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For Coaches Moving up - gym discretion/secrecy discussion from parents forum

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gym law mom

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Dec 23, 2006
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I know I stuck this in another post, but just figured I had to give a little more brag to my gymmie. They did skills testing for all the optional girls last week---vault/bars on 1 day and then beam/floor the next. Coaches were walking around with skills sheets and clipboards, so the atmosphere was a little tense. They finished the 2nd day with about 45 minutes left of practice and were sent off to do some conditioning while the coaches met in the office. Coaches came out and tapped some on the head(mine included) and just said "you can go---see you next practice." One coach then came out in the lobby and asked 2 parents to come back in. So.............we left and nobody knew anything. My gymmie did text one of the girls that was asked to stay and she said they moved her up to L8--kind of. Well, for 48+ hours we had one stressed out kid. She nitpicked all the skills she did and of course the more she thought about them, the worse she felt she had done.

Monday rolled around(don't know if she heard a word said at school) and got to the gym. Asked her if she wanted me to come in---said no, she would call when she heard something. No call, so dh said he would go pick her up(we do carpool). He got there as practice was ending and asked her about move up. She said one coach came in while they were stretching and quickly pointed at those moving to L8, but my gymmie wasn't sure she pointed to her and then was reluctant to ask, so she went through the whole practice wondering. DH went in and asked the coach that did the pointing and she said "oh sure---she's L8." Ok, thrilled for my gymmie who had a coach tell her to quit just about 14 mos ago, but this whole skills test and move up could have been handled much much better.

On the up side for my gymmie, she will now get to go to 2 out of state meets(assuming she has all routines), she's thrilled and several of her best friends will be on the L8 team too. Downside is more hours---will increase to 20/week in Nov., more money/mo in tuition, her knees are acting up again(grrrrr).

Had a few minutes and just wanted to update everyone on our little saga.
 

bogwoppit

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Feb 26, 2007
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Congratulations to DD for all her hard work. Sounds as though she really wants this, good luck for the upcoming season.:)

It is a shame that gyms seem to really enjoy their little secrets, do they realise the stress that it places on gymmies and their families. It is the one part of having gymmies that drives me bonkers.
 

mariposa

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Sep 25, 2007
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That is awesome!! Congrats to your DD. That really really sucks how the gym handled things though. I just don't understand all the secretism. We get it with meets as well. Can't they make it easier? Post a list in the office, go ask the office. Anything but the way it seems to be at so many gyms.

Hope she gets her routines and has an awesome level 8 season!
 

MdGymMom01

Active Member
Mar 5, 2008
2,236
North America
That's awesome!! Kind of a tense nail-biter, but awesome just the same!!! Congrats to your dd!!! I know the feeling of tense "try-outs". At cheer they would have all the girls tryout by number and then after a week to 10 days they would post the results on the website grouped by what team and level and only by number. Everyone would be calling each other trying to figure out whose daughter's number is whose!!! Very very tense!!! LOL
 
Aug 7, 2008
118
Congrats to your dd!! She must be so excited!
That stinks that she had to go through all that worrying. It sounds like a lot of gyms need to come up with a better way of "moving" girls up.
 

Granny Smith

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Good job for your gymmie! I hate how communication is in the gym, it seems to be that way at so many gyms....
 

gymch34

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Aug 2, 2008
322
east coast
It says I can post a q on this forum so:
" Do you think you could exchange the word 'secretism' for the word 'discression'?"

Perhaps you could put yourself in the place of the the coaches having to deliver sensitive news to some athletes that will upset them?

Thanks for looking at both sides.
 

Granny Smith

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Jun 21, 2007
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This is a parent's forum.

I am sure if I were to post a similiar type of "question" on the coaches forum I would be reminded that as a parent it is not my place.

I understand that coaches have there way of doing things, but us parents see things differently at times and are just as entitled to the way we see things - right or wrong. Although the child is the gymnast, the parent is the client (who pays).

I may go and read over on the coaches forum and may ask a question looking for an opinion of coaches, but I would never post a question in another thread that is going around the intent to get a point across.

