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For Parents Preteam drama time!

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DbacksMom75

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Aug 18, 2008
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Arlington, TX
So after practice tonight one of the other moms grabs me to the side to relay an "incident" that took place at the gym that I apparently missed. The gym is closing for two weeks during Christmas so they have been scheduling make ups for the girls. Since my gymmie couldn't make it to the preteam makeup she went to a level 4 rec class (and had a ball). I guess the big HC of the gym decided he was going to teach the makeup..he is a hawaiian version of Bela Karolyi (very tough but gives lots of kudos when gymmie does what he wants her to). Anyway, some of the younger girls were swinging on the bars while he was teaching...he told them to stop...of course they didnt....so he tells all the girls to start doing squat thrusts.
The girls usually are with a younger coach who is also tough but knows they are 6 and 7 year olds so she cuts them a little slack. Well...i guess after about 15 of these they all stopped...HC starts yelling "DID I TELL YOU TO STOP!" The girls say "But coach only makes us do 15 when we get in trouble..." Bad idea...next he yells "DO I LOOK LIKE A 19 YEAR OLD GIRL? DO YOU THINK THIS IS GAME TIME? 60 SQUAT THRUSTS NOW!" (Mind you I was not there but gymmie has been on the recieving end of this before).
The mom was very upset because her daughter had not been mesing with the equipment but had to do the punishment with everyone else and she thought it was very unfair. Her daughter was crying all through it and now they are thinking of leaving the gym.
I personally have never had a problem with his coaching style even when gymmie has gotten in trouble (but boy am I glad she wasn't at the makeup). Do you think he went overboard or is this what we should expect in a Olympic potential type sport? My DH thinks the HC is teying to build a team environment by making them all accountable to each other but aren't they a little young to understand that concept?
The same mom has started picking my brain about other gyms in the area but i have told her many of them are even more high pressure then ours and the mat always looks bluer on the other side.
 

ellabella

Member
May 26, 2008
176
I think it just depends on what a particular parent wants for their child. I don't mind someone being strict with my child or punishing my child with conditioning, but I do mind someone yelling at my child. The truth is that none of our children are going to the Olympics. I didn't put my kid in the gym to train for the Olympics and anyone who did is being unrealistic. I put her in to have fun, be in shape and get all of the wonderful benefits of being part of a great sport.

So no it wouldn't be okay with me to have her treated badly. I also don't buy into the idea that yelling at young children is someone's coaching style. I call that being a jerk. I'd be looking for a new gym. My DD is young and far from a level 4, but the level 4 coach at her gym does nothing but yell constantly at her girls. I already know that it won't be okay with me if she reaches that point.
 

mariposa

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Sep 25, 2007
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I have major issues with punishing all for one (or 2 or 3) girls behavior. Especially when it goes way overboard, which in my opinion 60 reps of something for little girls is. If it wasn't my kids regular coach, I would probably just watch very closely, but if it was all the time, I would find another gym. Unfortunately it seems to be very common among coaches.

I think that it actually creates animosity between the girls, instead of inspiring a team environment. I know in the past, my DD has came home mad at the girls that caused her to have to do V-ups because they were messing around. And when it is caused by a girl who didn't hold her "X" skill long enough, then they are mad at that girl and that doesn't seem right.

Finding another gym isn't always the answer. But then again, if I had watched my DD go through that I might be looking as well. I would have had a hard time not pulling her out at that moment and taking her home, especially if she was not the one doing anything wrong.
 

Panda-girl's Mom

Active Member
Jan 9, 2008
781
I think you have to look at the whole picture, I think my daughters gym makes them do extra stuff when one girl misbehaves or so I have heard stories but her gym is very strict and intense so I take the good with the bad because this is where my daughter who is 8 wants to be. There are other gyms around me that are less strict and intense and I sometimes question why I did not place my daughter in one of those gyms where she would have more fun when she was younger. On her first year on the team she was frustrated and the girls on the team were getting yelled at alot, well my daughter briefly left went to a less intense gym but missed her old gym so went back. I think you have to look at what makes your daughter happy and I agree with Ellabell it has nothing to do with it being an olympic sport . If she is really unhappy with the gym she should switch before her daughter gets on the team so it would be easier,if this is how the HC runs the gym it is not going to get any better.
 

bogwoppit

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Feb 26, 2007
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Hmmm let me see they are paying a coach to yell at their kids to do 60 squat thrusts when they mess about!!! Gee I wonder why they'd be upset. The man is a bully, just like Bela Karyoli.

