For Coaches UNGH! Why do they quit?

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Geoffrey Taucer

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(I'm mainly just venting here)

SO, last summer, one of my boys (would have been a level 6 this past year) seemed to be burning out, and from talking to him it was clear that he was getting bored with compulsories. So I made him a deal; if he'd stick around, he could take the year off from competing and spend the season training towards level 8, and I'd also allow him to specialize on his favorite events (rings and p-bars). He liked that idea, and so we went with it.

He spent the past year working his butt off and making HUGE strides, especially on rings. I think he would have a pretty good shot at being state champion on rings this year at L8...

.... except he's quitting at the end of the month.

ARGHHHHHHHHHHHH!
 
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gymmomntc2e6

Moderator/Proud Parent
Aug 25, 2007
2,842
North Carolina
Sorry GT, that really stinks ! Any chance he'll miss it after a few months and come back.

It seems a lot do that right when they get to the optionals they have been working so hard to get to. I wonder if USAG put a cap on hours kids could train per level and curb the burnout. Although, I guess that would be counterproductive in getting the world class gymnasts up to par for international competition.

Anyway, sorry that has happened. Very frustrating.
 

Geoffrey Taucer

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It seems a lot do that right when they get to the optionals they have been working so hard to get to. I wonder if USAG put a cap on hours kids could train per level and curb the burnout. Although, I guess that would be counterproductive in getting the world class gymnasts up to par for international competition.

I don't think too many hours is the issue; he's only been training 6-9 hours/week (since he decided to drop some events, we cut back a bit on his hours).
 

elilla

New Member
Feb 22, 2008
40
Omaha, NE
At Region 4 Congress Wendy Weiss gave a very interesting talk on maintaining kids in the sport of gymnastics. She did an intense research study. Although it was all girls who were used for the study it did open my eyes to why the kids quit. Regardless it is very frustrating!!
 

Valentin

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Nov 12, 2007
376
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Hi Elilla

Would you be able to share with us what she said (the basics behind it). I think it won't be anything shockingly unpredictable but its always to actual hear it/read it.

GT i hear you mean i hear you, that is really ****ty. Do you know the reason for the quitting? If its something that you and him (family) can sort out it might be worth looking into. However when you as a coach have to start bending over to accommodate for kids leaving it gets to the point that it becomes counter productive. A couple of years ago i did the exact same thing as yourself, and the gymnast in question left the year after, reasons why it was
1- School was his priority, gym required to much time he could not give it
2- He was a perfectionist, if he cannot do it perfectly than he felt it was not for him
3- He was wayyyyy to smart for his own good, and realized exactly how restricted he was in the facilities he was training and essentially it was a dead end.

There was nothing i could do to help keep him...needless to say neither one of us was good as saying goodbye haha. One thing that maybe helps is to know that the door is always open to come back if they want to.

In the famous words parkets.. "suck it up" haha... only thing left to do
 

Geoffrey Taucer

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I should say that I basically know why he quit: he's 13, and has other things he wants to do with his time. Being such a natural athlete, he wants to get into other sports (I hear he's an excellent swimmer).

Still really frustrating, though.
 

dunno

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Apr 28, 2009
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bummer...like i have stated before...gymnastics is the hardest and most difficult sport that a child will ever endeavor.
 
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BlairBob

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bummer.

I see 2 big drop-off periods in MAG numbers which are from the kinder coed programs to boys rec/developmental around 5-6 and right around the junior high to freshman years.

By the time they are frosh, their coaches will not share them with gymnastics whereas they may in junior high. We have to combat the lure of the other sports compared to gymnastics which is year round is tough besides the expense difference and frustration if they are taller, bigger guys.
 

Pineapple_Lump

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Jan 31, 2008
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Sorry to hear that he is quitting.

Good on you though for realizing a kid was burnt out and trying to find a practical way to motivate them to continue happily. You also got a year out of him where he was working hard. I am going to assume he was setting a good example for others. I hope that in his future sporting endeavors he realizes what gymnastics and you as his coach have done to help him succeed.
Be proud of what you have been able to do for the kid even if it frustrates you to tears. You could have carried on the misery but you chose to try and help the kid for his own sake.
 

marie83

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Mar 23, 2009
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Ah man, It is so frustrating when a good/very good gymnast decides to leave.
I had a very talented gymnast leave this year too - she was only just at the beginning of her 'career', just 8 yrs old but she decided she had had enough - there was no convincing her otherwise! We offered her reduced hours and various classes, but to no avail.

