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Parent Complaints & Suggestions

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JBS

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Former Gymnast
Sep 3, 2005
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We have many parent's at our gym that just don't stay and watch (I'm talking rec. classes right now), it's their time to go to Starbuck's or go shopping. This is great, except when they have a complaint. We get things like, "Suzy told me that she didn't even get one turn this class, you need talk to that coach.":mad: For this reason (which has been discussed on this board), I prefer that parents stay and watch as much as possible.

My question:

If your child is having a problem with class, do you speak to the coach right away or do you decide to stay and watch the class once or twice to find out if your child is stretching the truth a little bit?
 
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davjam

New Member
Feb 27, 2007
23
Parent complaints and suggestions

To me there are several pages I could fill with this one.
Consistency in coaches (" my daughter has had 4 different teachers in the last 2 months).
Coaches look like they don't care(no enthusiasm or energy).
My child is bored with class and does not want to come back.
My child can not do the skills on the skill sheet.
Can the teacher explain the purpose of the things she/he does in class?
The class seems to do the same thing every class.
The office staff only wants my money.
The staff is not friendly or easy to talk to
Why does the instructor seem to be more critical of a particular student?

This is a large area of concern and I hope that parents will speak up and voice those concerns.:eek: I am both a parent and longtime coach so I am interested in topics dealing with the parents aspect.:confused:
 

Mac

Member
Mar 7, 2007
65
Back when my child was in kindergarten, her teacher said, "I won't believe what your child says happens at home, if you don't believe what she says happens in class."

Her way of saying that kids don't know all that goes on, don't see the full picture, have faulty memories, and sometimes don't tell the stories accurately, either. That's why they're still kids. If I have a question I ask the coach. My daughter knows that's what I'll do, so it limits the "tall tales" she'll tell. Most coaches will answer questions if asked, but get a bit defensive if they're told. There is usually a method to their madness, and they'll explain it if asked the right way. Maybe you'll agree with their reasons and maybe you won't, but you'll usually get an explanation. I try to think of every encounter with her coaches like I would an encounter with her school teachers. Similar expectations and similar respect.

As regards parents and the gym, two cardinal rules:

* Don't interact with your child during class, because it takes away from the coaches' authority; and
* Don't interact with the coaches during class, because it takes the coach away from the other kids.

As to staying to watch or not staying, no set rule. Depends on the parent-child dynamic. Some like it, some don't. Do whatever helps the child thrive.
 

xstitchcarina

Member
Mar 7, 2007
286
48
Netherlands
Well in our rec groups, which is where my daughter doesn't go anymore, we know there are problems with the trainer. But parents are generally not allowed to watch. I actually just spoke to 1 mom this morning at school about it, since her daughter is in one of the rec groups. But she can only hear from daughter or other kids and not see for herself, which is annoying.

I usually watch in the group where my daughter goes, the selection group, on the Saturday. She trains on Thursdays, can't watch then, cause I have 2 other kids, we don't have Starbucks:D . But I am in good contact with the trainer and she usually lets me watch on the Saturdays also because I help out at times with some of the money side of it all, payments for competitions and that.

(Got to go now and help build up the hall, we don't have our own gymnastics hall, everything has to be set on the 2 days and I help out.)

CARINA
 

Mac

Member
Mar 7, 2007
65
I would not put my daughter in a gym where I could not observe. There is too much variation in the quality of coaching from gym to gym, and even within gyms. A coach with 20 years experience is different from a 16-yo is different from...

I like to know the style of coaching, the safety procedures, etc. Heck, I like to see if my daughter's happy or not during class, and not just afterwards. Doesn't mean I have to watch all the time, I just like having the option. It's the same as at school...we've always been allowed to visit and observe at her school. Would not want it differently.

[Obviously that is age dependent. My daughter's needs at 6 are different from at 10 are different from at 16.]
 
G

GymnastConnection

Guest
Parents and Coaches

My daughter is a level 5 gymnast and recently had to have surgery on her elbow to remove damaged cartilage. Prior to her operation she complained several times to her coach about her elbow and her ability to perform some skills in the routine. Her coaches approached the complaints with skepticism and demeaned her in front of the other gymnast to get her to work harder. Several parents have had similar experiences with this and other coaches at the gym. I understand that there are children who will cry wolf, but not always.

The gym we attend is very large and has limited viewing room, therefore parents of gymnast level 4 and above are asked to only watch one night a month, which also happens to be the night team fees are due. And as one would expect the coaches have their nice faces on.

 

Mac

Member
Mar 7, 2007
65
You raise a good point for the coaches here: how do you know when a child is really hurting versus playing for sympathy? I've seen both sides--not recognizing a true hurt right away and being overly cautious when not really hurt (other than pride, maybe). It's gotta be difficult to get it right every time. It's made all the more difficult with younger athletes, because they don't know their bodies as well, nor have the language skills to explain themselves as an older child might.

