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For Parents I'm new and complaining already...I know, I know!

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pixie flips

Member
Sep 30, 2008
384
Region 3
:p

I've tried really hard not to start this thread so soon after making my profile but I just can't wait any longer! lol!

I've been lurking for a long time now but there's been an issue that I just need advice, from other gym parents, on and I really just need to vent about.

Some background:

My daughter did rec classes while she was 3 and 4 yrs old but started competing for the first time last season when she was 6. She started the season late so, to make it easy on her, they started her on level one. Well, she did really well and got blues on every event! Yeah!! (for pre-team they are scored with flags then given a correlating ribbon for each event: white = needs work, red = good had some assistance, blue = excellent) After that first meet they moved her up to level 2 where she got blue ribbons on every event throughout the rest of the season. They felt it would be too much to move her up again to level 3 during that season. And I agree completely.

Well, this summer they worked on different skills she needed to move up and moved her up. She got her robhs, her handstand and dismount on beam and they moved her to level 4 and skipped level 3, entirely. She was so happy her big eyes lit up when she told me. I am proud of her because I know she gives her all.

Since she skipped level 3 she has had a hard time on bars and vault.

For the bars she is having to learn a stride circle and a front hip circle. Both of which can be really hard skills to pick up. They were for me anyway.

For the vault she's having a hard time doing it without dive-rolling. She's not driving her heels or getting any spring off the board. Therefore, she's not hitting her handstand.

These skills probably would have been picked up had she competed level three. Except the front hip circle.

I know it's just the beginning of the season and the skills will come with time. I don't expect perfection. That is so not an issue with me. In fact, I don't expect anything from her except for her to just have fun! And she is!!

For that I am so happy :D

Here's the problem:

Her bars coach from last season got promoted to coaching some of the higher levels so they brought in another coach that is now coaching beam, moving the old beam coach over to coach bars and vault. The two areas that suffered a bit due to skipping level 3.

The girl that is now coaching bars and vault just stands there when the girls vault. Half the time she is not even watching. She never gives them constructive guidance. I hear the girls ask her all the time "was that better?" just to get a response from her. She stands by the vaulting board and just yells "go!". Then doesn't tell them anything when they are finished! Often she is fiddling with her nails and misses the vault completely. I understand that she is young, she's 20. So, she may not have figured out how to be an effective coach, yet. But how hard is it to tell the girls "that was close! keep your arms straight next time." or "oh, you almost had it! I bet if you drive your heels you'd get it."? Just show interest in the girls! By ignoring them she is reinforcing bad habits.

My DDs floor coach (whom she adores) coached vault today and after 5 rotations my daughter got her vault!! She explained to her how to drive her heels and put a mat wall up for them to jump over and that was all it took.

So, now does my daughter have to go through a whole season of no instruction, on the bars, just hoping she figures these skills out on her own?? Should I get a discount on tuition since she isn't getting bars instruction? lol!

I'm kidding but I am frustrated.

How should this be handled? I so don't wan't to be one of those moms who complains and I certainly wouldn't want my daughter being treated in an unfair manner because I chose to say something. I keep thinking another parent will say something because they are always complaining about this coach. I just think the girls should get their money's worth in coaching.

Am I wrong for feeling this way? Sometimes I feel like I am. But when I see those girls try so hard just to be ignored....my blood boils!





I'm done! hahaha!!
Sorry, didn't mean to be so long winded :eek:
 
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flippymonkeysmom

Guest
Is there someone there who you can talk to on a 'friendly' level? Maybe if you could just question it in a non threatening way you could bring attention to the matter without it being a huge deal. I would be really frustrated with that as well. Was this coach any better when she coached beam? Have you spoken to any of the other parents - are they feeling the same way? You obviously need to do something since checking out her nails when she should be coaching really isn't acceptable. The tricky part is doing it the right way. Good luck.
 

gymmomntc2e6

Moderator/Proud Parent
Aug 25, 2007
2,842
North Carolina
I can certainly understand your frustration and I agree w/ the flippy's advice. How long has this coach been coaching? As a new coach myself it can be a little overwhelming and even intimidating - even if you know what you are doing. knowing how to do the skills and what skills they must have, in what order, exactly how the routine should look - translating that into 'kid' can be difficult. That said - picking at your nails and saying nothing, obviously won't work !!

