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What do a GOAT + a generation + a movement + a virus = CULTURE SHIFT

JBS

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Is the culture of gymnastics changing?... you better believe it is. As a coach... I can definitely feel it shifting... and definitely in a good way. I could probably go on about this forever... but I'm not much of a typer (typist). I'd love to hear what everyone else is thinking about this... but first... here are the 4 major things that I see pushing the shift... in no particular order...

  • The emergence of a G.O.A.T. (Greatest Of All Time) - Obviously I'm talking about Simone Biles. Right now... at this exact moment... there is no disputing that. This in not like Tupac vs. Eminem where it is subjective... Simone is the greatest of all time. So why does this matter? There is just no way that the average kid can get to this type of gymnastics... no matter how good the coaching... or the facility... or the family. There has to be talent... and the the stars have to align. This is known in gymnastics... so more and more clubs are moving the the "pop to the top" mentality. What is that mentality... it's the "best for all" approach. Put a bunch of kids in a general program and give them good coaching... give them all the same thing... your "Michael Jordan" will emerge. Don't pick who you think it will be... or who is the youngest... or who has the parent that is willing to "buy in"... don't pick anyone... let them find you.

  • Generation Z - I don't want to go into a whole stereotyping generations thing... it's a little weird. Here's what I got for you... the younger generation is the future... so if you get "OK, Boomered"... then you need to figure out why YOU are not connecting... not them. And you can be an "OK, Boomer" without being an actual "Baby Boomer". Generation Z is over 75% of the workforce at the gym I run... and they are motivated and powerful... they are tech savvy... the interweb feeds them videos (not text and not images) so they understand videos well... they thrive on change... and they thrive on face-to-face contact. Those are not stereotypes... those are what I am seeing as I work with the younger generation and manage them. So if you are texting them because you think you are cool... OK, Boomer... talk to them face-to-face... show them respect. Listen to them... because they will change the future.

  • The Safe Sport Movement - I hope I do not need to explain this one. Safe mean safe... this movement has / is / and will continue to push things to a better place. The recent suspension of a very prominent elite coach for 8 years... message sent loud and clear to the coaching world. Parents should listen too.

  • Coronavirus / COVID-19 - Anyone who wasn't ready to change... well... we have to now. Gymnastics will be starting over... start over the right way... build this thing up correctly this time. Why not?... why wouldn't we look at all the issues that we were having before and fix them now. How many clubs are looking to go back to the way things were? Um... sure... we all want to get past this whole ordeal and move into the future... but our youngest staff are pushing big changes right now. These are changes that we could never do before... these crazy ideas that they have... the only way you could do these things is if we had "no customers". That day has come... these ideas that were "dreams" because they would be so disruptive to the normal business flow that they could and would cost the club tens of thousands to implement... they are here... welcome to the future. Some clubs will figure out the future... others will go back to the exact way they were... the ones that figure out the future will pass the others.

Kaizen people... KAIZEN. Improve until you can improve no longer... and when you can no longer improve because you know that you are the best... get over yourself and change... because if you don't... someone will figure out your game and run right by you like Usain Bolt... that's right... another GOAT.

I don't really type that much here anymore... but I had some time... guess I am a typer.

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JBS

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OK... you don't know who Tupac and Eminem are... I'll help you out... they are GOAT rappers. Are we coolio now? (Yah... that was a joke... he's a rapper too)

OK, Boomer!

Yes... I'm talking to myself now... and yes... I am Gen X.
 
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suds

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... here are the 4 major things that I see pushing the shift...



Culture change within gymnastics? I hope so.
I respectfully disagree with your assessment of the etiology.

I strongly believe that the initiating and driving force behind change was (and is)
the bravery, strength, and tenacity of abuse victims to stand up, speak up, and inspire others.
In many ways, it all seems to trace back to this.

Their voices continue to lead the culture change within gymnastics.
Leading, and demanding change with courage, perseverance, and grit.

CB-page-001.jpg



 

Aussie_coach

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Well some of those factors are relevant in the US and not so much globally.

GOAT is not a thing here. In Australia it has been 8 years now since we have qualified a WAG team for the Olympics. There are only a handful of elite gymnasts in the country, there are very few role models and most participants would never consider elite or even high level gymnastics a goal. The gyms are growing their recreational programs, more so than their elite programs. Schools have become more demanding over the years and, there are so many activities for kids to do these days that far less are keen for a sport that requires them to train multiple days of the week.

Safe sport is less of a thing here to. The events of gymnastics in the US were felt globally and our associations did implement new systems to help improve the child safety aspect of the sport. Coaches all now do an annual online course for example. But our gyms know there is no Olympic gold medal or college scholarship at the end of the road for our kids, the culture is not as cutthroat. We are less likely to have parents sending their kids to an abusive environment to get the best coaching. We just were not dealing with the same issues.

Even COVID 19 will have much less impact on our clubs and how we run the sport, because our government has provided the businesses with so much support. The government pays each business $750 per week per employee to pay to our employees as wages, for 6 months to help us through. They also require landlords to reduce our rent by the same percentage as we have reduced the turnover of our businesses, and made it illegal to evict tenants. So without having to pay wages or rent, and keeping all our staff and our premises, most gyms intend to simply resume as they were doing before once restrictions have been lifted.
 

