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Need advice

Discussion in 'Men's Artistic Gymnastics (MAG)' started by 3crazymonkeys, Jul 23, 2018.

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  1. Hi everyone. I posted last year that my 9 year old, level 6, son was going through a rough time and had gone though a few coaching changes. Well we ended up getting a great coach at the gym last September. He was a perfect fit for my son! It took time but over the last ten months the coach learned what works best for my sensitive perfectionist boy. And he became my sons favorite coach which says a lot. Things were finally going really well in the last few weeks and I was seeing my happy hardworking boy back. Then last week they fired this coach who was also the boys director. This has been devasting to my kid and the reasons have nothing to do with coaching. He was very opinionated and I think it backfired on him with the wrong person. So now my son will be going onto his 6 coach in 4 years. For a kid who hates change. I trust the owner and he’s been in the business 30 years. But I’m not sure this is the best fit for my son anymore. We have a meeting and will get more info this week. But the coach I believe he will have has said to my son on multiple occasions “if you expect to be perfect you are in the wrong sport”. Am I being sensitive that this bothers me? We have other gyms in our area but they have their own problems I’ve heard of and not sure they’d be a good fit either. It seems to be hard with my son being sensitive. There’s a chance we can follow his old coach but not sure that would be long term and I know there would be lots of risks. I guess I just need to vent and ask for any advice moving forward. This gym is all we know but maybe a change would be good emotionally for my kid?? I just don’t know. Ugh, so stressful!
  2. First, lots of sympathy. My DS has been through coaching changes, some welcome, some unwelcome, and it is never an easy or a smooth transition. I'm so sorry your son is losing a coach he loved! Is the coach going somewhere you might consider moving your son? Unfortunately, over the last year or so I've seen first-hand just how hard it is to find and retain good men's coaches, and high turnover is fairly common.

    This comment caught my attention, because I say something similar to my son a lot, basically that this is a sport in which perfection is unattainable, so you can't beat yourself up for not hitting an impossible standard. I'm not sure of the context around this coach's comments, so perhaps there was dismissive or harsh tone to them, but the gist of the comment doesn't strike me as an issue. I certainly wouldn't want a coach telling my son the opposite -- that if he's not perfect, he's in the wrong sport!

    Are there other reasons you're worried about this coach? If not, I'd try to give it a month or two to see how your son settles in. Good luck to him!

    ETA: My son is also on the sensitive side and 9 was a particularly hard age with gym. He really struggled with a particular coach at that age. He's gotten considerably less sensitive in the past two years and can better deal with personalities that aren't a great fit with his. So there's hope on that front too!
  3. I have a daughter, not a son but felt I would add that they very comment has been told to her. The last time I heard the comment it was used to stop the tears of my sensitive daughter that were forming when I skill could not be completed. The comment can be used for good or evil. :D
    3crazymonkeys likes this.
  4. Thank you both for the perspective. I will definitely not take that comment to heart now. It was always said when my son was getting frustrated and mad at himself.

    Also, thank you samsmama for the encouragement that he will get better with the sensitivity. Age 9 has definitely been the roughest but we are nearing the end and the occasions happen less often.
    Mom2twingymnasts likes this.
  5. We just lost both of our coaches who quit unexpectedly. We were left with no coach for a month and not a lot of effort on the gym's part in finding one. We moved gyms. Longer drive, more expensive, more intense. My son has autism and doesn't handle change well. It's been a few months and it was the best thing that has ever happened to my son's gymnastics. He loves his new gym. The coaches are fantastic and his new teammates are outstanding. I'm am grateful for the change!
  6. I can't stress how big a difference it is for my DS. At 9, he was constantly frustrated, crying at practice, angry at his coach (who wasn't perfect, but was very patient and kind to DS). I was sure he would quit, but I asked him if he'd try another gym before he decided. He agreed and clicked with the new coach pretty quickly. While there have of course been tough times in the past 2 years, he's much happier and chill about gym. I think a lot of it was maturity for sure, some is the coach, and some is just the confidence that comes from 4+ years of weathering the ups and downs and knowing that he will eventually get whatever skill is eluding him at the moment.

