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So what is going on with BG?

Discussion in 'UK' started by Learning Parent GB, Nov 14, 2017.

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  1. I have read the BBC and Guardian articles today and also the official statement from Jane Allen. And I found the UK Gymnastics site on FB that has leaked an email that was sent to Jane Allen last year.

    I understand that a lot of our elite athletes are not happy with their contracts, but it is not clear why.

    Most concerning are the hints about athlete welfare not being taken seriously. I know there is a case where a previous coach is being investigated by the Met police, but is there a suggestion that this is much more widespread?

    Should we be expecting anything else more horrid to come out of the woodwork?

    I don't want to much rake through cases relating to private individuals, but similarly I don't want to ignore what is going on. From small clubs right up to the top I think we need to put the welfare of all gymnasts first. And from these articles I'm not really sure what we should be looking out for.
  2. I've read pretty much what you've written above.

    I wonder if anyone has deeper insight, I don't have a child anywhere near level or know anyone who is but it's sad if there is a huge problem and stress on the gymnasts.
  3. Honestly, this is our experience. I was nodding along to the guardian article, every single statement is true.

    I wrote a long post and deleted. It's OK to speak up if you are Max Whitlock and have the support of your peers. As the parent of a junior who is still very much at the mercy of the NGB it is still impossible.
    Annikins, sce and BachFlyer like this.
  4. I'm so sorry to hear that Faith. I've been struggling with this whole issue of whistleblowing. It's very easy to write a policy, but really how can you put your head above the parapet as a young athlete?
    sce and BachFlyer like this.
  5. 100% with you on that. You either have to be un-expendable as you bring home the medals that line their pockets or wait until your children have ended their careers before you feel comfortable coming forward. At which point no-one in BG cares as apparently 'it's not happening now'! I was appalled that Tracey Crouch (Minister for Sport) suggested Dan Keatings revelations were no longer relevant as he is an ex-gymnast, and that she believed there was no 'crisis' as Jane Allen (BG CEO) was doing a great job.

    Martha Kelner the journalist who wrote the original piece for the Guardian states she has spoken to at least 15 parents/coaches/athletes who will all attest to the 'culture of fear' Dan is speaking of. I would like to take my hat off to the person(s) who broke the story to the papers, it can't have been easy as the gym world is small and people can be easily recognisable through their stories.

    Hopefully this is just the beginning and BG will have to show more transparency with how the manage and not hide behind their on-line policies. Policies are worthless if you don't follow them. The system is archaic and old school coaching techniques are still accepted as long as the results are forthcoming. Some coaches are emulating the Soviet Bloc techniques and causing emotional and occasionally physical harm to their gymnasts, but a blind eye is turned so long as those gymnasts are winning. As the leaked email suggests BG are culpable in the abuse as they not only accept it but reward those coaches with greater responsibility, creating a culture that rewards and reproduces bad practice.
    sce likes this.
  6. It’s not just gymnastics either. It’s endemic in youth sport, just more so early start sports like gymnastics.

    Nailed it.
    sce and Jenny like this.
  7. Oh that's so sad, is your junior in artistic or does this run into other disciplines? My child isn't in artistic and coaching seems fair and good and she is happy.
  8. Unfortunately I have to agree with the article and all comments on here. As a parent I feel totally helpless as there is no alternative, I think any club that coaches beyond recreational fall into this bracket. Even as a parent I have been bullied by the clubs. The treatment by the clubs are cause by the culture that has developed in gymnastics in the UK, ex gymnasts turning into coaches, coach in the same way that they have seen rather than create a better environment so unless something is forced upon, i cannot see this changing. As parents we are too frightened to speak up and either have to let our children endure it, leave a club for another equally as bad or leave the sport. That being said there does seem to be some parents happy to accept the situation which then makes it even harder.

    My heart sank when reading the BG statement as it essentially was in denial about what is happening. Nothing can change unless there is acknowledgment of the failings.
    I think we definitely need a clean-out of the current NGB with fresh blood that are prepared to actually visit clubs, provide guidance on welfare and safe and ensure that they stick to acceptable code of conduct.

    From the statement BG released "... I strive to instil a culture of honesty, openness, trust, respect and support. I always welcome debate and listen to constructive feedback" - nothing could be further from the truth

    :...'how we win’ is just as important. This administration has never had a desire to win at any cost" - It may not have a desire but is happy to let it happen
    UGA2016 likes this.
  9. There has been a number of articles about gymnastics in the UK recently. I thought it would be interested to see what people would like a governing body to do or what they think they should be doing.
  10. I agree. Very vague. The membership system has nothing to do with it. Their current issues are about how they treat their athletes.

    Again, wrote a long post and deleted. Basically I’d like to see a supportive ngb. My impression so far is the favoured ones get lots of support and “don’t worry if you can’t do x, y and z/ have an injury/aren’t fit for trials, we’ll look at your successes”, while others are told if they don’t do x, y and z they’re off the squad.

