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Please help.....need coaches and experienced higher level gym parents to advise on this:(

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slimgymz

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Nov 2, 2010
28
East Coast
Hello and thank you in advance for reading and advising:)

Background: My daughter has been a level 10 gymnast since she was young and has qualified to nationals every year, except one. At regionals she and her teammate qualified to nationals again. DD's older sister also qualified as an alternate after coming back from an injury. My DD consistently scores 37 plus AA's every meet.

Situation: Jr DD scores above 9 for first place: Her one coach (she has 2) tells her he is disappointed in her performance (especially on vault) and both her teammates performances (above). He proceeds to vent his frustration about my daughters and teammate to another level 9 gymnast at practice yesterday who is competing tomorrow at regionals (more stress for this poor kid to perform perfectly) Gym owner, to my knowledge, has no clue he is doing this, but knows his personality. However, this coach has been talking down to our girls since he came to our gym a few years ago. We as parents always thought it was just a dry sense of humor and that he was kidding with them. The comments he made this weekend were ridiculous and uncalled for in my opinion. He uttered not one word of "good job" etc. or any form of positive reassurance/affirmation of a meet well executed by them. In fact, after vault (last event), he tells DD's teammate that she just screwed up her chances of qualifying before he even checked the score/standings. After the dust settled, it turns out she could have fallen 3 times on beam and still qualified. He was totally unaware of their placement.

Yes, he has tons of coaching experience and he is great at teaching technique and getting the girls where they need to be athletically and for colleges to be aware of their talent, but he also is very manipulative and plays mental mind games with these "kids" (ages 12 to 16) and this weekend it has finally come to a boiling point with my daughter-and the parents. We the parents know we have not been advocating properly, but feel like we are in a "Catch 22" with these coaches. Our daughters beg us not to say anything to them, because the girls tell us the coaches will be miserable and mean and take it out on them at practice. We, as parents are at a loss and quite heartbroken that all their hard work seems to account for nothing and the fun is totally sucked out of this sport for them. We feel like we are perpetuating this viscous cycle by not advocating for them and enabling the coaches to mentally/emotionally abuse our girls, but know if we do try to fix this, the girls will bear the brunt of it. The situation has gotten so bad, the gymnasts are entertaining the idea of exploring other gyms. I am concerned that if we approach the gym owner, this will make everything worse for the girls especially now that colleges are looking at them and I don't want to ruin any chances of them obtaining a scholarship, but more importantly, I don't want them to pay the price of mental abuse for doing their best and achieving great things. Pushing them to do well is one thing, but this is just nuts, right???

This morning, I gave my daughters permission to talk back to him and defend themselves if he should say anything demeaning to them again and if he has a problem with it to come talk to me and I will straighten him out. The problem here is that he will turn this around and say she is being disrespectful by talking back to him (another one of his mind games-this happens when they answer regular questions he asks/so bizarre and it drives me crazy!) My girls are never disrespectful to authoritative figures and up until this point have maintained composure with great mental strength, imho, dealing with his continual negative comments to them. They are not 5 year olds and have a voice in this 2 way street-there is give and take in this coach/gymnast relationship that he clearly does not acknowledge.

FYI: There are no other gyms we would feel comfortable sending our daughters to, and where there is good coaching, it is hours away and just not a viable solution.

Any words of advice would be greatly appreciated at this time. Thanks for letting me vent.

Gratefully,

Edited To remove identifying information.
 
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txgymfan

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Set up a meeting and talk to the owner privately, without the coach. Have another parent with you, maybe even have three or four if you all agree. Give specific examples and stay calm.They wont want to lose your DD's
 

Sasha

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Power in numbers. If multiple parents (better yet, set of parents including the dads) calmly but firmly approach the owner with the same description of abuse (and DO use the word abuse), and decidedly (again still calmly and professionally) tell the owner you will not accept this, you have a fighting chance for change.

If the owner is a jerk or a weakling, though, you're out of luck.

What is the owner's personality like? Do you think he/she will listen and advocate?

The gym will not want to risk losing multiple high-performing college-recruitable athletes. That could be a serious reputation dent. Stand united.

I'm very sorry you are in this crappy situation.
 

slimgymz

New Member
Nov 2, 2010
28
East Coast
Set up a meeting and talk to the owner privately, without the coach. Have another parent with you, maybe even have three or four if you all agree. Give specific examples and stay calm.They wont want to lose your DD's
Thank you Txgymfan and Sasha. We will try to get all our ducks in a row and set up a meeting with the gym owner. Yes, I agree: bringing the dads will add the element of urgency. Wish us luck.
 

slimgymz

New Member
Nov 2, 2010
28
East Coast
Power in numbers. If multiple parents (better yet, set of parents including the dads) calmly but firmly approach the owner with the same description of abuse (and DO use the word abuse), and decidedly (again still calmly and professionally) tell the owner you will not accept this, you have a fighting chance for change.