I guess there comes a point when you have to just let go. No matter how talented a gymnast might be, if their heart isn't in it, there is nothing you can do. As coaches we have to have their best interests at heart and if we can't do anything to help, they have to come to a decision on their own.

At 13 I guess your gymnast still has time to come back if he wants to - so if there can be an open door policy I'm sure that would help.
Would it be a possiblity to get him into coaching? That is one way we keep our gymnasts in the sport longer at our club - they start off assisting the beginner classes whilst they are still training, then when they retire, they are offered a place coaching the squad gymnasts. One or two decide after coaching for a little while, that what they really want to do is train again!

I think it is important to try and stay in touch with him, are his parents on facebook, or do you have their cell phone numbers? With my gymnast who left this year, I added her mum on facebook and I keep in touch that way, just to find out whether she is missing gym yet! I will also invite her to our club presentation in November as she will receive a prize there and she will come in to receive her last competition certificate and badge in the next couple of weeks. You never know when she is back with her friends, she may just realise that she misses it!

Well, I don't know if anything I've said has helped, but I hope so!
Keep us informed on any changes!
Marie
 
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coachinkal

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That article was quite interesting.

I am also faced with my L5/6 gymnasts moving up next year and all are feeling like gymnastics is all a bit too hard. They have all vocalised that they are not sure if they want to continue.

I have talked about going optionals for a year so the pressure of learning the hard skills of the next level, and badging are taken away. I have told them that we will need to sit down together and choose the skills they want to learn, so that are still progressing forward on some skills.

They are all really positive about this and all want to continue now. I have also spoken to their parents and they are all supportive of this.

My only fear is they will think its a big holiday and not train hard.

One of my boys also has major fear/confidence issues when learning new skills so this will also give him an opportunity to consolidate on what he has learned so he can do the skills confidently, and there will be less pressure on him to learn the next level skills that he is fearful of.
 
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BlairBob

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It looks as well, I may lose one of my 13yo in 8th grade to JH/HS sports. Dang, and this kid is fun and cool to be with. It makes dealing with the young munchkins so much better that I can almost relate to him about stuff.

le *sigh*
 

kalgymcoach

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Sep 8, 2009
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As we come from a small town, when boys are 13 and older they get teased at school. Unless one of our boys is strong enough, he will eventually fold under this type of stress. My son is 10 and I am not allowed to tell anyone from school he does gym. He loves it but the teasing is very hard to handle. Not fair as girls don't seem to get teased as much.
 

Geoffrey Taucer

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He's back; changed his mind, evidently, and is now back to working out. Fortunately, between swimming and some stretching he was doing at home, he hasn't lost much at all.
 

Geoffrey Taucer

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haHA!

Remember this guy? Well, he just had his first meet since returning to the gym (also his first meet as a level 8 -- in fact, last time he competed, it was as a level 5).

First place on rings!
 
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fuzi

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One of the things we do when older gymnasts quit, meaning optional gymnasts or middle school/high school age, is allow them to come in and stretch and condition with their (former) teammates for the first hour of workout. Most of these girls come in two or three days a week, some come in more, paying the respective fee that they would pay for that number of rec hours a week.

It does two things. One, it makes the "quitting" process less abrupt. Gymnasts do plateau. This allows them to stay in shape, spend a little time in the gym, and have a life outside of the gym. Two, it leaves the door open. If they continue to stretch and condition, returning to competition will just mean practicing skills. They still have the physical abilities to do the skills.

Sometimes gymnasts come back. Others realize that they love being in the gym and they love the sport, and decide to coach. Others simply cherish the opportunity to maintain the same level of fitness and take up diving, cross country, or another sport.

As a coach, it can be a major bummer when one of your favorite gymnasts quits (and we all know we shouldn't have favorites, but still do). This is one way my gym has found to lighten that decision for both coaches and gymnasts.
 
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Geoffrey Taucer

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GAH! JUST LOST ANOTHER! (This kid wanted to stick with it; quitting was his parents' decision)

This guy was absolutely spectacular on p-bars and ESPECIALLY pommel horse. Was a level 6 last year, preparing for level 8 this year. Yesterday was his last day.

He spent most of the workout on pommel horse (would you believe it's his favorite event?). On his final turn of the night, just before he left the gym, he got his Sivado for the first (and last) time.

I'm glad he could end on such an exciting note.... but man, do I wish he could compete it this season.
 
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