Welcome to our Gymnastics Community
Wanting to join the rest of our members? Feel free to sign up today.
Sign up

What if your gym hired an abusive coach?

If my kid’s gym hired a known abusive coach, I’d...

  • Immediately leave.

    Votes: 44 84.6%
  • Wait and see what happened.

    Votes: 8 15.4%
  • Stay.

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    52
Status
Not open for further replies.

stillhoping

Member
Proud Parent
Nov 18, 2016
123
Country
USA
What would you do if your gym hired coaches with a known history of abuse? This happened at our gym. By known history, I mean you can google the coaches’ names and read multiple legitimate news articles. They are Geddert-type abusers.

Without googling the coaches’ names or really listening to your kids about what’s going on in the gym, I’m not sure how the parents would know. Maybe they don’t care? The newly-hired coaches have been seen coaching at meets, so they must have recently gotten USAG certified, despite their past. I’m sure that shocks no one.

So, would you google the new coaches’ history? If you found a history of abuse, would you instantly leave? Would you stay? Should you warn people when there’s a history of abuse? Expect them to figure it out on their own?

We left, alone with a couple of others. Most stayed. No one broadcasted why they left.
 

amiandjim

Active Member
Proud Parent
Former Gymnast
Apr 18, 2015
1,461
42
Country
USA
If they had a known history that’s well documented, I would absolutely leave. However, I would be tempted to call a meeting with the gym owner and other parents to discuss the issue first, especially if I was happy with the gym beforehand. I would give the owner the chance to explain why they hired said coaches and ask if there was a plan in place to change their behavior. Also, I would be tempted to contact Safesport and question how these coaches are still able to be USAG members.
 

LindyHopper

Active Member
Proud Parent
May 25, 2016
813
Country
USA
Lots of factors here...

Is the abusive coach the head coach, or an assistant coach?

If it is head coach, I would probably meet with owners to find out why old head coach is gone and why new head coach was hired. Chances are, no reason would be good enough and we would leave.

If assistant coach, I would wait and see if head coach can rein assistant coach in. If I hear or see anything that strikes me as "off" I would ask for a meeting with the head coach AND owner. I would explain my concerns about what I had seen or heard, as well as mentioning the coach's reputation. I would ask how they planned on dealing with it. I would also express how the physical, emotional, and mental health of my child was paramount to any decisions I made about her gymnastics. Then if I didn't see any improvement, we would leave.
 

amiandjim

Active Member
Proud Parent
Former Gymnast
Apr 18, 2015
1,461
42
Country
USA
I mean, I can only think of one couple that are both coaches that are very widely known for abuse and have been let go from a couple jobs related to this abuse. If this is the couple you are referring to, I would absolutely RUN the other way.
 

LindyHopper

Active Member
Proud Parent
May 25, 2016
813
Country
USA
I mean, I can only think of one couple that are both coaches that are very widely known for abuse and have been let go from a couple jobs related to this abuse. If this is the couple you are referring to, I would absolutely RUN the other way.
This has me thinking I might know who you're talking about. And aren't they known for being rather adept at hiding their abuse from the powers that be?
 

amiandjim

Active Member
Proud Parent
Former Gymnast
Apr 18, 2015
1,461
42
Country
USA
This has me thinking I might know who you're talking about. And aren't they known for being rather adept at hiding their abuse from the powers that be?
Yes, they are. However, if it is this couple, there are a TON of articles regarding their behavior and frankly, I would be completely disgusted if a gym owner hired them, especially given the state of gymnastics in this country right now.
 

ldw4mlo

Well-Known Member
Proud Parent
Feb 13, 2015
5,394
59
Country
USA
A leopard doesn’t change their spots. I would have a meeting with the owners and peers that be with whatever information I had. Ask for an explanation.

And to let them know as a parent I won’t tolerate it.

But then I would also, already have my plan B and C in place before that conversation even took place.
 

Taxidriver

Member
Proud Parent
Sep 25, 2016
220
Country
United Kingdom
If they had a well documented history of abuse, and I mean abuse not tough coaches or a different coaching style but actual abuse, I would leave immediately, I might chat with the gym owners however if their abuse is well documented I don’t think anything the gym owners would or could say would make me stay as I would be concerned why any gym owner would employ new coaches who have a history of abuse especially in the current climate!
Even if the abuse hasn’t been proved but only allegations I still don’t think I would stay as I would expect the gym owners to air on the side of caution.
It would be a huge red flag for me.
 

John

Active Member
Proud Parent
May 5, 2017
1,569
51
Country
USA
If culture is to change someone has to be brave and stand up and not be afraid to protect children. There is no what if for me. I would speak up. I would have zero fear if I had already left and found a new gym.