If the owner is a jerk or a weakling, though, you're out of luck.

What is the owner's personality like? Do you think he/she will listen and advocate?

The gym will not want to risk losing multiple high-performing college-recruitable athletes. That could be a serious reputation dent. Stand united.

I'm very sorry you are in this crappy situation.
Thanks Sasha. Gym owner will not tolerate this I am sure. I've known him for 8 years. I just feel terrible he has to be involved on the one hand, but it is his name on the front door, on the other hand. He brought in these coaches to help us, now this happensAgreed, power in numbers!
 
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shannonIGM

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Apr 7, 2017
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Ok, I have a bit different perspective here, sorry to be the pessimist. What do you hope to gain by having a meeting with the owner? To put the coach in line? Most likely scenario will be nothing changes. If the owner puts his foot down, the coach will most likely walk away, there are many gym owners that would not only take him but basically approve of his tactics. Gymnastics, at the level your daughter is at, takes sacrifice if she wants to go farther. As I can see you have four choices, put up with what's going on (not recommended, the results are not pretty), to move gyms no matter how far (what most girls do at a certain point), work with the owner of your current gym to recruit a more appropriate coach for your daughter, or sadly put all this behind you. I feel awful writing all this, but unfortunately gymnastics is not all fun and games.
 

GymDad9.9

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Ok, I have a bit different perspective here, sorry to be the pessimist. What do you hope to gain by having a meeting with the owner? To put the coach in line? Most likely scenario will be nothing changes. If the owner puts his foot down, the coach will most likely walk away, there are many gym owners that would not only take him but basically approve of his tactics. Gymnastics, at the level your daughter is at, takes sacrifice if she wants to go farther. As I can see you have four choices, put up with what's going on (not recommended, the results are not pretty), to move gyms no matter how far (what most girls do at a certain point), work with the owner of your current gym to recruit a more appropriate coach for your daughter, or sadly put all this behind you. I feel awful writing all this, but unfortunately gymnastics is not all fun and games.
Curious...at what point do you protect your child?
 

txgymfan

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People don't like to be fired. The coach may do well with a strong reminder to improve parts of his job performance, especially if the owner frames the constructive criticism correctly.
 

duyetanh

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Feb 21, 2015
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Boy...I have seen gyms like this....sad to know they exist all over America. Ugh.
 
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slimgymz

New Member
Nov 2, 2010
28
East Coast
Ok, I have a bit different perspective here, sorry to be the pessimist. What do you hope to gain by having a meeting with the owner? To put the coach in line? Most likely scenario will be nothing changes. If the owner puts his foot down, the coach will most likely walk away, there are many gym owners that would not only take him but basically approve of his tactics. Gymnastics, at the level your daughter is at, takes sacrifice if she wants to go farther. As I can see you have four choices, put up with what's going on (not recommended, the results are not pretty), to move gyms no matter how far (what most girls do at a certain point), work with the owner of your current gym to recruit a more appropriate coach for your daughter, or sadly put all this behind you. I feel awful writing all this, but unfortunately gymnastics is not all fun and games.
No problem-I get it. DD doesn't want to go further-level 10/collegiate is fine. She is happy with her present skills and so are college coaches so far. Any way I look at it, it seems like a lost cause. I can only hope for the best. Oh, I agree, this sport is tough and can be ugly behind the scenes of the podium. Thanks for responding.
 
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cadybearsmommy

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Dec 31, 2010
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For a coach to be disappointed in that kind of score and placement is about the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. What would it take to make him proud of her, perfect 10's?????

I do think you should set up a meeting with the owner and other parents and discuss his behavior. Maybe that will be enough to wake him up to the damage he is doing to these girls. However, if it's truly just that he has a toxic personality, than no amount of talking to him will change anything. And in that case, it might be time to do some re-evaluating. No scholarship is worth the permanent damage he could be causing to your daughter's confidence and self worth, not only as a gymnast but as a human being. Unfortunately, from reading on here it seems there are many college coaches that are the same way, so keep that in mind when looking at schools for your dd's in the future as well.
 

suds

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Jun 26, 2015
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.... tells her he is disappointed in her performance .... He proceeds to vent his frustration about my daughters and teammate .... this coach has been talking down to our girls since he came to our gym a few years ago. The comments he made this weekend were ridiculous and uncalled for in my opinion. He uttered not one word of "good job" etc. or any form of positive reassurance/affirmation of a meet well executed by them.D
Thank you for sharing this.
Please do not underestimate the risk for long term damage to your daughter in this environment.