Working w/ the team girls is a little different than rec or pre-school. It can be hard to get them to understand how precise everything must be in compulsory routines. But you do need to be able to break the skills down and help them learn those.

As for the dreaded mill circle - that takes time. It took my DD about 6 months to get that. Then only about 2 weeks (if that) to get her front hip circle. There are some very good threads on the mill circle ( I think my whining started several :cool:) that you may want to check out.
 

gymmom14

Member
Proud Parent
May 21, 2008
427
I may be in the minority on this, but I would not worry too much about skipping level 3. Our gym does not even start competing until level 4. Obviously she has the ability based on her past competitions. She will catch on to L4.

The issue is coaching. I think a lot time we forget that we are the customers and the gym is a business. We have the right to get what we are paying for and the owner of the gym has the right to know if you have concerns. It is the only way it can be addressed. I would want to know if my customers were unhappy.

Anyway, enough ranting, address your concerns with the appropiate person.

Let us know how it goes. Good Luck!
 

gotgym

Coach/Proud Parent
Coach
Former Gymnast
Proud Parent
Jun 11, 2008
275
Illinois
I agree. Address the HC or owner with your concerns. It could be this coach is not as comfortable with this event and someone may need to guide her instead of just moving her over. I bet shes not happy either.
As far as skipping 3, we start competing at level 4 in our area as well.. I do wish we would start at 3 like other states but, level 4 is just catching on here and has really taken off from a state meet of the first year with 50 kids to 900 last March.:eek:
 
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flippersmom

Guest
Coaching

I faced a similar coaching situation last year. After addressing the owners, there was a coach change which help all of the girls improve with the new assigned coach. Owner had said she was thankful I talked to her and could address the situation if she didn't know there was a problem. However owner liked the original coach and was going to put her with DD level over the summer and next year.

We chose to move gyms, since I could afford to do private lessons all the time with the other coach. It wasn't about scoring, but if DD is willing to put in the time and I am putting in the money, I want her to receive some benefit. She had said last year that she would rather leave gym than work with that coach again. Now she is corrected if she does something wrong, and given praise when she does something well. Overall she is happier and feels she is getting better, even with repeating the level this year to work on corrections and flexability.

Though we loved old gym with our heart, our minds told us it wasn't a healthy or safe situation to be in. I would suggest talking first to the owner/hc, and then reevaluate if you have any other options.
 

pixie flips

Member
Sep 30, 2008
384
Region 3
Thank you all for your replies!

flippy ~ I've thought about speaking with the director/HC but no matter how I run it through my head it sounds like "your coach sucks". haha! I'm not a very confrontational person and I really don't want to make waves for my daughter. I just honestly don't know how to tell her that soesn't sound critical of one of her coaches.

The coach was about the same on beam. She'd stand against the wall, that is near the beam, didn't interact with the girls very much. But it didn't matter then because there really weren't any skills that my daughter had issues on for level 2 beam.

Other parents have the same concerns as I do. I've heard them make comments to each other about her. I honestly don't know how long she's been coaching.


gymmomntc2e6 ~ thanks for your empathy! *hugs* I think I should explain a bit better about the level my daughter competes on. She's on pre-team level 4 which compete the exact same routines as USAG level 4. They compete level 4 skills two years in a row. After they get their skills on pre-team level 4 they move up to USAG level 4 the following year. Does that make any sense? I don't know if I'm explaining that properly.

