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Moving to a new area...gyms and coaching options?

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WorkerbeeMom

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Hello everyone. I'm enjoying the forum here, and the information you're able share as parents who've traveled this gym journey with your kids.

We have a dilemma. We are scheduled to move at the end of the competition season, due to my husband's work, and while I'm in the area looking for homes, I've done some preliminary searching of new gyms for our daughter. There aren't the options that we are used to coming from a major metropolitan area. My daughter is a level 9 now, hoping to compete level 10 next season. She currently has several skills to get there, such as Tkachev, a yurchenko LO, and a beautiful BHS LO on beam. I don't want to stop her momentum with this move, which she worries about.

One gym that's near to where we'll likely be living has a head coach who seems to talk a good talk, but the coaching style seems unusual. He doesn't believe in spotting the girls on his team, ever, even when they're learning new skills on bars. He doesn't do much shaping at all either, except on the practice bar on the floor. DD's current coach is constantly molding her body into the positions it should be in on bars, and this is how she's learned and advanced quickly, learning difficult skills sometimes in weeks. It is difficult to imagine success in such a hands-off environment, truthfully.

I am concerned about the safety of a gym in which there is no spotting on tumbling as well. This coach insists that spotting prevents actual learning. I can't help wonder if he's simply physically unable (not in great shape) or too lazy. I hate to assume, but I've just never heard of this....

But especially on bars: How do the younger girls even learn giants if they aren't with a hands-on coach? He says that he instructs them and provides corrections from a better vantage point on the floor. It feels a little questionable to me.

Has anyone experienced a gym or a coaching style like this? Is it effective? Is it a new thing? Please advise.
 

GymnsticsLife

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I do not think this is normal, or a good idea whatsoever. Imagine what were to happen if a child developed a mental block? No spots, I guess. Or, do you mean rarely spots. If the coach is against spotting, that is his/her choice, but not a good one for this high demanding sport. Kids and older girls simply cant apply corrections and get skills without the feeling of a hand guiding them. It wont happen.

If you consider your DD to be incredibly courageous and break fears easily, this might be okay, but if she is, like me, not able to do this, I dont think this will be her best season. It is the coaches job to help them, not simply watch. Remember, this is my opinion. If there are other coaches/gymnasts who disagree, please be polite. I dont think I would be as good as I am if my coaches were not to spot me.

If you would be able to message me the area, I can help find better, safer choices for you to take your money. If not, I wish you and your DD luck with the move!
 
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WorkerbeeMom

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I do not think this is normal, or a good idea whatsoever. Imagine what were to happen if a child developed a mental block? No spots, I guess. Or, do you mean rarely spots. If the coach is against spotting, that is his/her choice, but not a good one for this high demanding sport. Kids and older girls simply cant apply corrections and get skills without the feeling of a hand guiding them. It wont happen.

If you consider your DD to be incredibly courageous and break fears easily, this might be okay, but if she is, like me, not able to do this, I dont think this will be her best season. It is the coaches job to help them, not simply watch. Remember, this is my opinion. If there are other coaches/gymnasts who disagree, please be polite. I dont think I would be as good as I am if my coaches were not to spot me.

If you would be able to message me the area, I can help find better, safer choices for you to take your money. If not, I wish you and your DD luck with the move!

Hi there. Thank you so much for your honest feedback. I will PM you the area.

The concerns you mention are exactly my concerns. It was so odd to be in a gym where the girls are doing uneven bars with no one around. ?? No one working with them except to give corrections from the sideline.
 

Sasha

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How do the optionals at that gym do? Would he be the only coach for the optionals team for levels 9 and 10?

Do they have a good size level 8-10 team with competitive skills who reach the level your daughter is targeting (regionals, nationals, college... whatever her potential goals may be)?

Have you been able to observe a workout at all or talk to parents there? If not, that is usually very telling. It is so hard to judge a potential outcome for your daughter without direct observation.. and usually parents are open to talking about their experience with a potential newcomer.
 
