I still adhere to the compliment sandwich at times or the straight up approach of what is going [ wrong ] at the time ). If they're willing to put up with me they might be more willing to put up with my conditioning or slightly obsessive compulsive perfectionist side.


Keeping an open dialogue of communication can nip a lot of problems in the bud. However, I'm management besides being a team coach or have been the senior facilitative coach on the floor. This can differ my opinion versus when I've just been another coach on team rather than say my role as the coach of a recreational class/level and thus that gymnast's guide and coach ( besides being responsible for them ).
 
Jun 13, 2007
75
NJ
Thanks for all the great advise. I have opted to show my trust in the coach by leaving her and to wait a little while before asking about a private lesson. I am leaving the gym about 15 min. into the class and coming back for the last 30 min or so and having had my dh and my mom take her a few times. (He really feels a difference in this coach too!!) My dd is slowly warming up to the coach and asked to show her a BHS on Tumble Trac on Monday. She did a good job and got a compliment from the coach. My mom had taken her so I missed it, but she felt so good about it I got a long story all about the class as well as a show of all her newly improved skills when she got home. This is the best outcome I could hope for. She is happy and making progress in her social abilitity as well as her gymnastics.;)
 

audra

Coach & Mom
CB Booster Club
Verified Coach
Proud Parent
Feb 5, 2006
203
Wisconsin
That is great to hear!! Keep up the positive approach- we can not wait to hear more great stories of accomplishment.
 
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