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Parents shut out - switch gyms?

4theloveofsports

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An addendum to my post above: Of course if there are grave concerns, a gym owner/head coach who refuses to meet and discuss and remedy troubling issues is a red flag.
 
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LJL07

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Perhaps if we put things in proper perspective, it may make this issue less bothersome and not thought of as a red flag.

In all the years that we've done a variety of sports (and we did many, fencing, basketball, football, lacrosse, soccer, track, tennis volleyball and even competitive dance), I rarely hear parents asking for a one on one meeting to discuss their child's progress. So it appears parents are just more invested into their kids who do gymnastics. Like everyone, I would have loved to get progress reports and understand why we would like to get progress reports, but maybe we should ask ourselves why we require this of our daughter's gymnastics coach and not the other sports coaches. Personally, I'd rather have the coach spend the hour per gymnast (because once parents get started on these "conferences" it can get long winded) on him training the girls. If your team has 60 team members, that is about 60 hours! Every time spent with a parent really takes away from either training time or the coaches time to unwind.
You’re right. I jumped on red flag bc the original post sounded like the coaches were deliberately avoiding a group of parents with a reasonable concern. I guess parents are so invested in gymnastics bc it’s so danged many hours and year round. We never talk to my daughter’s soccer coach. There just hasn’t ever really been a need.
 

MILgymFAM

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I mean, I speak to my daughter’s ballet teachers all the time- about progress and possibilities after high school, extra practice needed for pointe work, roles she may dance, etc. Dance is the only thing that has rivaled gymnastics in terms of time commitment and price, and it makes sense to me to communicate with the people who have my kid six days a week. When they did other activities for low cost and mere hours a week, I never had any expectations in terms of communication- our commitment level spoke to the importance in my child’s life and I respected that.

That said, dance, t&t, and rhythmic have all had naturally communicative teachers/coaches who have initiated conversations as often as I have. Artistic gymnastics is singularly closed off in our experience. I will say that I rarely speak to my DD’s current coaches in person (I’ve literally never spoken to two of the three), but the HC always answers my emails in a timely and thoughtful manner. That is the minimum I will accept.
 

raenndrops

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Perhaps if we put things in proper perspective, it may make this issue less bothersome and not thought of as a red flag.

In all the years that we've done a variety of sports (and we did many, fencing, basketball, football, lacrosse, soccer, track, tennis volleyball and even competitive dance), I rarely hear parents asking for a one on one meeting to discuss their child's progress. So it appears parents are just more invested into their kids who do gymnastics. Like everyone, I would have loved to get progress reports and understand why we would like to get progress reports, but maybe we should ask ourselves why we require this of our daughter's gymnastics coach and not the other sports coaches. Personally, I'd rather have the coach spend the hour per gymnast (because once parents get started on these "conferences" it can get long winded) on him training the girls. If your team has 60 team members, that is about 60 hours! Every time spent with a parent really takes away from either training time or the coaches time to unwind.
Other than the number of hours, another difference between gymnastics and basketball, football, lacrosse, soccer, track, tennis, and volleyball (the sports i have knowledge of from the list) is that all those other sports: 1 - are fewer hours and 2 - leagues are more often age based rather than skill based. You know that when your child is in 5th grade, they will be going out for a 5th grade basketball team (or the age equivalent if the teams go by age) ... and if the coach wants something different, they will talk to the parent about it. But otherwise, no conversation needed. BUT, as we all know, in gymnastics, you can have a 16 year old in the same level with a 6 year old. Because moving up in gymnastics isn't based on getting older or moving up a grade in school, parents may need a little more communication ... even if it is just a general parent meeting to explain things and answer general questions / deal with general concerns.
 