Tigtimes

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As I stated in the original thread the PARENT culture needs to change too. From where I sit and trust me we are not in the higher ranked world of gyms or regions that is not even near changing. Youth sports is broken, it really is, maybe this break will realign it a bit but I don’t have much hope. Just look at Instagram for 2 minutes and you can see. Parents have created a crazy culture, they fuel the fire, all in the name of their childs “best interest“. No 8 yr old can grasp the concept of a college scholarship or even a true understanding of an elite athlete so you tell me where it comes from yet these kids are yanked out of school, many in programs that don’t have a shot in hell at producing either. Seriously if colleges eliminated athletic scholarships I wonder how many kids would not participate or at least would participate for the love of the game or sport. Until the Parent culture shifts, until those coaches that dangle unrealistic end games to drum up business stop youth sports is climbing an uphill battle.

JBS I would love to believe in the world you laid out and maybe I will have a little hope but I sit here and dread the day we go back not for the sport or my child but the parent culture of the youth sport world.
 

JBS

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Culture change within gymnastics? I hope so.
I respectfully disagree with your assessment of the etiology.

I strongly believe that the initiating and driving force behind change was (and is)
the bravery, strength, and tenacity of abuse victims to stand up, speak up, and inspire others.
In many ways, it all seems to trace back to this.

Their voices continue to lead the culture change within gymnastics.
Leading, and demanding change with courage, perseverance, and grit.

View attachment 7816

Yes... I agree that they have been the primary catalyst... and that's why it is I have it in as one of my 4 major points. I did not say much in that point (Safe Sport Movement)... not because it's not hugely important... but because I always get attacked whenever I do. No matter what I say... I say it wrong. So @suds thank you for saying it the right way.

Here goes...

The fact of the matter is that the general public knows little to nothing about what has happened in the world of gymnastics. If you do not believe me... start asking people. Have many people seen it in the news... yes... but most it comes off off as "glad to see that Dr. is behind bars"... not... "there is something aggressively wrong with gymnastics... about time this is starting to happen". I eluded to this when I said...

Parents should listen too.

Again though... I can't be the one to bring up the "parent" thing as I get attacked there too. Now that @Tigtimes brought us into that conversation... we can go there too.

If you look at certain other things too... how about some Gen Z athletes... Maggie Nichols... Aly Raisman... Simone Biles. Gen Z... I view as "motivated and powerful"... I'm my world... Gen Z is actually driving the Safe Sport Movement. Those athletes are all most likely affected by the virus in some way... and one of them actually hits all 4 points as she is the GOAT.

It's also very interesting to read the post by @Aussie_coach in that it is all very different globally.

So let's push this to a larger scale... isn't the culture partially pushed from the bottom of the sport... the foundation levels? Or is the elite gymnastics world (far less than 1%) really controlling everything? Isn't much of what is part of gymnastics part of every youth sport?

"American (US) youth sport culture"... not just gymnastics... that is what needs to be addressed?
 
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JBS

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Here is a thread to read... it is from 2018 but still very relevant... the conversation can definitely continue there so I have unlock the thread...


The above thread began in the below thread... then it was split off into it's own thread...

 
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mommyof1

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I am hopeful but skeptical that COVID-19 will be a catalyst for change in the sport. The cynic in me predicts that stress, uncertainty, and economics will instead drive gym owners, coaches, and parents to retreat to the old ways. The less established, more progressive gyms will go under, and the few gyms that remain will be able to be even more selective and dictatorial as families have fewer options.

Willingness to put one's child in harm's way will be an even more important test of ideological purity than it already was. We are already seeing this in society at large with the politicization of business reopenings.
 

JBS

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I am hopeful but skeptical that COVID-19 will be a catalyst for change in the sport. The cynic in me predicts that stress, uncertainty, and economics will instead drive gym owners, coaches, and parents to retreat to the old ways. The less established, more progressive gyms will go under, and the few gyms that remain will be able to be even more selective and dictatorial as families have fewer options.

Willingness to put one's child in harm's way will be an even more important test of ideological purity than it already was. We are already seeing this in society at large with the politicization of business reopenings.

Definitely agree... many will just try to find what they had.

The thing that I would argue is your use of the word "progressive"... we are seeing the more progressive gyms starting to take over in our area. The more traditional gyms... not so much. I think we may be talking about "progressive" in a different way though. How do you mean?
 

mommyof1

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Definitely agree... many will just try to find what they had.

The thing that I would argue is your use of the word "progressive"... we are seeing the more progressive gyms starting to take over in our area. The more traditional gyms... not so much. I think we may be talking about "progressive" in a different way though. How do you mean?

By "progressive," I meant the opposite of "traditional"--child-centered, focused on safety, employing evidence-based practices, positive coaching, etc. In my limited observation of a handful of gyms in our area, I've noticed one gym become more and more traditional as it grew and had less need to keep parents happy in order to keep its roster full. The gym I would classify as most progressive appears to be at the greatest risk of failure, as it is relatively new and small.
 

