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For Parents So frustrated with gym and video capabilities

Tulip811

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This more of a vent than anything else.
The SpotTv at my daughter's gym has not been functioning since before Thanksgiving. The gym is closed to parents and there is zero ability to view what is happening at practice. I find this so frustrating. I want to be able to see that COVID precautions are being followed. I want to know that my daughter is safe from sexual abuse at practice. and I want to be able to see her do some of her skills that she acquired the last few months. Completely frustrated.
 

Aussie_Gymnast

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Is the spot TV a live video recording of the practises? I think in some clubs even without the restrictions sometimes they prefer that parents don’t watch training sessions too often so that they don’t become too involved and just trust that the coaches know what they are doing. I am sure the coaches should have all done training on Covid precautions and sexual abuse. But also it must be hard as a parent to not be able to see or know exactly what is happening. It is nice that parents care enough to stay and watch practise.
 

Flippin'A

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I am sure the coaches should have all done training on Covid precautions and sexual abuse.
I don't know where the original poster is from, but I can say that this statement is absolutely not a guarantee in the United States. There are many gyms that are doing a great job (both in terms of mitigation and abuse prevention,) but I certainly would never be okay with being barred from watching training. I don't do it often for the reasons you mentioned, but to me it's vital that I have the option.
 
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Geoffrey Taucer

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I think the ideal scenario is the one in which parents have the option of watching practice at any time, but generally choose not to.

Given recent revelations of abuse, it would be unreasonable -- highly suspect, even -- to bar parents from watching practice completely. All adults in the gym should know that they are potentially being watched at all times in all interactions with gymnasts.

That said, it's really not beneficial for parents to ACTUALLY watch practice at all times.

But this is all in the abstract.

Regarding this specific situation, the technology exists to very cheaply set up a stream that parents can log into to watch practice remotely. The hardware required costs about as much as a secondhand vault board, and there already exist multiple platforms that allow for secure stream viewing that requires a login. (The biggest challenge, honestly, would be finding a platform that doesn't already have a reputation for.... erm..... not-family-friendly uses.) For any gym in 2020 to NOT have a livestream for the parents can only be due to lack of effort and know-how (unless its in an area that doesn't have good internet access -- but that applies to very very few places these days). But it's understandable -- the people who are working at gyms are doing so because they want to be out on the floor being active, not because they want to be setting up tech.
 
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MuggleMom

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Dec 22, 2016
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Our Gym said they were going to set up remote viewing but it hasnt happened. They said they have had tons of issues with the technology so thats why they havent rolled it out to parents yet. That being said we have other viewing options. They allow limited waiting room viewing (its discouraged because of COVID but they have protocols and social distancing measures in place and people do watch some) We also have big windows so you can sit in the parking lot and if you get one of the good spots you have a good view of 1-2 events. This is what I do. I dont like to stay very long anymore but I can drop her off and stay for one event or I can go to pick up early and watch one event. This means that lately I only see Bars and Vault I have no idea how she is doing on beam lol.
 

Tulip811

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For any gym in 2020 to NOT have a livestream for the parents can only be due to lack of effort and know-how (unless its in an area that doesn't have good internet access -- but that applies to very very few places these days). But it's understandable -- the people who are working at gyms are doing so because they want to be out on the floor being active, not because they want to be setting up tech.

This is the crux of my issue. Except that I don't find it understandable at all. This gym isn't just owned by a person interested in gymnastics. Its owned by a team, investors who know how the business world works.

As for whether or not a parent watches gymnastics practice.....that's not what this thread is about but I have a whole lot of opinions on that subject too. Do you really think there would be the pervasive mistreatment and abuse of gymnasts if parents were encouraged to watch practice? Would coaches talk the way they do to child/tween/teen gymnasts if parents were within earshot? I am so tired of the gymnastics community supporting the notion that parents are the problem. That we are beholden to the coaches and the gyms. Some how its been lost that we are customers, paying for a service.
 

