For Parents Rant!

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msl529

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I have a rant that I must get off my chest, and it's not even regarding my dd or her team!

As you may know, dd switched from artistic to T&T last Spring. All is very well w/ her, thanks to her supportive, well-trained, NICE coach. :p YAY!

Not so for the girls' artistic team, who were practicing @ the same time as dd. Apparently, the artistic HC had been having a tough time 'butting heads' w/ a little L5. This little peanut is probably no more than 7 or 8 yrs old, I'd say. And, she's tiny. She's apparently been having trouble w/ her bars squat-on (& they have a comp. this weekend, so HC is NOT happy w/ this).

Little one kept missing it, so HC rants at her about it (w/ a very loud voice, which is scary even to me). Then, HC goes over to spot llittle one & help her get her shoulders over the bar. Only, when little one gets to the squat-on part, & her body wants to fall back, HC pushes (shoves, even) her forward over & off the bar (which little one was not expecting) & little one lands on the mat, arms out, on all 4's. Not safe! HC then grabs her arm, yanks her back to the bar & makes her do it again. This goes on, over & over, whilst little one is in tears. HC lets her leave the bars to chalk up. All the while, little one is sobbing. HC & yells at her to "shut up, just let it go!". This lady had me cringing in my seat, I was so embarrassed by her behavior towards this little girl.

BTW, this happens out of the view & hearing of the artistic parents. They are not allowed inside the gym, but can watch thru a window outside. The angle is such that they cannot see/hear what happens on bars.

I know the gym owners and I know that they have expressly started this new gym in hopes of being different, and making a positive difference in each child's life, by caring about each one, and trying to accomodate them in every way possible (and they did, so graciously, for my dd). I am not sure they knew what they were getting into when they hired this HC.

There were other coaches present, they know this HC, and I think this is just how she is. I sincerely hope one of them mentions her behavior to the owners. I realize that every coach has reasons for being strict w/ kids. If the child were being mouthy or defiant, I would have been in her face as well (tho not quite like this HC was!). But this child did not utter a peep (except sobs) the whole time, and was simply having difficulty w/ a skill, which is not, in my HUMBLE opinion, a punishable offense (but I am not a coach, so I defer).

I find it odd when coaches get this idea in their head that a kid is actively trying NOT to do a skill, just to get under the coach's skin. Wouldn't you say that 99% of the time, the kid desperately wants the skill, but is truly having difficulty w/ it? Ranting and raving and pushing them around is only going to make things worse!

I realize I do not know the whole story w/ this kid & this coach, but sorry, I was just so sad for her. Not a nice way to spend your early years as a gymnast.

P.S. After witnessing this coach's stress level go thru the roof over the past week or so, my dd said she's 'SO THANKFUL' she is not doing artistic w/ this gym. And I am equally releived! Thanks for letting me vent. :eek:
 
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Linsul

Active Member
Sep 19, 2008
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That is offensive as a parent and as a coach. Squat-on's like many other seemingly simple skills can be very dangerous if a child is fearful and more concerned about holding on than anything else. If there is force involved in making the child let go as well. It's dangerous and overly aggressive and intimidating to that child, not what any parent wants and a TERRIBLE example to set as a HC to other coaches. There are too many ways to teach this skill safely to excuse how this coach acted. Does she only act like that towards that particular girl or is the team full of equal opportunity targets?

Telling her to 'shut up' is just wow! I'd sooner send a kid home than say that. I had a rec girl make fun of me jokingly about being from California who said 'Oh my God! Shut up!' in a valley girl voice and a parent who thought it was me that said it went off on me! It got cleared up, but yeah I wouldn't even say it jokingly.

I honestly would come to the gym with a digital camera capable of recording. If the owner is different from the HC I'd show them the footage and ask them to handle it. Just because I hate my word against theirs type arguments. Can't argue a recording. Actually I don't always have me camera on me and had I seen that I would have raged right into the office probably and made a bad impression. Terrible terrible environment! I realize it's not your DD or her program, but exposure to that has got to suck. The artistic program girls don't have their parents watching out for them due to layout of the gym and policy. I don't think it's fair to have to be a spokesperson for abuse (I think what that coach did constitutes the term) so maybe ask any other parents there what they thought if they saw it? I'm sure they have an opinion or ideas as to how it could be approached.
 
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cathiann

Guest
I think I'd anonymousy drop a letter to the owners explaining what you wrote here. If a HC was doing that with my child, I'd want something to say something.
 
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taximom

Guest
I can think of no reason to act in the manner that this coach did. The actions of this coach will only prolong this little gymmie's fear of getting this skill. Msl no wonder your Dd is so happy to be tumbling! Doi you know the parent of this girl? If you do perhaps you could chat with them so they know to touch base with their DD about the coach. That poor child must be so confused.
 

bogwoppit

Former Admin
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Former Gymnast
Feb 26, 2007
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Now that is truly awfuul. Dangerous and demeaning as well. That poor little girl is going to be even more scared of that squat on now. "Shut up" is so nasty I have always outlawed it in my home as it just sounds cruel.

A real shame her Mom didn't see or hear as the little one will never be able to really express what went on in the gym, it is really boderline abuse and parents do not pay for that. Things she will never forget, her parents will not understand why their talented kid wants to quit.

No skill will be acheived with fear and bullying. The thought of that little one sobbing her way through her training breaks my heart, poor kid.

I too would have to find a way to share this info with the owner, either that or the police. The child could've been seriously injured in her fall.
 

mariposa

Proud Parent
Proud Parent
Sep 25, 2007
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That is just so wrong and sad. I would write a letter to the owners as well, anonymous, but still.