    People complain about lack of communication from clubs, but ngb’s are far worse. Clear selection policies would be nice, to start. Pass the requirements, this happens. Rather than ooh, you passed, but we want to take x instead, even though they didnt pass or even take the test..
  11. Learning Parent GB likes this.
  12. I want to make a complaint about BG -but i don't know who to

    My child was the gymnast for a coach doing the L3 beam module.teh coach failed because my kid was having a bad day (having had a spill the day before) and was frightened to do the flick walkout without support- she did it fine with support .On appealing the decision the coach received the response ( which I have seen) that the assessor found no fault with the coaches knowledge , expertise or supporting skills -it was purely the gymnast (my daughter) beam performance on the day that was the cause of the fail..

    Surely the coach is the one being assessed - how is it fair or ethical for BG to put that on an 11 yr old child?
    Annikins and LindyHopper like this.
  13. You are absolutely correct your daughter's performance should not have been assessed but I'll be perfectly honest with you it would be down to the coach in question to make the complaint not yourself. BG will tell you much the same.

    If I were that coach my letter of complaint would already be winging its way to the coaching department of BG with photo copies of any evidence that I had in my favour.

    I do hope that the reason for the coaches failure was only shared with yourself and not with your daughter because like you said it is completely unethical to blame a child and/or their performance for failure.
    Annikins and twinklytoes9468 like this.
  14. *Surely the coach is the one being assessed - how is it fair or ethical for BG to put that on an 11 yr old child?*

    I also think it’s a clear demonstration on bg’s focus on results. Didn’t get the result? Fail. End of story.

    For me, how the coach dealt with the problem shows far more about her abilities, or lack of them. Did she formulate a plan with the gymnast on how to overcome the issue, was she reassuring and motivating, or tough and no nonsense? Did the approach fit the gymnasts worries and learning style?

    I would discuss with the coach how to appeal, maybe offer to write her a letter of support? And point out with current issues in bg coaching is about more than end result..
  15. Not saying that BG are right in this rule but if I remember correctly - to pass the module you must bring gymnasts that you yourself have coached to that level and those gymnasts must be capable of completing all the skills on the syllabus. It used to be with coach spotting but it's possible it may have changed now and the gymnast has to be able to complete the skill alone.
    twinklytoes9468 likes this.
  16. Thank you.I am sure you are right rd7 and I think that is the problem!
    Why is the gymnast's performance on teh day relevant? It should be very easy for a half-competent assessor to test a candidates knowledge and supporting skills even if the gymnasts cannot perform the skills unaided.In a driving test you are not responsible for other drivers actions!

    It is putting too much pressure on kids

    Also I don't like this whole 'gymnasts you have trained yourself' business. It smacks of coaches owning rights to the gymnasts.Maybe that's what happens at elite levels but not appropriate at all in a grass roots club.I find the implied exclusivity kind of creepy and a breeding ground for bad practice and abuse.
    sce, txgymfan and Jard.the.gymnast like this.
  17. Not to mention where is the proof that the coach has "coached" said gymnasts - for all anyone knows they could be elite gymnasts coached by XXXX for their entire life and yet YYYYY has "borrowed them for the exam. Surely the emphasis should be on whether the trainee coach can actually coach the skills they need to to be awarded the certificate. After all they don't award football coaching qualifications to people who only coach the winning side.

    As an example way back when I took my senior coaching qualification (level 4 now) the gymnasts I took were not mine but someone elses that I did help with but I was not their main coach because I was not qualified to be so. I took these 4 gymnasts with me on the course and during the examination I was told to support a certain move. In the environment we were in this move would have been difficult for an experienced coach to support so I refused and had the gymnast do the move unsupported into a pit. I gave the reasoning that the environment was not safe for me to support the move and I had shown adequate progressions for the move and that for me to attempt to support the move it would prove too dangerous for myself and the gymnast. On this occasion I passed but I really think it does depend on the mood of the examiner.

    My main point here should be that it should be the coach that is being assessed not the gymnast - the gymnast could have been coached by several people in their career also the gymnast could be an elite gymnast that could do the move and have been doing the move for years. The gymnast could also be an in-experienced gymnast who may only have just learnt the move. It should be irrelevant whether the gymnast can do the the move or not it should be based on the coaches reaction to the gymnast doing (not doing) the move and their ability to teach the gymnast the move.
  18. Yes - the BG coach training programme puts huge pressure on kids. It disregards their needs - kids who are chosen to go along with coaches to their training and assessments are expected to see it as a privilege even though it is boring for them and means they have to travel to a venue and sit around. The progress of the coach is tied into the progress of the few kids that wish to put in the time to move up through the skills, so naturally those kids get more time. There isn't any recognition for training a thousand kids to do a held handstand. The higher you get the worse it is - squad kids have to choose between quitting or committing to hours and limited holidays which would not be allowed under child employment law. This requirement for the coaches to bring along kids who can perform difficult skills must drive that to some extent.
    Annikins, sce and Jard.the.gymnast like this.
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