4theloveofsports

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Other than the number of hours, another difference between gymnastics and basketball, football, lacrosse, soccer, track, tennis, and volleyball (the sports i have knowledge of from the list) is that all those other sports: 1 - are fewer hours and 2 - leagues are more often age based rather than skill based. You know that when your child is in 5th grade, they will be going out for a 5th grade basketball team (or the age equivalent if the teams go by age) ... and if the coach wants something different, they will talk to the parent about it. But otherwise, no conversation needed. BUT, as we all know, in gymnastics, you can have a 16 year old in the same level with a 6 year old. Because moving up in gymnastics isn't based on getting older or moving up a grade in school, parents may need a little more communication ... even if it is just a general parent meeting to explain things and answer general questions / deal with general concerns.
You are gravely mistaken. What you state above sounds like intramurals. Perhaps you don't have the knowledge of the competitive aspect of those sports.

In soccer for example, outside of intramurals, we have programs that provide professional coaches, training, clinics. They hold try outs to be part of a "travel" team. If you don't make a team, you go back to intramurals and develop your skills. It is only age based in as much as there is a cap. The teams are labeled U10, U12 etc. You have to be under 10 years old to play in a U10 team, but you can be an 7 year old. (My daughter played two years above her age in a premiere team.) Those that get through the try outs (it is a three day try out-compared to a few minutes to join a gymnastics club) are further divided according to ability. There is the A team (top team), B team and sometimes a C team.

Then each team plays in a variety of leagues depending on the caliber of play and their competitive level. There are several divisions and leagues. Practice hours are not as low as you think. They are close to YMCA gymnastics practice hours. My daughter practices 5 days a week 2 -2 1/2 a day. And her games are significantly more than gymnastics meets. It can be every weekend. Also it is year round.

Accept it or not, most sports, if not all, are set up very similar to gymnastics. All the sports have goals to reach the highest level of their ability and desire. All those sports have the opportunity of scholarships. All these sports will have situations where a conference with the coach may be warranted, why did my kid get cut from the team, don't have enough play time, why didn't my kid qualify for nationals or summer Olympics (fencing), etc. These coaches don't hold progress report meetings or conferences, I cannot think of any sport outside of those in the intramurals level that sets those limitations you state. The point I was trying to make is this lack of communication is universal and is not always a red flag. That is all.
 
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raenndrops

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You are gravely mistaken. What you state above sounds like intramurals. Perhaps you don't have the knowledge of the competitive aspect of those sports.

In soccer for example, outside of intramurals, we have programs that provide professional coaches, training, clinics. They hold try outs to be part of a "travel" team. If you don't make a team, you go back to intramurals and develop your skills. It is only age based in as much as there is a cap. The teams are labeled U10, U12 etc. You have to be under 10 years old to play in a U10 team, but you can be an 7 year old. (My daughter played two years above her age in a premiere team.) Those that get through the try outs (it is a three day try out-compared to a few minutes to join a gymnastics club) are further divided according to ability. There is the A team (top team), B team and sometimes a C team.

Then each team plays in a variety of leagues depending on the caliber of play and their competitive level. There are several divisions and leagues. Practice hours are not as low as you think. They are close to YMCA gymnastics practice hours. My daughter practices 5 days a week 2 -2 1/2 a day. And her games are significantly more than gymnastics meets. It can be every weekend. Also it is year round.