I am not trying to come off rude more so matter of fact, but I think your question is a little snarky and certainly wouldn't fly on the Coaches' forum if I did the same.
 

bogwoppit

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Feb 26, 2007
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It says I can post a q on this forum so:
" Do you think you could exchange the word 'secretism' for the word 'discression'?"

Perhaps you could put yourself in the place of the the coaches having to deliver sensitive news to some athletes that will upset them?

Thanks for looking at both sides.

As this is the parents forum and we are discussing it from a parental perspective we probably see it as secretive. It is a very common feeling expressed by gymnasts and parents from gym all over.

I know for sure that coaching is a tough job, which is made even harder by parents constantly asking questions. As parents we want more clarity and information on our childs progress. The stress that our kids go through not knowing if or when or even how they will move up is enormous.

They are very young and have a hard time handling the unknown. It may not seem like a big deal to a coach whether a child knows on Friday or Monday, but it is incredibly hard for many kids.

Bad news is upsetting for sure, but sometimes clear guidelines ahead of time would alleviate some of the stress.

I am going to mirror this in the coaches forum, lets see what they think there.;)


But lets stick to replying in our own forums so we don't derail this celebration of GLM's news.
 

gotgym

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Jun 11, 2008
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As a coach of many years and mom of 2 older gymnasts ( both now out of the sport and teaching 1st gr) I look at things a little differently.. I remember well those car rides home and the stress and phone calls from school asking if I received any news or found out anything yet from the gym?
Personally I dont agree with the above scenario and dont feel dad should have had to seek out anyone to get the results. I am not sure either if anyone but the headcoach or the tester should be giving out the result as it may not be totally accurate

Before the testing I would have made it clear this is the date of testing and this is the date when all the girls will receive results. I would not announce it but, hand out envelopes with the news in it addressed to the Parent of Suzie. Jones. I also include a time they may call if they would like to discuss results. While its important to congratulate those that move up I feel its just as important to not devastate those that do not and give them reasons why they are not ready to safely move up at this time.
No matter what method you use there is always someone not happy/complaining and claiming not to be "one of those parents":eek: but I have found this to work pretty well.
 

Linsul

Active Member
Sep 19, 2008
876
Pripyat
Posting to agree with Gotgym and to say discretion :)D) only becomes secrecy :)mad:) when there's a lack of clarity. The testing format, result date, result distributor, and person/method to discuss results with would be known in advance in a perfect world. Really I don't know why a gym wouldn't implement that. The gymnast nor the parent should be put through an emotional ringer if it can be avoided.
 
K

KBT

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I don't think this situation was handled well by the gym, and I'm a coach. Yes, it's hard for me to deliver news to a kid that she doesn't get to move to the next level, but I think you have to be clear about when and how the information will be transmitted. If skills testing was on a Friday and the coaches wanted the weekend to make decisions, the kids should be told that they'd find out at practice on Monday. And on Monday the kids who are moving up should be clearly named, or pulled aside as a group so the coaches can discuss results with both the group who's moving up and the group that's not moving up.

I've done a number of training sessions on personality types. There's a bunch of different tests you can take that use different descriptions to categorize people, but you end up with four basic types: the super organized, list-making, detail-oriented, introvert; the to-the-point, extroverted leader; the very social, caring, outgoing; the introverted, reliable, just get things done type. I'm guessing this coach was an extroverted leader, someone's who's not as detail oriented and probably didn't realize that the parents and kids are holding their breath waiting for a decision. Someone like that may need to be reminded of how to better handle the situation next time.

If it makes you feel any better - do you remember the NBC broadcast of this year's Olympic Trials? At the end they show a USAG official just pointing at the girls in a back hallway about who made it to the training camp and you just hear "you're going, you're not going, you're going..." Sounds like the same thing happens no matter what level a gymnast is at...
 

GymLyon

New Member
Oct 12, 2008
44
I have never had to go through the stress of testing because my gym's boys program was so small you either knew you were going to move up or not.

