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How to deal with archaic coaching style

Ames1024

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Dec 16, 2018
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9 year old daughter is in level 4 and struggling with a new male coach who is regularly upset with her and 1) spraying her with a water bottle, 2) calling her names (i.e. big fat brat, her name is similar to Careless and that is his nickname for her) and 3) screaming/shaming her. I had a carload of the team yesterday and they are all struggling with this guy and his archaic screaming and shaming style; that being said my daughter seems to be struggling more, is in tears a lot, not wanting to go to gymnastics when she usually wants to go extra. She absolutely loves her team and would NOT want to change gyms. I feel so helpless as the Mama. I almost want to call USAG to get their take on a coach like this and whether they see these behaviors as acceptable....do they really want this sport to change or not??? Any suggestions from those who have been with the sport longer?
 

momnipotent

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Go to the owner or switch gyms. Or sit in the viewing area and loudly call him out every time he does any of those things. (I say this partially tongue in cheek, but I am at the point as a parent/gymnastics mom that I would actually do it just to show my kids I will always stand up for them and no one should ever treat them that way) Seriously, he is going to damage her psyche beyond repair. Sometimes as adults we have to make decisions for our kids they wouldn’t make for themselves and this is one of them. If the owner won’t do anything and the idea of sitting there and publicly shaming the coach is not your cup of tea, the decision is for her to quit gymnastics altogether or change gyms. There is no choice to go and be beaten down until her self-worth is so far in the garbage that it will take years for her to recover (if ever).
 

txgymfan

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Any adult treating any child like that is unacceptable. Schedule a meeting with the head coach, keep your child home until the meeting. If changes are not made immediately, switch gyms or find another activity. Do not accept one more minute of belittling your child. Teach her she is more valuable than gymnastics and no one has the right to treat her that way.
 

Sk8ermaiden

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How long has the coach been there? If it's been years, assume nothing will change. They know. If he's a newer hire I might sit down with the owner and see if anything could change.

But past that, I agree that sometimes you just have to be the adult and make the hard decision. If sitting down with the owner didn't solve the problem, I would tell my daughter her choice was to try another gym or try another sport. That I love her too much to let her spend such a huge portion of her time with someone who is abusing her. This is just a sport. Even if it's the greatest gym in the world, it's not worth it. You don't want her to have this man's voice in her head for the rest of her life.

And yes, I HAVE had to do this. It's so much harder to do than it logically should be. But it's still the right decision.
 

4theloveofsports

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Some coaches can be playful and mean nothing by their comments and actions. Some kids can just brush these comments and actions off and think nothing of it. That said, in my opinion, it still is not acceptable behaviour even if it is a joke or done tongue in cheek and most importantly if the child is disturbed by it, it should stop.
 
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Carly

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I agree with the other posters. If he's not new to the gym, nothing is probably going to change. If he is new, I'd talk to the gym owner.

I realize that it's hard to switch gyms. We just made a switch after 5 years at the same gym. It was for a different reason but my dd didn't really want to but she knew that she had to. She made new friends and is loving the new gym.

I've read this statement a few times on this board and I think it sums it up well: Would you accept these actions from a school teacher? Of course not. So, it should not be acceptable from a coach either.
 
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coachmolly

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Not okay at all, you need to tell the owners and then get your kid out. The way this coach is behaving is not acceptable at all. But before parting ways I would alert the head coach or gym owner to the problem so that the problem can (hopefully) be addressed and the coach can either change his behavior or see himself out to prevent other athletes from being negatively impacted.
Some coaches use these techniques because they think they are being cute or funny, some think they work to motivate kids, some might have been coached like this or coached other groups like this and been successful. Regardless of how these coaching tactics have taken shape, they need to be stopped.
Best case scenario you talk to the gym owner who addresses the problem. However, I have seen too many situations where a gym owner knows all the right things to say, assures parents that the issue is being addressed, the coach cleans up his/her behavior for a few practices and then everything goes right back to how it was. It's not worth it.
 

LJL07

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USAG is useless and will do nothing. They either don't care, or they are in such a chaotic state they don't know which end is up. This is unacceptable coaching in my opinion and at level 4, this coaching style makes most kids grow to dislike the sport. I would first speak to the owner and if you get nowhere, then I would switch gyms.
 

ldw4mlo

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I had a carload of the team yesterday and they are all struggling with this guy and his archaic screaming and shaming style
And yet he is openly coaching. Why is he new? As in why did he need a new job? Wore out his welcome with his shenaningans elsewhere.

I almost want to call USAG to get their take on a coach like this and whether they see these behaviors as acceptable....do they really want this sport to change or not???
By all means, call USAG. It would be the second thing I would do. But really as a parent I don't wait for any organization to decide whats acceptable behavior regarding my child

Any suggestions from those who have been with the sport longer?
The first thing I would do is Move.Her.Now.

Keeping my daughter in an abusive situation that is clearly upsetting her on an ongoing basis. And a carload of her team mates having the same issue vs she would be upset to move.

Move.Her.Now.

I do not rely on any organization to protect my child more then I myself should.

USAG is an organization, not the police. There is not much they can enforce. Same with Safe Sport. And by all means notify them.

But the sport changes when the we parents say, enough is enough. This is not acceptable and we will show it by taking our children, our pocketbooks and our backs as we are walking out the door.
 

Ames1024

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Original poster here. I REALLY appreciate all of these responses. It helps take me out of my immediate situation and look at the bigger picture while validating how horrific and unnecessary this is. I needed that encouragement to say heck no, this not right. I met with the owner yesterday and that is my first step. I'm giving her a chance to first remedy this situation, but will not stop there. Much gratitude to all of you!!
 
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