I would print multiple copies of the articles spoken about and distribute them at the gym where these coaches are now working.
 

stillhoping

Member
Proud Parent
Nov 18, 2016
123
Country
USA
If culture is to change someone has to be brave and stand up and not be afraid to protect children. There is no what if for me. I would speak up. I would have zero fear if I had already left and found a new gym.

I would print multiple copies of the articles spoken about and distribute them at the gym where these coaches are now working.
Anyone could do the internet equivalent of this and post online. I think putting flyers on the cars in their video-monitored parking lot might be trespassing.
 

ldw4mlo

Well-Known Member
Proud Parent
Feb 13, 2015
5,394
59
Country
USA
Anyone could do the internet equivalent of this and post online. I think putting flyers on the cars in their video-monitored parking lot might be trespassing.
I missed where he said he would put them on cars. And if his kid was on team at the gym it wouldn’t be trespassing.
 
  • Like
Reactions: stillhoping

stillhoping

Member
Proud Parent
Nov 18, 2016
123
Country
USA

donoharm

New Member
Proud Parent
Jan 21, 2018
13
60
Country
USA
I mean, I can only think of one couple that are both coaches that are very widely known for abuse and have been let go from a couple jobs related to this abuse. If this is the couple you are referring to, I would absolutely RUN the other way.
I will say there is a ton of debate about the situation on other message boards over the years and many articles one can Google. The one thing I feel is important to note is there were always a few folks very willing to dispel the accusations and concerns but then there was the 1400+signature petition with tons of comments from people who tried to urge the school involved to allow for independent investigation to take place. That is where I would look for information. People have to decide for themselves. I believe the club owner has ties to the college that was involved and may even have ties to other NCAA coaches who were willing to stand by the coaches in question. Again, I would do my homework and read, read, read. I'd also keep in mind not every abuser abuses every person they have access to. No two people have the exact same experience so it's hard to get by with the "I had a greeat experience with them so it's your fault if you didn't" kind of rhetoric. I wish all you parents the best. I wish this information was abundantly out there when my daughter was making college choices. I think our personal hardship might have been spared.
 

Faith

Coach
Coach
Proud Parent
Former Gymnast
Aug 17, 2011
2,123
Country
United Kingdom
I didn’t know the coach was abusive when they arrived. Foreign coach, not known well in this country.

It was a boil the frog situation. They started slow. Once they had the kids they wanted in their group (not mine) the heat turned up, until suddenly we realised they were training more than everyone else, were throwing other kids off the apparatus, even higher level ones. Then i heard them calling kids sh*t, fat, useless, waste of time etc.

I took my kid out. Four years later their progress is incredible, they’ve pretty much gone from level 4 to elite, at the expense of every other kid there. But I hear their training sessions are miserable, lots of tears, and they are starting with injuries (inc. spondy).

If they had a well documented history of abuse, and I mean abuse not tough coaches or a different coaching style but actual abuse..
This is the issue though. Where is the line between abuse and tough coaching. I called it abuse, i’ve been in gymnastics many many years and experienced all sorts of coaching styles.

The kids who are still there call it tough. They are putting in so many hours, and think that is what it takes. They think a coach refusing to let them leave until they do x skill is what gets results. And they are getting the results at the moment. If they are told they’re sh*t it’s because they are, and to win competitions they need to train more and harder. And this makes it difficult to report. Especially when the person i report these issues to is the same person on the ngb that is selecting them for national squads and comps...

I don’t think in this day and age there is even much place for “tough”. There are other ways.
 

Taxidriver

Member
Proud Parent
Sep 25, 2016
220
Country
United Kingdom
This is the issue though. Where is the line between abuse and tough coaching. I called it abuse, i’ve been in gymnastics many many years and experienced all sorts of coaching styles.
Ok to clarify what I meant was if it tough coaching I might stick around a bit longer to see but abuse and I would be gone.
I guess it depends on your definition on tough and abuse what you describe I would consider abuse, I consider my dd coaches as tough and as in they expect them to work hard and remain focused and strive for perfection and get given a lot of corrections, they don’t get tons of praise but they do get praised from time to time. However they are never humiliated or told they are rubbish.
When at competitions they are amazing no matter how badly they do (my dd has forgotten whole routines in the past) they always praise what went well.

My mantra is if I wouldn’t find it acceptable for a family member, family friend, teacher or anyone else to treat my dd that way then why would I find it acceptable for a gym coach.
 

amiandjim

Active Member
Proud Parent
Former Gymnast
Apr 18, 2015
1,461
42
Country
USA
This is not tough coaching. I have no problem with tough coaching.The allegations against these coaches include mocking athletes about weight, forcing them to train on injuries, making inappropriate comments about their bodies and personal lives, and on and on. I mean, 8 athletes left a collegiate gymnastics team. 8!!
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Similar threads