Accept it or not, most sports, if not all, are set up very similar to gymnastics. All the sports have goals to reach the highest level of their ability and desire. All those sports have the opportunity of scholarships. All these sports will have situations where a conference with the coach may be warranted, why did my kid get cut from the team, don't have enough play time, why didn't my kid qualify for nationals or summer Olympics (fencing), etc. These coaches don't hold progress report meetings or conferences, I cannot think of any sport outside of those in the intramurals level that sets those limitations you state. The point I was trying to make is this lack of communication is universal and is not always a red flag. That is all.
I am aware of competitive sports and how the ones I listed work. I know families that have kids doing travel soccer. When the coach of the 10U team wanted my friend's 8 year old on the 10U team, he TALKED to them. I know the hours he practiced (and his older brothers). I also know how some other sports work.
I played travel baseball back before it was year round. We had tryouts. We practiced at least 2 hours a day (more when we were on the all-star team in July and August) 5 days a week, unless we had a game that day. We had weekend tournaments as all-stars. Again, if a coach wanted us to move up a level, he would TALK to the parents. I also played football, 5th grade basketball, 7th and 8th grade volleyball, 8th grade track, and JV softball as a freshman (I would have done double duty in JV and Varsity, but they already had 3 older girls on varsity who could play shortstop).
The basketball teams in my area (other than Upward, Impact, and YMCA) have try outs. There was recently a big discussion because this is the first year they would have to have cuts after filling the teams for 5th grade basketball. The coaches didn't mention this in the information about it ... and they decided that the PARENTS should be the ones to tell the kids if they were cut. Once they get into middle school and do school sports, they have 6th grade teams (for 6th graders), 7th grade teams, 8th grade teams, 9th grade teams (in some sports), JV and Varsity. If a coach wants a 9th grader to play on the JV or Varsity team, they TALK to the player and have the player talk it over with parents.
I also know girls that do year round softball and boys that do year round baseball. There are tryouts. Those who make it are placed on teams... and if the coaches want them to move up a league, they TALK to the parents.
That is what I was trying to say. Been there, done that.
And as far as scholarships, that is neither here nor there because there are a lot more kids playing every sport than there are athletic scholarships available.
I do agree that no communication isnt always a bad thing, BUT if there is a question, SOMEBODY should answer it.
 
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tovalentinehs

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Not sure if I should post here, replies a few weeks old but on this same topic... this sounds like an obvious need for change; I just think as parents even though we want what is best for our kids we become unsure of what that is because we are afraid of being the ones who ruin their happiness.
Sometimes we just don't know what to compare it to.
My daughters gym doesn't have abuse. The coach does raise his voice and yells; can be in a bad mood from time to time but not majority and doesn't insult etc. Threatens and gives "time outs" when girls are unfocused.
But I do feel issues with safety and favortism. There are two coaches for compulsories and often there are girls by themselves on strap bar (sometimes 6-8 of them up on the bar while one takes a turn in the middle of the bar and both coaches accross the gym working with particular girls; sometimes just one in particular.
They vault on their own often with no spotting...by that I mean the coach is on the other side of the gym.
Corrections are often yelled rather than what I would think might require some more hands on training/spotting if an athlete is continuously doing something wrong. But coach seems to be working with a theory that it's been taught, it's been spotted, you should know it and execute it now.
I have absolutely no experience with gymnastics except for what my daughter has accomplished and been through thus far and we don't know any other gym or way of coaching.
Are these situations normal?? I've heard of the great gyms having a coach at each apparatus, working with all girls in rotations. I don't know if that is the norm or if that's simply why the best are the best.
How many coaches are there typically? Do girls often work for lengths of time on thier own with no coach nearby? How much should they be spotting??
Overall the two coaches are nice and approachable but even the girls notice now that there are a couple favorities and one REALLy favorite and the rest of them work alone sometimes.
 

tovalentinehs

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Not sure if I should post here, replies a few weeks old but on this same topic... this sounds like an obvious need for change; I just think as parents even though we want what is best for our kids we become unsure of what that is because we are afraid of being the ones who ruin their happiness.
Sometimes we just don't know what to compare it to.
My daughters gym doesn't have abuse. The coach does raise his voice and yells; can be in a bad mood from time to time but not majority and doesn't insult etc. Threatens and gives "time outs" when girls are unfocused.
But I do feel issues with safety and favortism. There are two coaches for compulsories and often there are girls by themselves on strap bar (sometimes 6-8 of them up on the bar while one takes a turn in the middle of the bar and both coaches accross the gym working with particular girls; sometimes just one in particular.
They vault on their own often with no spotting...by that I mean the coach is on the other side of the gym.
Corrections are often yelled rather than what I would think might require some more hands on training/spotting if an athlete is continuously doing something wrong. But coach seems to be working with a theory that it's been taught, it's been spotted, you should know it and execute it now.
I have absolutely no experience with gymnastics except for what my daughter has accomplished and been through thus far and we don't know any other gym or way of coaching.
Are these situations normal?? I've heard of the great gyms having a coach at each apparatus, working with all girls in rotations. I don't know if that is the norm or if that's simply why the best are the best.
How many coaches are there typically? Do girls often work for lengths of time on thier own with no coach nearby? How much should they be spotting??
Overall the two coaches are nice and approachable but even the girls notice now that there are a couple favorities and one REALLy favorite and the rest of them work alone sometimes.