I can abuse my kid for free, but I don't, why would I pay a stranger to do it?

Seriously though, that is not the way any child needs to be treated, if they mess around they should be benched or told to smarten up. If gymnastics is not fun for a 6 year old, I can guarantee they won't be doing gym when they are 9!
 
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flippymonkeysmom

Guest
It sounds like he was trying to impress upon them that he is in charge and demands their respect and obedience. Of course that is not the best way to go about doing it with 6 and 7 year olds. All he is going to accomplish with methods like that is they will fear him - fear and respect are NOT the same thing despite what some may think. I can understand why that mother would be upset. Personally I think a much better approach would have been perhaps to reward those who were not messing around with a few minutes of play time instead.
 

jls1969

Member
Sep 27, 2007
105
I personally think it is too harsh for 6 and 7 year olds, but I also think that a majority of elite coaches operate that way. In my dd's gym, there are times when her whole group is punished and times when it is just her. The punishment ranges from ignoring and not working into rotation to conditioning (they climb a lot of ropes:() This is not how I would choose to parent my dd, but when we moved to this gym we had an idea of what this coaching style looked like.

My dd can handle this---she doesn't get broken down very easily. Her goal is to be an elite and she knows this is a gym where she can do that. Most girls in her gym also feel the same way. There are plenty of gyms in our area and if we didn't like this program, then we can leave. But her coahes have told us that this is their program and it is successful in producing elites. So we choose to stay, but I keep a close eye on my dd.

If the gym you are in is more rec oriented, then I definitely think this is a problem. I also think there are other things to consider--do the little girls condition regularly? Do they understand what is being asked? Do they work out with the HC occasionally? Is the HC aware of what they do on a regular basis? Is this a common form of discipline? Our coaches demand respect as well---but they have also given the parents a heads up as to what to expect. Maybe a meeting would help???

Sorry to ramble---:)
 

Ingymmom

Active Member
Jul 12, 2007
981
I guess the big HC of the gym decided he was going to teach the makeup..he is a hawaiian version of Bela Karolyi

In that case I would run, not walk far far way from this gym - LOL!

Seriously though, I don't agree with the punishment - even though I can't understand why they would not listen - he sounds quite authorative, and you say 'of course' like this is possibly a usual occurence... Nor do I agree with the yelling, and absolutely would not think that ok. But then the 6 & 7 year old girls thought it ok to talk back to this coach they usually don't even get trained by? I am confused... are children really this much more outspoken these days?

Curious, What did your dd say about the yelling? Was she upset by it?
 

MdGymMom01

Active Member
Mar 5, 2008
2,236
North America
..he is a hawaiian version of Bela Karolyi ...HC starts yelling "DID I TELL YOU TO STOP!"...next he yells "DO I LOOK LIKE A 19 YEAR OLD GIRL? DO YOU THINK THIS IS GAME TIME? 60 SQUAT THRUSTS NOW!"

Uh...yeah..my dd was in an environment like this..and we left because the yelling basically just broke my dd down emotionally and she ended up zoning out and blocking everything out that the coach said. She was emotionless and didn't know how to express herself for a long while after that--very damaging to her self-seteem and took a while for her to open up and communicate to coaches again. I just recently saw some of the kids who are still at that gym at a cheer comp and the kids are saying that he is still like that, saying that "their routine is garbage" and that he curses at them all the time and calls them stupid and retarded...some things never change. It is so sad and I felt so bad for those little girls because I could tell that they never really get any "good jobs" and positive encouragement. One mother I talk to who is still there justifies the coach's behavior by saying "that is how he comminicates and shows his love". Are you kidding me???? I mean maybe some kids can take that kind of mental abuse, but the majority end up breaking down and leaving as they continue to do year after year.

Sorry for the rant DbacksMom, but self esteem and positive reinforcement are so important for young girls. I would seriously watch out for any yelling and degrading remarks by ANY coach. Just my .02.
 
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Tim_Dad

Member
Nov 3, 2008
414
Region IV (Missouri)
Hmmm let me see they are paying a coach to yell at their kids to do 60 squat thrusts when they mess about!!! Gee I wonder why they'd be upset. The man is a bully, just like Bela Karyoli.