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WorkerbeeMom

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Good questions. The scores of this team are not impressive. Only one 36 last season out of the entire optional (30+ member) team, nothing higher. That girl went to Westerns, but she's the only one who did. There were 7 or 8 level 9 gymnasts on the team? Most were 6, 7, and 8s.

There were two level 10s and they both went to Nationals. And then the coach who spots left, and half the team moved on to other gyms or stopped doing club altogether (focusing on HS gymnastics or something else, I'm told). The team used to be about 28-30 girls at Optional level, I'm told. After the only hands on coach left, things began to devolve. I'd guess there are about 15-20 now?

I talked to one mom who told me her daughter was competing level 10 this season, but she also said her daughter was worried because she didn't yet have a release skill on bars, her pike vault, or her dismount on beam. It made me wonder how she was ever a level 9 without a bar release skill. She wasn't. She last competed level 8 two years ago, with a pirouette, and has been out with injuries ever since. That made me wonder if they move the gymnasts up too soon. Skills that loose and nonexistent would never be slated to compete level 10 just 8 weeks before competition season. My daughter has three release skills in addition to pirouette, and she's likely competing level 9 this year. Maybe our current gym is just more conservative? I'd ask our current coaches but they're both in denial that H is leaving soon. :( I hate to bring the point home even more.

I was able to observe the workouts. They seemed to be organized and fairly productive. Lots of drills. Lots of pit bar work. No spotting of any bar work or bar dismount though, on set, and one girl fell flat on her face doing a layout flyaway. That was alarming. Her mom said she'd never done it before.

Parents seemed resigned to having lost the spotting/shaping/more active coach, and said they'd voiced desire to have him replaced, but were told it's actually better this way.
 

ldw4mlo

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How do the optionals at that gym do? Would he be the only coach for the optionals team for levels 9 and 10?

Do they have a good size level 8-10 team with competitive skills who reach the level your daughter is targeting (regionals, nationals, college... whatever her potential goals may be)?

Have you been able to observe a workout at all or talk to parents there? If not, that is usually very telling. It is so hard to judge a potential outcome for your daughter without direct observation.. and usually parents are open to talking about their experience with a potential newcomer.
This

And what are your other options............ Keep in mind you may need to travel further then you are used too.
 

OzZee

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How does she best learn?
If she is a verbal learner then she might be ok with the coach, if she requires to be physically shown then she is just going to be frustrated and not learn much.
From what you've said no one seems particularly happy since the other coach left.
How far away is the gym the other coach and gymnasts went to?
I wouldn't be seriously considering that gym.
 

rsm

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My DD's gym does very little spotting once the girls get to optionals... except for bars. We were actually without a bars coach who could spot well for about a year (a few years ago) and the result was very, very poor performance on bars for most girls. Now the bars coach(es) are very hands on and spot a lot. At least up to competition time. There is still very little or no spotting on any other event. I saw the difference with and without on bars, it's huge.
 
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Sasha

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Good questions. The scores of this team are not impressive. Only one 36 last season out of the entire optional (30+ member) team, nothing higher. That girl went to Westerns, but she's the only one who did. There were 7 or 8 level 9 gymnasts on the team? Most were 6, 7, and 8s.

There were two level 10s and they both went to Nationals. And then the coach who spots left, and half the team moved on to other gyms or stopped doing club altogether (focusing on HS gymnastics or something else, I'm told).
Based on this information, I would be very skeptical of sending your daughter here. She seems to have advanced past everyone else who is currently left at this gym (at least on bars, which I hear is usually the biggest deal in upper optionals...). Though a 'non-spotting' coaching philosophy could work if the coach was amazing perhaps, it does not look like that has been evidenced in this program thus far. Couple that with your daughter being used to another way of learning, and being more advanced than everyone else, and this does not look like a very successful recipe. I would only consider this gym if there are literally no other choices, or the other choices are worse.

If the gym otherwise had more successful optionals, then the no-spotting philosophy would worry me less (though I'm more inclined to like the spotting on bars). We used to have only 1 optional coach (growing gym), and that coach didn't seem to spot bars past learning giants, didn't spot vault, yet produced a couple highly competitive 8/9's (didn't have 10s at the time). Now that we have a bigger team, and another coach who heavily spots bars and vault, I do think the skills are coming faster for more girls, though. For the record, there is zero spotting (meaning physically helping a gymnast through the skill) on beam or tumbling past level 3 in our gym. Coaches do help with shaping on side stations, etc, or might shape while holding a pose on the apparatus, but never 'physically assist' a girl through an active skill.