#27
 

amiandjim

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In our experience, no that’s not “normal.” We never have kids on an event without a coach, ever. The coach is often on one station spotting/shaping, and the girls rotate through that station and the side/drill stations. However, the coaches are really good about watching more than one girl at a time and will continue to correct girls that are on side stations as well. There are 21 girls on my daughter’s team, and 3 coaches so they are typically split into 3 groups of 7. Except in extreme circumstances, I would not be ok with girls on an event without a coach actually coaching them.
 

Cheryl

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Gymnastics is such an odd sport. Even compared to other individual sports like tennis or track and field, where there is a clear winner, it’s really hard to determine who the kid with the best routine is. Different skills, different start values, deductions. It takes a great deal of research to put it all together for parents to figure out scoring.
Plus, it’s a sport where many gyms run their programs like a dictatorship where parents are either ignored or threatened with “no gymnastics for you” if you ask for progress reports or question coaching decisions. Since it’s not a popular sport, there are fewer alternatives to change gyms. It’s a very expensive sport and often gyms attitude is give us money but let us do it our way. Some of the things I have seen at practice, like a line of 5-7 year old girls crying because their coach is pushing them into splits seem downright abusive.
Men’s programs seem to have far less drama, but we switched gyms because the head coach had no interest in coaching my son because I questioned why he was taking bonuses out of my son’s routine when he had done the same skills the year before in Regionals and had placed in 3 events. I wish there was an easier way to understand scoring, but I don’t know what half of the skills are called, much less point values and how they have to incorporate a number of letter skills into each routine.
I am just happy with learning new skills, and that he continues to enjoy it.
 

NutterButter

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They vault on their own often with no spotting...by that I mean the coach is on the other side of the gym.
There’s always a coach in close proximity to the table. Plus the coach changes the settings for whoever is vaulting. This is for all levels. Bars is the same although they have multiple sets and the bars coach is usually stationed at one to help with skills that need spot or supervision. Release skills always have a coach. There’s usually no coach at the strap bar.
 
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vbdb

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We were at a “top gym” and never had regular meetings. I thought it was normal. Parents were not allowed to watch, everyone was terrified to say anything about anything, late schedules, injured kids you name it for fear of it rippling down to our kid’s placement in groups. Our kids didn’t want us to make a fuss over anything. We put up with all kinds of crap for the “top gym”.
After years or resentment and disengagement at the gym one of our kids got involved in competitive track and field and we saw a whole new side to how sports can operate. Coaches with close contact to parents, a positive atmosphere where kids were pushed to work hard but not compared or belittled. Everyone had a place there and it was like a family.
We made a decision this summer to move our gymnast to a new gym. This one allows parents to watch, has twice yearly scheduled meetings with parents but coaches are also readily available and communicative. They focus on developing the whole athlete, there’s a PT in the gym once a week, we have an RD who speaks to the kids about nutrition and a motivational speaker came in a couple of months ago to talk to them about goal setting. I feel like we have a new lease on gym life and my daughter is working on rebuilding her confidence after years of it being torn down. She used to win all the time but still felt she wasn’t good enough. The medals and placements mean nothing if a child’s self confidence is compromised.
We saw too many of my daughter’s teammates leave the top gym injured or hating the sport with their spirits crushed. Some took years to build up the courage to try another sport. We needed more for our daughter than that.
Take these signs now as a warning and find somewhere else before it’s too late. Vote with your dollars.
 

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