We the parents know we have not been advocating properly, but feel like we are in a "Catch 22" with these coaches. Our daughters beg us not to say anything to them, because the girls tell us the coaches will be miserable and mean and take it out on them at practice. We, as parents are at a loss and quite heartbroken that all their hard work seems to account for nothing and the fun is totally sucked out of this sport for them.

D
The silver lining option (painfully difficult, but a very important lesson in self-respect):

As a parent, shoulder the "Tough Love" decision and decisively pull your child out of the situation.
Let her know that at no point in her life is it ever acceptable for anyone to treat her like this.
Use the term "Abuse" with your daughter. Explain how people use it to gain control over others.
Now she knows what emotional abuse looks like, and to avoid people who treat her like this.

Her "Short term" anger directed at a parent... A tumultuous path leading to lifetime of self-respect.

Informing the coach, afterwards, as to why she left sometimes can facilitate change - but I wouldn't hold my breath.

If a parent's thoughtful rationale based on principles is carefully explained, an extremely difficult, unilateral decision by a parent tends to be deeply respected by the child - albeit sometimes much later in life.
 

slimgymz

New Member
Nov 2, 2010
28
East Coast
For a coach to be disappointed in that kind of score and placement is about the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. What would it take to make him proud of her, perfect 10's?????

I do think you should set up a meeting with the owner and other parents and discuss his behavior. Maybe that will be enough to wake him up to the damage he is doing to these girls. However, if it's truly just that he has a toxic personality, than no amount of talking to him will change anything. And in that case, it might be time to do some re-evaluating. No scholarship is worth the permanent damage he could be causing to your daughter's confidence and self worth, not only as a gymnast but as a human being. Unfortunately, from reading on here it seems there are many college coaches that are the same way, so keep that in mind when looking at schools for your dd's in the future as well.
Our words exactly - nothing ever seems to be good enough-toxic indeed. Yes, some college coaches are nasty too. I am keeping a watchful eye on them as well.
 

justanothergymmom

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Jan 13, 2010
347
I have been in your shoes and I understand your frustration. I also have more than one very talented child in the upper levels of this sport. I also felt there were no other options nearby for my kids, until I started seriously looking by necessity. You see, all of a sudden, one day, my strong and confident daughter decided after a very successful L10 season that she was done with the sport. She literally went from being able to tolerate the nonsense and mistreatment, the ridicule and snide remarks.... to being ready to quit forever...all in a matter of a few weeks time...all without warning! She always told me how the comments and treatment bothered her, but I never really understood how deeply they affected her! I pulled her immediately from the toxic environment that she was in, and began to look for other options. I told her that under no circumstance did she ever deserve to be treated that way, and that I was proving it with my actions! Happily, she (and her siblings) came out of it on the other side, and what we considered at first to be a "lesser option" turned out to be the best thing that ever happened for her AND her gymnastics. If your children are talented and hard working, which it sounds like they are, they will thrive in a positive environment. Don't be afraid to go look for one!
 

slimgymz

New Member
Nov 2, 2010
28
East Coast
Thank you for sharing this.
Please do not underestimate the risk for long term damage to your daughter in this environment.



The silver lining option (painfully difficult, but a very important lesson in self-respect):

As a parent, shoulder the "Tough Love" decision and decisively pull your child out of the situation.
Let her know that at no point in her life is it ever acceptable for anyone to treat her like this.
Use the term "Abuse" with your daughter. Explain how people use it to gain control over others.
Now she knows what emotional abuse looks like, and to avoid people who treat her like this.

Her "Short term" anger directed at a parent... A tumultuous path leading to lifetime of self-respect.

Informing the coach, afterwards, as to why she left sometimes can facilitate change - but I wouldn't hold my breath.

If a parent's thoughtful rationale based on principles is carefully explained, an extremely difficult, unilateral decision by a parent tends to be deeply respected by the child - albeit sometimes much later in life.

I asked her if she wanted to leave and she said "no". She is pretty tough and knows exactly what is going on, I have to give her credit. It is a learning curve right now as I am teaching her what NOT to accept in friendships/a spousal relationship, etc. She is not nervous, anxious or sad - just beyond frustrated and damn angry, as she should be.
Thank you!
 
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