What are your other gym options?
 
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WorkerbeeMom

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This

And what are your other options............ Keep in mind you may need to travel further then you are used too.

It's already a ways to travel, but I will keep looking. Our current gym keeps looking better and better.
 

WorkerbeeMom

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How does she best learn?
If she is a verbal learner then she might be ok with the coach, if she requires to be physically shown then she is just going to be frustrated and not learn much.
From what you've said no one seems particularly happy since the other coach left.
How far away is the gym the other coach and gymnasts went to?
I wouldn't be seriously considering that gym.
She is quite good at listening to corrections, but for some things she is learning, like a blind full, she says it is helpful to have the shapes and positions guided along. Having that be completely absent, I think, would be a challenge.

I appreciate your thoughts :)
 

WorkerbeeMom

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You do not need a single rail release to compete level 9 , or even 10...it's advantageous to your score if you do though...
Really? You don't have to have a bar release at level 9 or 10? I thought a bail half or pak was pretty standard, or Tkachev.
 

WorkerbeeMom

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My DD's gym does very little spotting once the girls get to optionals... except for bars. We were actually without a bars coach who could spot well for about a year (a few years ago) and the result was very, very poor performance on bars for most girls. Now the bars coach(es) are very hands on and spot a lot. At least up to competition time. There is still very little or no spotting on any other event. I saw the difference with and without on bars, it's huge.
This is very interesting, since you've experienced both types. The lack of progress and poor technique learned on bars is what worries me.
Thank you for your insight.
 

WorkerbeeMom

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Based on this information, I would be very skeptical of sending your daughter here. She seems to have advanced past everyone else who is currently left at this gym (at least on bars, which I hear is usually the biggest deal in upper optionals...). Though a 'non-spotting' coaching philosophy could work if the coach was amazing perhaps, it does not look like that has been evidenced in this program thus far. Couple that with your daughter being used to another way of learning, and being more advanced than everyone else, and this does not look like a very successful recipe. I would only consider this gym if there are literally no other choices, or the other choices are worse.

If the gym otherwise had more successful optionals, then the no-spotting philosophy would worry me less (though I'm more inclined to like the spotting on bars). We used to have only 1 optional coach (growing gym), and that coach didn't seem to spot bars past learning giants, didn't spot vault, yet produced a couple highly competitive 8/9's (didn't have 10s at the time). Now that we have a bigger team, and another coach who heavily spots bars and vault, I do think the skills are coming faster for more girls, though. For the record, there is zero spotting (meaning physically helping a gymnast through the skill) on beam or tumbling past level 3 in our gym. Coaches do help with shaping on side stations, etc, or might shape while holding a pose on the apparatus, but never 'physically assist' a girl through an active skill.

What are your other gym options?

Yes. I have exactly your concerns. The other options are few and far between, but I think I need to investigate further. Might just have to drive more. Thank you :)
 

WorkerbeeMom

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I don't see all of my replies to you, but I so appreciate everyone's feedback. Based on your experiences, I will keep searching. I wondered if maybe there was some documented or even anecdotal success out there of how bars can be taught with no shaping or spotting.
 

bookworm

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Really? You don't have to have a bar release at level 9 or 10? I thought a bail half or pak was pretty standard, or Tkachev.
Well, a bail or a Pak isn't a single rail like a Tkatchev, those are both high to low and I would say yes, those are needed for 9/10 but something like the Tkatchev , Yaeger, Gienger are not required but do add to one's score if done well..
 
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WorkerbeeMom

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Well, a bail or a Pak isn't a single rail like a Tkatchev, those are both high to low and I would say yes, those are needed for 9/10 but something like the Tkatchev , Yaeger, Gienger are not required but do add to one's score if done well..
Thank you. That's good to know. :)
 
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