I can abuse my kid for free, but I don't, why would I pay a stranger to do it?

Exactly my thought when I read the post. Apparently this coach feels the kids don't understand they are privalaged to be under his 'authority'. :rolleyes:

I could see it for an elite or elite-track gymmie... but not much else. 'Is it a game?" YES, frankly, it is! Thankfully, we don't have coaches like this at our gym. If we had, I'd have words with coach head-in-the-clouds, and the owner.
 
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emacmommy

Guest
Question... after their "punishment" did he address the girls again and explain why the were doing what they were doing, and how it was not correct to talk back to the coach, or assume he coaches like their regular coach? There have been times as a coach that the whole team discipline approach worked well, ranging from loosing locker privilidges for leaving food and garbage laying around their locker room to running laps as a team, but you only get the behavior to change if you are clear about your expectations for future correct behavior.

I have the same complaint with my own husband, who is a bit more quick with his at home discipline than I. I always have to ask him, "Did you tell explain to them, before you just told them to stick their nose in the corner, what it is they did wrong?"

In any discipline for any age, you won't get results unless they understand the problem. Then you have to follow up with catching them doing it right... make a big deal in front of all then.

Yelling and being sarcastic to 6 & 7 year olds isn't very effect. I agree with many of the posts above. Evaluate your desires now, is this gym effective in producing what you want for you child and the environment you want her to effectively grow up in. If you don't jive with them, and you have better options elsewhere... WALK.

Good Luck. At our gym our students only have the option of 1hr drive West or 2hr drive South. So we are very careful to be politically correct as coaches here. It's not an easy task to please the masses.
 

Tim_Dad

Member
Nov 3, 2008
414
Region IV (Missouri)
Umm Sorry. I respectfully disagree. 6 and 7 yr olds making reasonable assumptions -- ISN'T talking back. If thier normal coach always says 15, it's reasonable for them to assume the same from this coach. He was clearly out of line and a bit full of himself. He acted like a bully. Why any child or parent would want to trian under a guy like that is beyond me.

Maintaining order and control is one thing - but this was just an outright show of authority. If the kids were being disruptive, and not listening after being asked, he should have excused them from the floor. And That's it!

Let me make my point very clear.

** Coaches do NOT have the right, NOR the authority to punish a child. **

You can't force your will on someone elses child. You can't force a child to perform. As a coach, you are paid to show them the way. If they refuse, excuse them from the class. We parents will take care of the punishment part -- thank you very much.
 
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starmaker

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This is a very interesting topic. I am so glad this is not an issue at dd's gym any more. At her old gym her coach was yeller and a finger-in-the-face pointer. This would upset dd to no avail and HC would end up apologizing and giving her hugs and kisses. DD was so confused by this woman's behavior. DD claimed to love her and would call her "her gym mommy" I thought she would miss her but has never asked about her again. Now her new gym doesn't really have any deciplinary problems. If they need the girls to settle down and pay attention they may get a scolding but never extra conditioning(which I like because dd still enjoys conditioning). At the end of class though they receive green, yellow and red star stickers with green being good and red not so good. There is a chart in the locker room where they place their stickers. They get nothing out it really other than the satisfaction of placing a green sticker by their name. At first I didn't like this method because it just seemed like the "favorites" always got green and the others yellow. But that hasn't been the case in the last few weeks. (and coaches now have to pay more attention as to who is really working hard and who is just goofing off)

We did have one incident a few weeks back with dd. She was having an off day. Didn't want to do beam- sat and watched the whole time. She claimed her leg hurt and she was tired and wanted to go home. Then they went to bars and she was fine doing bars until HC "judged" their last bar routine of the night. DD did not want to participate. (I think back then the time change was affecting her and eventhough it was only 7:30 pm it felt like 8:30pm to her). She just sat there pouting and lightly crying. Her coach said she was up next and HC saw her and asked what was going on. She didn't wait for a response before she picked her up and put dd outside and told her to go home because babies aren't allowed in the gym. I personally thought it was a bit harsh but I just took my baby home and told her that some gym days are tough but other are AWESOME and she agreed with me. (Thank goodness)

I know our HC is very tough and a bit harsh at times. I am just hoping dd will be able to deal with her when she older for now.....I just quietly observe.

Unfortunatly, things like this happen and some gyms lose perspective and forget that they are children first then gymnasts.
 