The one caution, GC, is that "conversations" such as you had with the coach should be private. No one likes to be called out in public, especially someone who has authority over the kids, because it reduces the authority. No different than taking a teacher to task in the middle of class. The coach may have deserved it, but in private is better, and after class, when it doesn't take time from others in the class.

That said, I'd be unhappy with both the actions of the coach and the viewing policies. My daughter tried dance some years ago, and the facility only allowed parents to stand outside on the sidewalk and look through the small outside windows!!! That was enough for us to move on. With school and other things, there are already limited hours to be around our kids. I'm not willing to give up 20 additional hours each week being told I cannot watch when I want. I also won't send her somewhere where she will be knowingly berated.
 

Ltlewonder

New Member
Feb 15, 2007
30
Thomasville, NC
Really lucky1!

I really appreciate being able to be a part of this forum!! It really opens your eyes when you get to see what others have to say and their experiences.
We picked the gym we're at now because of word of mouth from a good friend. We have tons of gyms here in the Triad of NC, but this one seemed to get great reviews and this particular girl (a 7 yr. old) went to the one gym and hated it and cried everytime they left home, then tried the gym we're at now and LOVED it!! So needless to say, we went to the one she liked.
Our gym is not huge, but our pre-team that my 5 yr. old is on, there are about 15-18 girls. They will moved to level 3 team in May.
We have a "lobby" that is full of chairs in front of a huge glass wall, and we sit and watch both nights that Mac attends.
Our gym owner/coach is an NCAA sanctioned Women's gymnastics judge and she has the most awesome personality I have ever seen.
One time, Mackenzie was complaining about her back hurting her and my immediate reaction was "oh no, what am I doing letting her do so much at such a young age?" We spent a few minutes with coach after class and she explained to me in a very logical way why Mac was experiencing the discomfort and what we could do at home to help it. Within 1 week, I heard nothing else about the backache.
Anyway, thank you for letting us all take part in this important, informational group forum.
Best of luck to all of you and your girls. Maybe we'll see you around at a meet sometime!
God Bless, :)
Les
 

JBS

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I love this thread...let me make my feelings clear. I am a coach and a parent.

If I cannot walk into a gym at any given time and watch my daughter, I will not go to that gym. If I am asked to only watch at a certain time, I would immediately talk to the owner. I would explain to the owner that I could only pay for what I am allowed to watch. Would I watch all the time...NO...I would watch randomly (when I wanted to).

Public schools encounter problems all the time for this reason. Public schools, in general, have higher standards than a gym. You must have a college degree to be a teacher. Coaches are often unexperienced, young, hired off the street, or any combination of. Gyms are able to do this because of the open environment that should exist.
 
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Megley

Guest
To answer the original question, I would definitely stay and watch before just taking the word of my 5 year old that she didn't get a turn or some similar complaint. On the other hand, if she complained of something more serious like that one of the coaches hurt her, I would probably talk to the coach rather than observe to see if it happened again. I generally watch my daughter's practices anyway, but that will change this summer when she starts going in the mornings when I have to be at work. I'm pretty comfortable now with this gym and the coaches and I know a lot of the girls who will be in the gym with her so I think things will go fine. I agree that a gym should let the parents watch and I would be suspicious if they didn't. I can't see not watching a one hour rec class but it's certainly understandable when team parents can't stay for a four hour practice.

As for believing them when they are hurt, I think if a child complains repeatedly about pain she should be taken seriously. For the poster whose daughter's elbow was hurt, I think that coach's behavior was just wrong. I know that a lot of kids wind up with minor injuries in the gym - my own daughter has been kicked in the face, hit the beam coming down from a handstand, collided with another gymnast, hit the bar funny, etcetera. These types of injuries are usually minor but the coaches take them seriously enough to let the child take time out from practice, ice the injury or put on a bandaid. These little things are what makes the hurt "go away" for kids, as any adult who has or works with kids knows.
 

davjam

New Member
Feb 27, 2007
23
parent complainta and suggestions

This seems to be a great thread. I believe it will help many parents realize that coaches are parents too and we have feelings and that we are approachable. The only thing I would suggest(to the parents) is that if the coach is not willing to listen openly to your concerns, look for another coach, There must be constant open lines between coaches and parents. The parents must feel comfortable in asking questions of the "professional" working with your children. I would rather deal with the upset parent then watch them walk out the door angry and ready to leave the program. In another thread I stated that the coach should know the gymnast better then they know themselves (gymnastically speaking). :D The coach should know the parents well enough to be aware if there seems to be a concern. Oftentimes,parents do not want to rock the boat or cause problems. If the coach is aware of this they can ask simple question and the parents open up and can often be given solutions to those concerns. This also makes the individual coach look better as well as the overall program. win-win for everyone.;) Like anything else this is a interaction skill that takes time to learn and become comfortable with. After all we are dealing in people:rolleyes: Thanks for the chance to speak out on this important topic/area. By the way, Thanks to JBS for creating the Chalckbucket, good stuff:)
 