From a coaches perspective though, think of it this way: You have ~80-100 girls who ALL want to move up and do better. Of course not all can do so, and there's no way you can keep up with every single little thing that every single girl does. Testing gives the coaches a way to make sure the gymnast can do what they need to do or be where they need to be in order to move up. Unfortunately, "secrets" and stress are side affects.

I understand the need for some parents to know asap if their child has advanced or not, and yes the gym probably could have handled it a little better. But I think some parents blow it out of proportion by calling around and feeding the grapevine with gossip and rumors of he said she said. Of course I'm not saying that you did this, but saying that some parents make this already stressful ordeal much worse. I've even had parents call the gym early to see if their child has moved and the answer is always the same: you will find out when everyone else does.

The people who were pulled aside either A. barely made the cut and were told they need to work extra hard but were going to get moved up, or B. told they were the cream of the crop and needed to be the leaders next year. Those are the only two reasons I would do such a thing.

Congrads on moving up, I know how much of a relief it is for all that hard work to pay off, good luck in level 8!
 

gymdog

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Jul 5, 2007
5,121
That seems like an unusual way to handle moving up, must be a large gym. My optional programs, it was relatively obvious. There were skill requirements (beyond the requirement of the level) and if you had them at the end of the summer, you competed that level. They sent home a letter to the parents at some point confirming but everyone pretty much knew who was moving up. If in between the end of the summer and when we started competing in Nov, a critical skill that was inconsistent before got consistent, you could move up to compete the other level. Likewise, if you were struggling to put routines together, you'd probably start competing the lower level.

I have no idea why anyone would bother to handle it as described in the original post, seems overly complicated but I figure they had some reason. If you are concerned I would politely address them about it and say you were confused by the situation and you wanted to let them know it put a lot of stress on your dd. I don't mean this to be rude either, but if one side is secretive then it doesn't help if the other side only addresses it when the situation gets extremely tense, or only with third parties who have no influence in the process. It is possible they were still deciding on some people or there was some question, or that they thought this was the best way to handle it.

Based on my experience, the most probable answer is that it was a communication problem either between the daily coach and other testing coaches/HC, or between whoever designed the process and some of the people who carried it out. One of the big problems with gyms from what I can see is that some people are working for people they have known since they were children or have much in common with and it lends itself to a fairly informal environment on our side, which I've observed often inappropriately carry over to the other side of the equation. No one is usually too worried about getting fired over something like this, so when they are given a set of instructions, they either didn't listen, listened and then everyone decided to do something their own way anyway which led to everyone getting results at different times, or they just started talking to someone in the middle of doing what they were supposed to be doing and forgot. Or some variation on that theme. And I think a lot of times things can be so obvious to you it doesn't occur that others are questioning it.

It's kind of unfair to say we have no idea as well because many of us grew up doing gymnastics. It's not like we've never been on the other side. I think one of the more frustrating vibes I get is when people act like I don't understand because I'm the coach, or I don't know what I'm doing. I did gymnastics too. Actually I am still a teenager. It wasn't that long ago. Most of us are not making decisions randomly for the heck of it. Sometimes in practice, a model that was designed with good intentions goes awry, or sometimes people just have a logical flaw in their thought process. It is okay to express discontent with certain policies if you do it respectfully and focus on explaining how it affected your family, rather than accusatory statements.

There is a difference between feedback like "X is glad that she moved up but the process was very stressful on her because of the way the girls were segregated at the end. She hoped to get at least some feedback at the end of the night, although we understand that a final decision might not have been reached" and statements that are basically accusatory like "you don't understand, you don't care, etc." A lot of times it is latter, sometimes phrased nicer, but still the same vibe and it just makes you feel horrible and defensive and wondering why they didn't say something before since this is usually after the entire situation has played out. Most coaches genuinely care about the kids but they are dealing with 10, 15, 20 on a team, not one. Believe me, I have been on the other side of miscommunication about moving up and it isn't fun, but I love my coaches and I know they were dealing with a lot at that particular time. There really nothing more to it in that case than they were a coach short and they just didn't know what the right answer was, what I wanted, whether it was optimal, etc.
 
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