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mariposa

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I definitely think that sending them home from practice when they are not behaving and continue to after being asked to stop is a good "punishment". For my DD, being asked to leave the gym would be way worse than doing 20 v-ups/push ups, etc. Time outs even work better for her. I know all kids are different, but many kids don't see push ups, etc as a punishment.

DDs friend is like that. She would rather risk it by doing what she wants that she thinks is fun, because punishment is "only" push ups, v-ups, etc. She pushes the limits every time and the coaches don't do much, neither does her mom. I think that if they sent her home, it would send the message across much quicker, because she LOVES being at the gym. Or if they made her sit out when she was misbehaving (many times it is at the expense of another gymnast-being in their way, and other times it is just unsafe-doing things on tramp/bars by herself or running in front of another gymnast doing big skill). She is also one to frequently feign an injury to get out of doing something she doesn't want to, then is all better when they are doing what she does want to. I love her mom to death, but she does nothing to stop it and it drives me insane.

My DD is pretty good at the gym. I have talked to her many times and explained that gym is a PRIVILEGE and that she needs to pay attention. I have no issues with her having fun and playing around, but I do have a problem with her wasting the coaches/other girls time and doing ANYTHING that is not safe to do or that she shouldn't be doing. She knows that I will keep her from gym the next time, so she listens.
 

bogwoppit

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Feb 26, 2007
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You know when you can still pick up a gymmie and place them outside the door, they are still babies. Ooh sticks and stones, what is the deal with name calling.

How about "I see you don't feel much like doing gym today, howabout Mom takes you home, maybe next class you'll be more into it?".

A few weeks back my youngest was not into beam warm up at all, she did the blobby thing and the coach just let her sit to one side. Then the girls began working skills and DD decided she was all of a sudden fine (how odd eh?) and wanted to join in. The coach said sure, but not until you do the beam warm up, so she did it and all was fine.

Considering the amount of time our girls spend with their coaches their little quirks and behaviour patterns should be known and understood.

The OP's coach was new to the group and should be more understanding of a group of very little girls. You cannot belittle and physically punish a child into doing better, no matter whether the goal is Elite or rec level 1. It is not acceptable. (now I am doing my supernanny impersonation!)

I really do not understand how anyone can rationalise this into being okay, would you let granddad do this to your child, or the school principal? I hardly think so.

The fact that coaches in the US do not have to be qualified to teach is responsible for this kind of coaching. A training course not only teaches technique, but also how to manage class issues.
 
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mariposa

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Sep 25, 2007
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We did have one incident a few weeks back with dd. She was having an off day. Didn't want to do beam- sat and watched the whole time. She claimed her leg hurt and she was tired and wanted to go home. Then they went to bars and she was fine doing bars until HC "judged" their last bar routine of the night. DD did not want to participate. (I think back then the time change was affecting her and eventhough it was only 7:30 pm it felt like 8:30pm to her). She just sat there pouting and lightly crying. Her coach said she was up next and HC saw her and asked what was going on. She didn't wait for a response before she picked her up and put dd outside and told her to go home because babies aren't allowed in the gym. I personally thought it was a bit harsh but I just took my baby home and told her that some gym days are tough but other are AWESOME and she agreed with me. (Thank goodness)

Unfortunatly, things like this happen and some gyms lose perspective and forget that they are children first then gymnasts.

While I do agree that sending her home was probably the right thing to do (she obviously didn't want to be there anymore, for whatever reason--off day, tired, etc, we all have them!) but the "No babies allowed in the gym" was definitely too harsh. Especially since it is obvious that Liv is a very hardworker and loves the gym, she should have known she was having an off day. She could have told her that it looks like you don't want to be here today, go home and we will see you next practice.

I, personally, would have taken her home after she was sitting out on beam. If you are hurt and tired, then let's go home.

I definitely agree that they are KIDS first and gymnasts second. There is absolutely a need for them to follow rules and order, but you don't need to punish all for one/several girls mistakes and definitely don't need to YELL at my kid.
 

Tim_Dad

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Nov 3, 2008
414
Region IV (Missouri)
I, personally, would have taken her home after she was sitting out on beam. If you are hurt and tired, then let's go home.

Eh.. I don't think I'd go that far. Good coaches also know when a kid is just being lazy too, and sometimes they need a nudge or two. Endurance training is also part of the sport. There's an athletic lesson in overcoming the little stuff in order to perform.

