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Junior Olympic New to JO... expectations from our coaches/gym

Eat/Sleep/Gym...Repeat

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Oct 26, 2019
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Our 14 yo daughter had a late start in gymnastics but fell in love and progressed fairly quickly. She competed Xcel up through Platinum last year, and over summer was "graduated" to JO Optionals. So far, she competed one lvl 4 meet, and then one lvl 5. She did well on scores and now is training lvl 6, maybe even lvl 7 ?? Also has goal to compete at college level (and that clock is ticking as she is a freshman in high school). She is at the same gym as her Xcel, but now has all new coaches and teammates. After these first few months with JO team, we are unfortunately getting impression that this may not be the gym to help her succeed. There is hardly any communication; her coaches aren’t even consistent in talking to her about what level she really will be competing this season (and it’s almost November). She has chosen her floor music, but there has been no announcement about scheduling time for choreography. The girls in the group that she trains with now don’t show up for half of the practice days and even when there have poor participation (these are JO girls lvl 6 and up). There are several issues with many of the girls’ behavior, disrespecting teammates and even coaches, yet repeat offenders are allowed to continue training. I’m not trying to imply my girl is a star by any means, but I was hoping to see what comment/advice more experienced Gym parents might have about this. Are these huge red flags? Am I over reading this? Is this the typical scenario? Is it time to seriously look into other gyms? We are new to this forum (and so many other things). Thank you in advance for any advice or guidance!!! (Worried momma)
 
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Sk8ermaiden

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May 6, 2013
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I do think that's a red flag. By optionals I'd expect the majority of the girls left to want to be there and want to work.

We were at a gym where I noticed the upper level girls missed practice all the time and they had an unusually high number of aches and pains that required sitting out and icing (and chatting) during practice. When they were practicing, there was quite a bit of goofing off. It was concerning because my daughter would be in that group in a few years and it did not seem awesome.

Lo and behold, the toxic head coach is removed from the equation, and all of a sudden the girls show up for practice and work hard when they're there. While they goof off less, they seem happier on the whole at practice.

That is to say - there will always be a girl here or there who isn't doing the work, but when the whole team is that way there's a problem with the gym culture. Whatever the coaches are doing, this is the response it's creating.

The big question is whether or not a new gym could take her with the season about to start. Have you/she seen improvement in her skills since she switched over? Does she feel like she gets good corrections from her coaches? Have you asked to have a chat about the coming season? At this point it's reasonable to expect to be able to ask about choreography and if they have an idea of her level.
 

gymgal

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The disrespect factor is a big redflag. It means the coaches don't know how to maintain a respectful envoronment. As for the girls skipping practice, not doing their best, this is harder to pick apart. It could be that you are at a very inclusive gym. The fact that your dd was allowed to move from xcel to JO suggests this. Many many gyms do not allow this. Your gym may prefer to keep the girls engaged in gymnastics as long as possible, for their best interest (social, health, etc) and to prep them for high school gymnastics. So they may be more lax on attendance. Of course, if the coaches are constantly complaining about girls not being there, not doing their assignments and you have the disrespect factor, then I would be worried.
 

Eat/Sleep/Gym...Repeat

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Oct 26, 2019
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The disrespect factor is a big redflag. It means the coaches don't know how to maintain a respectful envoronment. As for the girls skipping practice, not doing their best, this is harder to pick apart. It could be that you are at a very inclusive gym. The fact that your dd was allowed to move from xcel to JO suggests this. Many many gyms do not allow this. Your gym may prefer to keep the girls engaged in gymnastics as long as possible, for their best interest (social, health, etc) and to prep them for high school gymnastics. So they may be more lax on attendance. Of course, if the coaches are constantly complaining about girls not being there, not doing their assignments and you have the disrespect factor, then I would be worried.
Thank you for the reply and insight. Knowing that there is a “subculture” of “inclusive” gyms as you called it, confirms our suspicions. Except I’d even say there’s less focus on doing it for the girls’ benefit and more for running the business. We started getting suspicious last year when they took like 60 Xcel bronze girls, essentially tripling the team size but without a proportional increase in coaching staff. But I mentioned somewhere else, we just expected that making it to the “big leagues” would be a different culture. Didn’t realize girls would still stay this involved if they weren’t serious and expected that level of coaches expectations would be on par as well. So, we are in fact actively looking into other gyms this week. Thank you again for the support!!!
 

Sk8ermaiden

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We are at an inclusive gym. If you get the minimum required skills for bronze - you're in. So yes, there is an variable level of commitment and drive among the girls. We do have girls who miss gymnastics a lot for other activities. But respect and participation are expected of them when they're there. I big puffy heart that our coaches think everyone who wants to compete should be able to. But they also want those girls to be the best gymnasts they can be and that's not going to happen with the team running amok and an awful gymnast/coach ratio.
 
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Ty’s Dad

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I say go on meetscores and check out your gym scores for the past 5 years. If it’s a average 37+ AA gym then stay, as long as your daughter isn’t disrespecting coaches. Now if they’re a low AA gym and tour daughter has a serious goal then leave.
 

Sk8ermaiden

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Um yeah. I am torn between two responses:

With girls who don't respect their coaches, don't come to practice, and don't work hard while they're there - I would be gobsmacked if the average AA is 37 or higher.

and

It doesn't matter how "good" the gym is if your kid quit gymnastics because she hated it there.
 

ldw4mlo

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Um yeah. I am torn between two responses:

With girls who don't respect their coaches, don't come to practice, and don't work hard while they're there - I would be gobsmacked if the average AA is 37 or higher.

and

It doesn't matter how "good" the gym is if your kid quit gymnastics because she hated it there.
Yep
 

Eat/Sleep/Gym...Repeat

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Proud Parent
Oct 26, 2019
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USA
I say go on meetscores and check out your gym scores for the past 5 years. If it’s a average 37+ AA gym then stay, as long as your daughter isn’t disrespecting coaches. Now if they’re a low AA gym and tour daughter has a serious goal then leave.
Hi Ty’s Dad. I appreciate your reply! With the information in this post, I think it would be good advice. Sk8ermaiden and Idw4lmo have been interacting with me on my additional recent posts that also include more details about what I have come to confirm as a toxic environment, not just lax practices. But certainly in looking at new gyms we will be browsing meetscores. (Pulling an all-nighter working on this). Thanks again!
 

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