Geoffrey Taucer

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This is the crux of my issue. Except that I don't find it understandable at all. This gym isn't just owned by a person interested in gymnastics. Its owned by a team, investors who know how the business world works.

I can't speak to your gym in particular, but a lot of gyms run on tighter profit margins than you might realize. Even in the best of times, they're generally reluctant to spend money on new and untested equipment, especially when that equipment brings no tangible training benefit -- and now that most gyms are in much more of a financial squeeze than usual, they REALLY don't want to spend money on new equipment right now. (That said, one of the biggest expenses, I believe, is insurance, and I think if insurance companies -- particularly those providing liability insurance -- were smart, they'd encourage gyms to install video streaming systems to discourage abuse).

As for whether or not a parent watches gymnastics practice.....that's not what this thread is about but I have a whole lot of opinions on that subject too. Do you really think there would be the pervasive mistreatment and abuse of gymnasts if parents were encouraged to watch practice? Would coaches talk the way they do to child/tween/teen gymnasts if parents were within earshot? I am so tired of the gymnastics community supporting the notion that parents are the problem. That we are beholden to the coaches and the gyms. Some how its been lost that we are customers, paying for a service.

I think coaches should have the knowledge that at all times they are POTENTIALLY being watched, and you're not wrong in feeling that far too many in the industry think of parents as "the enemy." This problem can be partially solved with good strong communication between parents and coaches.
However, if coaches are ACTUALLY being watched at all times it introduces certain complications to training:
1) Good coaching is not always intuitive, especially to parents who in most cases do not have the detailed technical knowledge of the sport that coaches do. For example, it is often beneficial to delay a kid from performing a skill that they are fully capable of performing, in the interest of cleaning up basics to improve long-term performance of that skill. Susie's mom might want to see her get her backhandspring, and Susie might be capable of learning it today, but I'd rather she have a good clean backhandspring a month from now than a sloppy dangerous one today. Some parents understand this, and some don't.
2) Parents who are overly-invested in their kids gymnastics progress often put far too much pressure on their kids. In such instances, parents watching every single thing in the gym is only going to exacerbate the problem, for both coach and athlete.
3) I firmly believe that kids need to be able to have some level of control over what they share with their parents and what they keep in confidence. Obviously this can be very tricky and change depending on the circumstances, but if an athlete wants to discuss her fears and struggles with a coach without their parents being part of the conversation, they should have that option. Conversely, they should be able to share (or not share) their thoughts about any given practice with their parents on their own terms.

I'll put it another way: for a gymnast to be successful and gain the maximum benefit from being in the sport of gymnastics, there are three important AND NECESSARILY DISTINCT roles that must be filled.
1) The athlete's job is to put in the time and energy into learning the sport. They are the ones feeling the soreness after a hard workout, they are the ones putting themselves at risk when trying a new skill, they are the ones dealing with the frustration of an unsuccessful rotation, in a way that neither coach nor parent can. In the big picture, the athlete should have the ultimate say in what level of risk they are prepared to take and what level of time and effort they are willing to put forth.
2) The coaches' job is to provide technical expertise and guidance. They are the ones who bring technical expertise and experience, in a way that neither athlete nor parent can. In the big picture, the coach should have the ultimate say in what skills the athlete trains, how they train them, and when they train them.
3) The parents job is rather complex, but in the context of gymnastics it is primarily to provide emotional support. They are the ones able to provide the athlete with a safe place to rest and recuperate -- both physically and emotionally -- from the demands of gymnastics in a way that neither coach nor athlete can. This is best accomplished when parents DO NOT openly share the frustrations and fears of the athlete; when an athlete goes home after practice -- particularly after a rough practice -- she should go home to parents who love and support her with zero care for whether she had a good practice on any particular day.