I do NOT understand why coaches get upset when a child can't do a skill. I agree that most kids would LOVE to be able to do the skill they are struggling with, but they just aren't ready. Yelling at them does NOT help. I hate negative coaching. I put up with it at DDs old gym because I thought it was normal, but after being at a gym where I haven't seen it happen, I know that it isn't/shouldn't be normal. I certainly couldn't do something I was afraid of with someone standing there YELLING at me.

Friend's daughter from old gym was told they would move the bars farther apart at the meet even though she is afraid to jump to high bar that far apart. They did it at the meet, she fell (not sure on what though) and the pic of her jumping is just heartbreaking, especially from a kid that is ALWAYS happy and never lets stuff get her down. Stories like that and from another friend's mom from old gym just make me realize how much we are glad we changed gyms.

I feel so sad for that little girl. I wonder why she doesn't tell her parents? Or maybe she does and they don't care? I hope that my DD trusts me enough to tell me if that ever goes on.
 
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msl529

Guest
Thank you all for your comments. It's what I needed to hear, to get me off my butt. I e-mailed the owner & tolde her everything. I am not afraid to stand by what I saw, and I know the owner would want to know. Thanks for helping me see that this was serious enough to get myself involved in something I was not a part of.

As far as the girl's Mom...I do not know her, but have heard her chatting w/ other artistic parents while I was watching my own dd @ T&T. I do know that this parent and HC have been chatting about this kid 'butting heads' w/ HC and struggling w/ some skills.

She is also one of those parents who is, unfortunately, VERY invested in the fact that her dd is a gymnast. She is constanlty talking about her dd & every little thing she is doing at practice. This is why I think the Mom is 'putting up'. She REALLY wants her kid to be a gymnast and is, I think, in denial about how she is being treated. The kid has not been a gymnast for long, and this Mom may just think that this is the way it's done. I dunno.

I'll keep you posted on the response I get. I really hope not to get embroiled in a political gym mess, but I am glad I spoke up. Thanks again.
 
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canadiangymmom

Active Member
Jun 26, 2006
566
Ontario, Canada
What a deplorable way to treat a child! I didn't answer soon enough to offer advice, but you chose to do exactly as I would have. I prefer to stand behind my words as I think there's much more credibility. I'd hate to see an anonymous message left, for fear that no action would be taken to address the problem.

Good for you. I hope if my daughter was being treated poorly, someone who saw would have your courage to intervene and make a difference.
 
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kevchriswilli

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Sep 4, 2008
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Sometimes you have to be a child's voice... you did the right thing going to the owner... What the coach did was very wrong!!! I also hate the "shut up" phrase! and it is not allowed in my house either. Besides the verbal abuse I cannot believe the way he/she handled her.
 
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thnkGd4kds

Guest
I'm so relieved and glad that you reported this to the gym owners! This coach's behavior is absolutely unacceptable. I hope the owners take action and the mom wakes up.
 

gym law mom

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Dec 23, 2006
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All I can say is GOOD FOR YOU!!!! In most states what that coach did is considered child abuse. If you saw a parent with a child, screaming at them, yanking their arm and pushing, many people would alert authorities. Absolutely no difference just because the child is in the gym.

I hope some action will be taken quickly by the owners.
 

momof5

Member
Proud Parent
Oct 26, 2007
375
Thanks for taking the time to get involved and speak up for this kid. I can only hope that if anyone witnessed anything similiar happen to my DD that they would speak up for her as well. Thank you for being that person.
 
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msl529

Guest
Update: Gym owner got my e-mail, thanked me for it. I told her I didn't need her to tell me anything else, just that I was glad to confirm that she got my message & the rest is her business. She didn't want to say too much, as it's confidential, but did let me know in so many words that they were aware via other sources as well, and that they are working on it.

After gym this eve., DD told me that she came right out & asked her coach today, "Is it just me, or has Coach "X" been really mean lately?" I could NOT believe she was so frank w/ him llike that, but it tells me that she & he have a good level of trust between them, which I love. He answered her equally frankly, telling her that he agreed Coach "X"'s behavior was "really mean" last week, and that the other coaches noticed & they were all in discussion w/ the owners about it. Including the one event I witnessed, b/c dd questioned him directly if he had seen it, & he had.

I am relieved on 2 levels:

a) The gym owners care, and are dealing w/ it, rather than 'looking the other direction'

b) the other coaches are not in favor of such behavior, and were very quick to speak up to the owners about it. All healthy stuff.

This also reassures me about having dd there, just knowing that everyone else besides Coach "X" truly does care about the kids and wants to see positive coaching in the gym.

BTW, I think Coach "X" is quite a talented coach and I hope this person can rehabilitate (for lack of a better term, sorry!). With the girls they have on that team, we could really see some amazing & beautiful artistic gymnastics come from that place. But it's only worth it if there is respect from both sides of the coach/athlete relationship.

Thanks again for all your good guidance & helping to confirm my feelings on the situation! :)
 

canadiangymmom

Active Member
Jun 26, 2006
566
Ontario, Canada
That's good to hear!

I have to applaud your daughter for being so frank with her coach, and equally impressive is the fact that he replied in kind. More often than not, these types of discussions are shot down quickly. It's great that they have a relationship that allows her to feel comfortable speaking honestly, even when the subject matter is touchy.

I hope the action taken to address this coach brings speedy results, and that if he stays, that he can rebuild the trust with his team.
 

bogwoppit

Former Admin
Gold Membership
Former Gymnast
Feb 26, 2007
16,715
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Canada
You have raised such a smart child who is secure and smart enough to ask the right questions. Lovely to hear that the gym is taking care of business, this is not always the case, especially when the coach is talented.

Hopefully things improve for the little one involved.
 
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