You are correct about the dreaded stride circle! I remember as a kid having a hard time with it myself. I know it will come for her...every skills has a progression. I'm not worried because I know how dedicated she is. She'll figure it out on her own.


gymmom14 ~ I agree with you 100%! I believe wholeheartedly that my daughter should get back what she puts into it! I will most likely address the issue with the HC if I can ever figure out the proper way to phrase it without insulting her, lol!!


gotgym ~ I think you're right, she doesn't seem very happy.

I like the way they have the lower levels compete, here. They have about 8 meets a season in a fun atmosphere, they all get ribbons and/or medals...it gets them ready for the "big times" without all the "big time" pressure. My daughter has a blast!


Again, thank you all for the expert advice. I appreciate you all listening to me.
 

pixie flips

Member
Sep 30, 2008
384
Region 3
I faced a similar coaching situation last year. After addressing the owners, there was a coach change which help all of the girls improve with the new assigned coach. Owner had said she was thankful I talked to her and could address the situation if she didn't know there was a problem. However owner liked the original coach and was going to put her with DD level over the summer and next year.

We chose to move gyms, since I could afford to do private lessons all the time with the other coach. It wasn't about scoring, but if DD is willing to put in the time and I am putting in the money, I want her to receive some benefit. She had said last year that she would rather leave gym than work with that coach again. Now she is corrected if she does something wrong, and given praise when she does something well. Overall she is happier and feels she is getting better, even with repeating the level this year to work on corrections and flexability.

Though we loved old gym with our heart, our minds told us it wasn't a healthy or safe situation to be in. I would suggest talking first to the owner/hc, and then reevaluate if you have any other options.


Gosh, it does sound like a very similar situation! How did you address it without sounding overly critical? Sounds like you handled it the right way!

I agree that it isn't about the scoring or even nailing the skills...it's about getting back what my little pixie puts into it. She does not hold back she leaves it all out on the floor! hehe!! She deserves to have a coach willing to coach her. Our saving grace is that all the other coaches are amazing and DD absolutely loves them to bits!

I'm so glad, for your daughter, that you all found the best situation for her.
Thank you for sharing this info. It's really comforting to know that this does happen and I'm not just cuckoo for cocoa puffs :D
 
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msl529

Guest
We went thru this @ DD's 1st gym, for one L4 season and one L5 season. It was really frustrating to me to watch her go in & put in the hard work while the coaches: a) allowed messy, incorrect technique to go on and on and on; b) sat on their behinds cracking jokes to each other while the girls practiced virtually unwatched/un-corrected. :( I tried to get DD to change to a better gym after her L4 season, but she wouldn't have it, she liked her friends there too much. Fine, I said, it's her sport and I want her to be happy, so she stayed for the next season.

Well, after her next season (which was her 1st L5 season), she started to think, "Hey, I like this sport a lot, and I really DO care about doing the skills/routines PROPERLY, and I want some coaches to actually invest their time in me!" So..she asked to move. Hence, we moved to a new gym. Didn't have to twist my arm much! :rolleyes:

After just one practice at the new gym, it was like the angel chorus from heaven broke into song :angel:. What a difference! DD was amazed that she improved, so much, on so many skills, in just one day. All from having a good coach pay attention to her and show her how to do things right! :relieved:

So my advice to you is this: If you want her to get good coaching in every event, either go and speak to your gym owner, or leave the gym. You'll just have to suck it up and not worry about hurting their feelings or being one of 'those' moms (you're NOT by the way, you just hapen to care about getting your money's worth/DD's time's worth).

It sounds like your DD likes it there, and there are other good coaches, so I would try and stay and make things right. Obviously, the gym owner knows how to hire good coaches, there are some there already. So just point it out to him/her. Maybe your owner doesn't think L3/4 parents know/care, and is just waiting to get some feedback, or just hasn't noticed the bad coaching yet.

So, speak up! I know that's hard. I HATE confrontation (and avoid it like the plague!), but you are going to have to face the owner either way. Now, or when you leave!