JBS

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By "progressive," I meant the opposite of "traditional"--child-centered, focused on safety, employing evidence-based practices, positive coaching, etc. In my limited observation of a handful of gyms in our area, I've noticed one gym become more and more traditional as it grew and had less need to keep parents happy in order to keep its roster full. The gym I would classify as most progressive appears to be at the greatest risk of failure, as it is relatively new and small.

Wow... interesting what you are seeing... the exact opposite here.

I thought that I saw this happening in several aggressive gymnastics areas... then I started hearing the recreational numbers of some of the more or less unknown clubs in these same areas... I was shocked at how large some of the numbers where at clubs that are not known "team powerhouses"... clubs that are focusing on other things.

I have also been shocked over the years at how small some clubs actually are that are "team powerhouses"... the clubs that have aggressive optional level teams and "elite" programs. Have seen quite a few of these clubs fall from power in recent years.
 
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mommyof1

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I thought that I saw this happening in several aggressive gymnastics areas... then I started hearing the recreational numbers of some of the more or less unknown clubs in these same areas... I was shocked at how large some of the numbers where at clubs that are not known "team powerhouses"... clubs that are focusing on other things.

Sadly, the opposite is true with the two gyms I described above. The one that has become more traditional has an enormous and successful rec program that does not appear to suffer from the same issues as the team program--if my kid wanted rec instead of team, I would choose that gym because the rec kids actually learn there. The one with the more positive team coaching approach does not seem to have good enrollment on the rec side, and the rec curriculum is pretty weak. There is one other local gym that better fits the model of your "team powerhouse." Rec at that gym is a neglected afterthought. They typically pull kids out of rec and onto the team track within a few weeks of enrollment.
 

Mish

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I think Gotham Gymnastics appears to be what you are describing. Of course I don't know the politics behind it, but those coaches left their highly successful program, built a new one (albeit taking most of their upper levels) and really seem to be focusing on the mind, body, nutrition, overall well being, etc. Now, I don't have first hand info, but seems to be wonderful on the outside looking in.
 
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JBS

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@Mish Some of our kids did their Quaranteam workout... it was cool.
 
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Gymx2

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What are the key things you hope to see in a cultural shift? My daughter started at a gym with extremely abusive coaching and I know how insidious it is, and the toll it takes on these kids. Obviously, we all hope the abusive coaching practices die out, but what else? I would love to see the sport less focused on little girls racing to the top, and more open to developing female athletes who can continue competing into their teens and twenties. I'd like to see things evolve to where very young girls aren't pushed to do high hours, but rather develops female gymnast with the understanding that bodies will change and the sport will work with that. I'd like to see all of the power and determination that young women can bring to a sport highlighted, over the race to get little girls to high levels, which so often seems to lead to burnout and injury. I can't tell if we're on the precipice for change within the sport or if we're facing the end of gymnastics.
 

JBS

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What are the key things you hope to see in a cultural shift?

A positive and professional environment for all.

The major problem is that there is a lack of professional education for coaches in the US. Actually... there is NO required education to be a coach. Due to the lack of education... things go the wrong quickly.

Due to the financial limitations of the industry... requiring a college degree for coaching is not a possibility. Ongoing education would be would be the perfect solution... like the trades. There should be some sort of on the job education provided by an authority that could validate the education. Does this coach understand child development... yes or no? How about leadership and management style? How about training on how to deal with angry parents? How about basic communication skills?

USA Gymnastics has at least shifted their purpose on paper... and that is a start... you have to write it down before it will happen. The US got very good at what they considered their primary purpose before. From the 2016 - 2017 R & P...
Screen Shot 2020-05-01 at 9.39.49 PM.png

And right there you have it "Win medals". Here is the link...


The new R & P is much better...
Screen Shot 2020-05-01 at 9.41.09 PM.png

That's a good start. Here's the link...


So you ask... why do these documents even matter... who even looks at them. I do... and I'm a head coach.

Alright... so it appears my job has changed... before I was supposed to conquer the world... now... I understand B... C... & D. How about "A"... I'm going to need to search for that.

Back to the question...

What are the key things you hope to see in a cultural shift?

Everyone needs to start by reading this...


Then figure out a why that it can be written knowing that gymnastics is an "early specialization" sport. In other words the ages in this document don't exactly work... but 7 year olds going 30 hours doesn't work either.

Now hockey is a "late specialization" sport... so they can follow the ADM with fewer compromises. Their version of it is here...


The culture change has to start with a plan... and the USOC says the ADM is the one we should look at as a guide. It is also attached in case the link does not work...

USOC ADM Brochure 2016 (12).pdf

Now... off to figure out "A".
 

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FlippinLilysMom

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This post is very interesting to me. I feel like my daughter has had a unique experience (and maybe it's not all that unique, just seems like it hasn't been the norm). I'm very anxious/excited/nervous to see how things in this sport will be changing. If the coaches coaching style will change, if the drive and desire of the gymnasts will change. Heck, I wonder how many will even return or if they do, how many will remain after a few weeks. This sport is going to look very different, I just hope it doesn't change so much that it becomes obsolete.