    There is an assistant coach this summer who's being pretty harsh with the boys and I think a year or two ago, DS would have been very upset about that, complained about going to practice, etc. Now, he just shrugs it off as the coach's issue. He knows he's doing what his head coach wants of him and while he listens to the assistant and tries his best, he realizes it's not personal.
    PinPin likes this.
  7. That is so helpful and encouraging. Thank you!! The coach that they just fired has tons of experience and was so understanding. He explained that lots of boys go through this. That around 11 they get their determination back. He was helping my son through it and teaching him to speak up when he got upset. We were turning the corner and that makes this that much harder. The new coach is just not experienced. Only second year coaching team. My son is very familiar with him but it’s just not the same. I just hope my son makes it through the hard parts and grows from the experience. I know he still loves gymnastics so I don’t want him to quit and regret it later. I told him now is not the time to make that decision when he mentioned quitting while all upset. When things calm down if he still feels that way then it’s fine.
    PinPin and samsmama like this.
  8. I would be careful of following this he coach. If you go to another gym, there is no guarantee your son will even get to work with that coach. Or he may work with the coach one year and even up with a different one the next year anyway. You may end up in a gym you really don't like for a coach he doesn't even have.

    Having lots of different coaches is quite usual in this sport, most of our gymnasts have apparatus coaches rather than level coaches. So they may work with 4 or 5 different coaches at any given time. This means the kids get the input and feedback from lots of different coaches, as each will see different things and explain things a little differently. It also means they can develop a positive relationship with more than one coach, it's great to have multiple adults who care about them and their success. If a coach leaves it's not so devastating for them, or if their regular coach can't attend competition with them they still have a familiar face. It also eliminates the problem of kids quitting the sport because one year they get a coach who does not click with them.

    As far as the comment about this not being the sport for someone who wants to be perfect (not really true). As coaches we often try different strategies for different kids. Saying something with the hope to produce a certain reaction. This may have just been an attempt to help your son relax. We don't always get it right, sometimes we try something and it makes the situation worse and not better. But most coaches will learn from that and choose different words next time.
    jenjean70, PinPin, skschlag and 2 others like this.
  9. Hi 3crazymonkees. I also have a son who, since he was a little tiny guy, was considered "sensitive" and a "perfectionist." During 4th grade- when he was 10- it became so bad it was hurting his ability to learn at school. After a year of trying to help my son on our own, he finally got a diagnoses of generalized anxiety disorder. It was nice to understand better what was wrong, but then began the search for effective treatment, which took more time. Finally things started improving (and he is headed to a large HS next month and even though that change really IS very stressful after several years homeschooling, he is handling it well.) Yes of course, some kids outgrow "sensitivity." But some need more help in learning how to tolerate and effectively reduce and handle their stress and anxiety. Just throwing that our there.

    I am curious what is it, exactly, about what the coach said that is bothering you. "Perfectionism" and other forms of anxiety slow (or stop) progress, no matter WHAT one is trying to do. So, factually speaking, I agree with the coach.

    The issue I personally would have with the statement is that saying this to an anxious kid is not going to help anything. Perfectionism and other forms of anxiety are based on entirely irrational beliefs, and so a sufferer cannot be rationalized out of this thinking. But it is too much to expect a gym coach to know that, or to know how best to communicate with a person in a state of anxiety, unless of course you can help the coach by suggesting more effective ways to communicate with your son.
    NY Dad, 3crazymonkeys and PinPin like this.
  10. I think the comment really was intended to help him gain perspective. These boys expect so much of themselves. Learning to try, fail get up and try again is do important.

    I am sorry to hear about the coach though. It’s hard to lose a coach you really connect with.
    3crazymonkeys and PinPin like this.
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