Good luck! We're all here supporting you! :grouphug: Here on CB, you're talking to parents who CARE about their kids & their experiences. After all, we wouldn't be here on this board if we didn't give a hoot! :rolleyes: And we say you are not 'one of those' Moms! :p
 

ZJsMom

Active Member
Former Gymnast
Proud Parent
May 11, 2007
998
Pacific NW
Country
USA
I think you should be able to talk to the HC without sounding overly negative. I would just focus on what you'd like to see happen-- i.e., more engaged coaching. You could start by complementing the other coaches. Then when you bring up the coach with the problem, just talk about what you'd like to see more of instead of saying she's useless or incompetent. You could just say the girls would like to get more feedback from this coach. Maybe you could ask if they could provide the coach with more training or supervision so she can learn to be more effective.
 

Linsul

Active Member
Sep 19, 2008
876
Pripyat
I'd approach this conversation like one with a teacher. Ask about the 'curriculum' such as it is in the gym! You know they're learning level 4 routines, but there's no shame in asking the method. You could include asking about the coach specifically in such a way as your learning her part in the overall picture. It wouldn't seem weird because she just transitioned to different events, and it's totally ok to be curious about whats going on with people who coach your child. Instead of a confrontation, it would be a conversation, and hopefully an exchange of goals and expectations for both you and the owner/head coach.

I get that gymnastics is expensive, and you are paying for professional instruction. The truth is money can't buy skills, but it should buy the kind of structure and attention that sets up each individual to succeed. Get your conversation on and make sure your getting your moneys worth in those respects!
 

bogwoppit

Former Admin
Gold Membership
Former Gymnast
Feb 26, 2007
16,720
Country
Canada
Hey there,

Never feel it's too soon to ask questions here, we were all noobs once and we are all still learning from each other.

When my 9 year old was about 6 years old I had a simialr instance to deal with. In the end I went to the head coach and commented "I noticed last week when xxx substituted on vault for XXXX my DD did so much better, do you think it's because of the way my daughter learns through verbal rather than visual cues?" This led into a chat about learning styles and fortunately into my kid being put with the coahc who used verbal cues.

Now of course it's not going to always be that simple, but if you can make it a discussion about your child and not really about the coahes inadequacies (even though we know that's what the deal is) the HC will be less defensive and you might get a more relaxed discussion and even a solution.

Personally I don't think skipping L3 is a big deal at all, it seems many gyms do not even compete until L5 in the USA. A good coach should be able to make sure you little one is ready.

Good luck, sometimes taking a deep breath and asking how much it all matters is a good thing to. I can tell you that I am 99% positive that when your DD is 26 she won't be screwed up over her L4 vault!:D
 
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flippersmom

Guest
Talking to Owner

I was friendly with the owner, which helped me talk to them. If you looked at the two level that coach was coaching, the scores were actually dropping mid-season (some by 2 whole points), so we had something to back up our disappointment (other gyms were going up by 2+ points, so it was not that it was lower scoring meets). The coach was doing things like changing the vault setting for my daughter between what she warmed up on and what she competed (making it higher when she competed) and leaving to eat during the ogeneral warm up and sitting with other coach friends and their gym at awards, so I figured how much worse could it get when I talked to them.


Msl529 - If you weren't in a different state, I'd think we had been at the same gym!

We both relied on our daughter's que on when they were ready to move on. Maybe in time you daughter will let you know that although she loves her coaches and teammates, she is ready for better coaching.

Good luck with what you decide. Let us know how it goes.
 
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TeamDad

Guest
"The girl that is now coaching bars and vault just stands there when the girls vault."

"My DDs floor coach (whom she adores) coached vault today and after 5 rotations my daughter got her vault!! She explained to her how to drive her heels and put a mat wall up for them to jump over and that was all it took."

Is it possible that she is an assistant coach and not qualified to give instruction. I know that last year at our gym they used to rotate the coaches based on the need/schedule of the entire program. There were days when she had an asst. coach on vault who was an 'ok, run' guy like you describe, and days where she received corrections from her coach. The asst. coach would also run conditioning or tumble track on certain days. We didn't know what was going on until we spoke to her coach and she told us.