Now, in my experience, parents who watch all practices all the time tend to start blurring the line between the roles of coach and parent. Its only natural to become invested when you're watching practice all the time, and I don't fault parents for this impulse. They get frustrated by their kids' struggles, they get invested in their kids' advancement through
But suppose a kid has a frustrating beam practice where she's falling on her backhandspring every time she tries it. Generally, she will not want to go home to a parent who saw every single one of those falls and is just as frustrated as she is; she wants to go home to a parent who is proud of her and will cook her a nice after-practice dinner, and with whom she can decide when and whether to discuss her frustrations and struggles. The athlete should be able to have that discussion (or not) on her own terms, in her own time.

I'm not a parent. But it is my opinion both as a coach and as a former athlete that parents can best-support their gymnasts when they don't actually care whether they're doing well in the gym, and when the athlete has the ability to share -- or decline to share -- details about practice on their own terms.

(However, all this presupposes a healthy training environment, which sadly is not always a safe assumption -- hence the need for parents to have the option of watching, and for coaches to always know they are potentially being watched).
 
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ldw4mlo

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How long has your daughter been going to this gym?

I would think if you have been there for a while you should have a good feel by now as what the environment is and a level of trust.

We have been at our gym for 7 years. If I felt I couldn't trust what was going on after all this time, we probably shouldn't be there.

It is rare for anyone to watch practice since Covid. No cameras. I see new skills because the kids video each other. I saw one new skill the other day. First video since they have been back in gym.
 

raenndrops

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One of our coaches attends college in another state (several states away). Once our practices resumed, she trained them until she had to go to school. She coached them from pre-team to level 3 and then to level 4. This year, most of them are competing level 5. Since she left for school, she was watching parts of their practice through facetime because she is really connected to "her" girls, and she wanted to be sure she knew where they were with training when she came back for winter break so they didn't miss a beat.

If the gym's video capabilities are lacking, see if they would agree to let the parents set up something (with the parents footing the bill). It might work.
 

katrid11

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Is the gym really closed to parents? Our gym says it is closed but when I pressed, legally they have to be open to allow any parent to come during practice (any time of the year) and view from the viewing area provided they follow proper COVID protocols. I have 3x in the past, just walked in during practice and checked on things like distancing, masks, etc.

We have been at our gym for the better part of 7 years since my daughter was 1. I can tell you that while I trust the coaches to coach and spot, I have no trust in anyone about COVID. This pandemic has taught me that everyone has a different level of risk and some of the coaches were more risk taking than others. I have seen parents desperate to get their son out on the soccer field then turn around and not wear the mandatory masks on the sidelines.

It is rare in the past for team parents to just sit and watch practice - even I would just drop in every few months. Right now I am less concerned about seeing my daughter practice on the beam as I am in the 22 yr old assistant is properly wearing her mask.
 

springsforlegs

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Is the gym really closed to parents? Our gym says it is closed but when I pressed, legally they have to be open to allow any parent to come during practice (any time of the year) and view from the viewing area provided they follow proper COVID protocols. I have 3x in the past, just walked in during practice and checked on things like distancing, masks, etc.

We have been at our gym for the better part of 7 years since my daughter was 1. I can tell you that while I trust the coaches to coach and spot, I have no trust in anyone about COVID. This pandemic has taught me that everyone has a different level of risk and some of the coaches were more risk taking than others. I have seen parents desperate to get their son out on the soccer field then turn around and not wear the mandatory masks on the sidelines.

It is rare in the past for team parents to just sit and watch practice - even I would just drop in every few months. Right now I am less concerned about seeing my daughter practice on the beam as I am in the 22 yr old assistant is properly wearing her mask.
Would love to know what state. We haven’t been able to be in the gym fro the last several months. We have Spot - but when practice is at an odd time (like tomorrow due to it being a holiday) we can’t watch. I have been in the gym, watching, and was told I had to leave.

We won’t even be able to be in-person for our meet next week.
 

novagymmom

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Would love to know what state. We haven’t been able to be in the gym fro the last several months. We have Spot - but when practice is at an odd time (like tomorrow due to it being a holiday) we can’t watch. I have been in the gym, watching, and was told I had to leave.

We won’t even be able to be in-person for our meet next week.
This is the exact same as us. No spectators in the gym or at our (virtual) meets.