Also, I'm not totally against penence conditioning, as long as this is the standard protocol, is within reason, and isnt over used. Such as... those that get the wiggle-worms on beam... 10 V-ups. Miss a step on floor, 10 pushups. etc. But for a kid to blatently disrupt a class, even after a warning? To me, that equals dismissal. No coach should have to deal with that nonsense. This isn't daycare.

Where I take issue is when coaches feel they have the authority punish. Because they don't! If my DD was excused from the floor because she was being disruptive? Yea, that'll teach some lessons. Especially if she has to explain to mom and dad too. I would have 10x more respect for a coach this over anything else.

(Short story time)

When my DS was on a regional competition swimteam, the headcoach was tough - but fair. Everyone knew it and respected that.

One day, HC wasnt at practice, and the asst. coach ran the show instead. When one of the girls (one of the best swimmers I may add) jumped the gun, and false-started at a practice swim-off, the asst coach pulled her out of the lineup and made her jump in and climb out of the deep end until he told her she could stop. (proving... absolutely nothing!)

Well, she did it. And after about 10 minutes of going in and out, she was visably exhausted, but continued. She stopped at about 15 minutes. She was completely wrecked. The coach told her to keep going, and she said she couldn't. The coach walked over to her, and pushed her in the pool. BIG mistake.

Her Dad came out of the bleachers, and threw the coach in the pool, and said loudly -- "I DARE you to get out!" Needless to say, he didn't, and was fired the next morning.

So if your coaching: Motivation penence is one thing, but make it worthy and helpful to the athlete. And - always rememeber -- we parents ARE watching. And some of us are not afraid of you!
 
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Billy

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Luckily DD has never had a coach that yelled, or even really punished the girls at all. Sometimes the coaches have told girls to sit out if they weren't behaving but nothing more than that. Once or twice I have called DD out and asked her if she was ready to go home, seeing as how she wasn't doing her skills or was playing around or something. She panicked and said "no!" And proceeded to go out and get back to work. Bottom line is that all gymmies have off days sooner or later, and the little ones probably more than the big ones. But the coaches really need to handle it better than resorting to yelling, belittling and sarcasm.
 
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Billy

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One other thought, in the coaches' defense, a lot of times they deal with parents who believe their child can do no wrong. In those cases, even something as simple as asking the child to sit out for being disruptive would cause ire from the parents. "How dare you sit my child out! I'm PAYING you to train her!" I'm sure you all know the type... so really, what's a coach to do? Obviously, as I said before, yelling and the like are never acceptable but some parents leave the coaches will few alternatives.
 

mariposa

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Sep 25, 2007
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Tim,

I am just saying that if it was MY daughter, I would have taken her home then. I am very strict about my DD not wasting the coaches or other girls time, as it bugs me to see my DDs time wasted by other girls that are constantly playing around, etc.

Gymnasts need to learn that many times, they have to do stuff that is "boring", "not fun" or stuff they seem to think they already "know how to do". By letting them sit it out by feigning injury (and then join back in when they like what they are doing), etc, it lets them get out of that and makes it seem to them that they are right, it is okay to not do those things.

Gymnastics is all about the little things and they must be done just as much as those fun tricks they love so much. If my DD decided that she wanted to sit out something like that, I would make the decision to take her home. She can't decide what she IS or ISN'T going to do. That is, of course, just my opinion on the matter. I think that taking her home would help her to realize that gymnastics is a privilege and she needs to treat it as such.

I also don't mind my DD getting 10 v-ups, etc when she does mess around. I think that time outs work better for her, but I am not her coach. A time in her pre-team class comes to mind, they had worked on back tucks one time as a reward. My DD loved it and wanted to do it again. So when they were supposed to be being spotted on BHSs at the next practice, she would do a BT. Coach told her they were doing BHSs, on her next turn she did a BT again. Her coach gave her 20 frog jumps. Next turn, she did the BT AGAIN. Again 20 frog jumps. When I questioned her, she said that it was worth the 20 frog jumps to get to do a BT. :rolleyes: She wasn't at all upset about the "punishment". Another time, different coach, she was given a time out for something and was absolutely devastated. She hated sitting on the side while the others got to do gymnastics.

I DO mind the all punished for one/several girls errors, but I think with gymnastics, I will just have to suck it up unless it is excessive/abusive.
 
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