Communication is the key. Why not speak to the coach after a practice and ask her how your daughter is progressing and what she thinks she needs to work on. It's a great way to open the lines of communication. Another way to do it is after a meet, you can ask the coach where she thinks your daughter is getting deductions. It's just another way to let them know that you are paying attention. It can also be a good indication of where your gyms focus is. Some gyms are alot more focused on the optional level girls.
 

momof5

Member
Proud Parent
Oct 26, 2007
375
We just left a gym that had a similiar situation. DD could go a whole practice without hearing much from the coach. I think our situation is that there were too many girls for one coach. After failing to get this situation resolved we left. Last night after practice at her new gym dd commented that her old gym never corrected her and new place was always telling her to clean up small details. She wanted to know why the old coaches never corrected her.
 
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msl529

Guest
Msl529 - If you weren't in a different state, I'd think we had been at the same gym!

Well, this one was while we were in CA. Unfortunately for all the gymnasts & families out there, this problem does occur w/ some frequency! Sad, but I guess we learn from these challenges and then, in turn, can try to help others!
;)
 

gymnomore

Member
Aug 3, 2007
208
I'm sorry but 20 is too young to be a coach in charge. Sorry if I am offending any 20 year-old coaches on here but 9 out of 10 twenty-year old coaches do just what you described. I would write a note to the gym owner and tell him what you are observing, and based on over 15 years of gym-mom experience, I wouldn't even write my name . I would say tell him in person, but this is gymnastics, and you don't want to establish the reputation of being a problem parent. Gym coaches all seem to stick together, especially when it comes to parents. I think a little parental concern and the possibility of perhaps losing a kid might wake him up. Money talks in a big way. Maybe this will make the guy take note of what is going on in the gym and watch the 20-year old a little more carefully. That's what I would do.
 

DbacksMom75

Member
Proud Parent
Aug 18, 2008
112
Arlington, TX
I would talk to the owner/head coach about it, if she isn't watching not only can she not critique what they are doing but someone could get hurt. Oldest DD was dropped on her head while having her back tuck spotted in cheer, all because the girl was chatting with her friend instead of paying attention to the tumbling passes.:eek:
My gymmie's assistant coaches are 18 and 19, and they are the most awesome girls I have ever met. Both are level 10 gymnasts and they don't let the girls slack on anything. I think it's more of a maturity and experience issue. I have met "adult coaches" who are worse then the younger ones. (ex. An "adult" coach thought it appropriate to drop the F-bomb in front of 5 and 6 year olds..as in "Stop f#$&ing around" he didn't have a job after that).
As my DH says "money talks" more then likely the owner/HC will listen to your concerns and maybe train the current coach so she is more effective.:D
 

gym mom

Active Member
Sep 8, 2007
724
florida
first of all a coach is supposed to be teaching .If this has just started happing I might give it a few more practices things might change,of course i am a patient person .You said that other parents felt the same way maybe you could set up a meeting with the parents and Hc/owner .I am sure if the parents are having issues with the coaching he or she would like to here about it .Good luck I hope it works out.
 

Panda-girl's Mom

Active Member
Jan 9, 2008
781
It is a difficult situation to be in, my daughter also had skipped level 3 had alot of difficulty with the bars in level 4. Her coach was also young and acted similarly to your daughters coach. I tried to approach the owner without specifically complaining about the coaching but about her having difficulty getting her skills. It got so fustrating and bad that alot of the girls were getting privates at another gym and have since left. I was told that it takes time which it has and now she is repeating level 4. She now has all her skills and her form is better so maybe she was right. My daughter does not want to change gyms. I think if I approached the owner specifically about the coach who is one of her former gymnasts she would have shown us the door and my daughter would be very upset. So I quess as along as she is happy we will stick it out. I think it is also true what the other dad said our gym seem to focus more on the optional gymnasts and the better more experienced coaches work mostly with them.
 
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