davjam

New Member
Feb 27, 2007
23
parent complaints

To Gymnasticsconnections:
I am sorry to hear that your coach treated you this way. It makes all of us(coaches) look bad:(. I wold never take that kind of comment from anyone. I hope that you took it up with the owner, head coach or director in charge of this person. :mad: You should always have a third party there to mediate or listen to both sides. Hopefully it can resolve the issue. No matter what it should be dealt with. I often think how I would deal with staff if I were the owner:rolleyes::rolleyes:.
 

Monkeygirlsmom

Active Member
Proud Parent
Feb 10, 2007
764
our gym we watch if we want to!! I love seeing them and they love to show me what they are doing! I thinkwhen they know parents are watching they know we care! and I feel more involved with them!! plus I only have soo much time with them each day so I want as much as I can get!!
 
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hammy

Guest
The gym I grew up in did not allow parents to watch classes for the very reason that the kids would be distracted by them. We did this for both the recreational and team kids. We would have an open house certain times throughout the year to show the parents what we've been working on, and we also sent home calendars explaining what we were doing each week.

The gym where I am now coaching (because I moved) allows parents to spectate, and I've had instances, especially with the little ones, where they are distracted and just want to see what mom/dad is up to. I guess I kind of go both ways on the whole parents watching a class.
 

gymbabisMom

Parent/Coach
Jan 8, 2006
178
Ahwahnee, CA
We have a big sign that says " Parent, Please do not coach from the sidelines!" but apparently some people can't read. Usually the same parents that have to be told that they are not allowed on the floor, despite the signs that decorate every entrance onto the floor. They think they are helping by calling instructions to their child, when really, they are undermining the coach they are paying for and distracting not only their little one but other kids as well. I usually will move my group away if a parent does this. When I'm working with the little ones I do like to work close to the lobby area so Mom and Dad can watch though.
 

audra

Coach & Mom
CB Booster Club
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Feb 5, 2006
203
Wisconsin
Of course their will always be those parents who will coach their children at any age. I agree with gbm- and try to move my class away and keep them entertained. As a parent and manager of a gym I think it is very important that parents be able to watch.

As a coach it is hard to know when a gymnast is truly injured, but any complaint should be brought up to the parents after practice. If it is a consistent complaint the parents should be urged to go to the doctor.

Communication between coaches and parents is a very important part of a gymnasts success, a closed gym (no viewing) creates a closed line of communication.
 
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medic3188

Guest
Our gym has an open viewing policy although they recently sent home a letter stating that they would rather not have parents watch. They claim it is distracting. People still watch. I live less than .5 miles up the road, but I still want to watch my kids do gymnastics. I find that watching keeps misunderstandings from happening.
An example of this was a few weeks ago. I arrive at the gym 30 min into my daughters 2 hour practice. I see that while all the other kids are doing their level three routines, she is doing a level 1 routine. (You see she takes two class and her second class is just a rec class because she wanted 2 classes and they did not have any other advanced-pre team classes.) Her rec class does some level 1 routine and some level 2. I went to speak to the coach after class and found out that she did this so that my daughter would not have to memorize 8 routines. I guess she asked my daughter which one she wanted to do so she picked the one she has done for the last 2 years. The coach said that she could do the level 3 routines in both classes.
My point is that if I was not there I would not have realized this until June.
 
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MomChefKathleen

Guest
Our coach doesn't mind parents staying to watch, but would prefer that we be in an area where the kids can't be turning to look at us all the time. Her point is that during a meet, we can't be on the floor and if they are upset or there is a problem, they need to look to her at that time. And she's right. I always feel welcome to stay and watch, but I also know better than to try to say something or call out to my daughter during practice. I also know that I can ask the Coach anything after class.

Kathleen
 

audra

Coach & Mom
CB Booster Club
Verified Coach
Proud Parent
Feb 5, 2006
203
Wisconsin
Great Point! Gymnasts need to depend on their coaches and not always for Mom and Dad to fix the situation.
 

gym law mom

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Dec 23, 2006
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Our gym allows parents to watch whenever they want. There is an area on the 2nd floor with chairs that looks down on the gym. Occasionally, I do see parents waving at their child or applauding some skill that was just learned. Since rec classes only go for 1 hour, many of those parents stay. Team parents are told we are welcome to watch, but they would prefer we not be there when most of the rec classes are going on--4:30-7:00. I usually drop in for the last 20 min of practice during one of the weeknight practices and maybe watch longer on Sat(nobody else there).
 
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