For Parents What Would You Do If....

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starmaker

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you showed up to gym two hours early to find your dd's L3 team practicing fhs, front tucks, fwo on the tumble track with no coach for about 30 minutes?


Mind you none of the girls even know or have been taught how to properly do those. I was shocked, upset etc. Mostly I was concern for some of their safety. Some were doing head dives onto mats at the end of the TT. I thought they were going to kill themselves!
I did not say anything because the coaches hate being questioned by parents and rumor has it they take it out of the girls. This gym's reputation around town is people either LOVE IT great coaches or say things like they are too tough! I personally think they suck at communicating with parents. Other than that though they really seem to produce high caliber gymnasts. The team girls seem to have a close bond and for the most part seem like happy children. This is the only real competitive gym around so for the time being I am trying to make it work and trust the coaches. I stay and watch when I can but lately haven't been able to due to camp. I ask her lots of question. And now she seems annoyed with all my questions so I've started asking her teammates!! Crazy I know! Anyways just wondering if I am over or under reacting- at this point I don't even know!?!?:confused:
 
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mariposa

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I don't think you are overreacting at all. That would freak me out as well. I have NEVER seen our girls on the floor without a coach, at any level. And I have felt my daughter was not in a safe place. I would have taken my DD home, but I am a little overprotective I think.

For any gymnast, doing things they aren't trained on and can't do safely is crazy dangerous and irresponsible. They should always be supervised, that is why we take them to gymnastics, so they can learn in a SAFE environment, not teaching themselves on the couch.

I do not envy your position given what you have said about them not liking criticism and not having other options. I hope the more experienced gym moms will have some real advice for you.

My only advice is to follow your gut. It is almost always right. I would rather have my daughter at a safe gym that was less competitive, than an unsafe gym that was more competitive, etc. It just takes one fall on her neck to maybe NEVER get to do gymnastics again, or even just SEEING a fellow gymnast get hurt like that to end any chance at doing gymnastics at any level. Just not worth it in my opinion.

Trust your instincts. You are your daughters only protection.
 

Blackie6

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YIKES! Yeah I would be mad too! Last year my DD was doing ROBHS drills down the cheese mats with one coach nearby and he wasn't paying attention to my DD (he was at another station so they were all alone doing this) and I thought she was going to break her neck! And, because she was just learning it all the repetitions doing it WRONG made it worse when her regular coaches worked w/her on the floor. I was HOT and said something to regular coach after I cooled off & she agreed with me and it never happened again.

Our girls spend time on the TT but always w/coaches there at every station. I would be concerned with introducing these skills at the lower levels though. I know many gyms train up, and girls (and parents!) are often anxious to learn new things, but safety should really come first! I know you've mentioned before at your gym the girls do often work alone for parts of the practice. I would make sure it's just for the conditioning and not skills or those coaches will be having to correct everything over and over again. Maybe the coaches didn't even know the girls were doing these alone??? Maybe they were told to do something else and you know how girls get on tramp and TT in a gym! Can you e-mail the owner since you don't want to approach the coaches?
 

mariposa

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And I have felt my daughter was not in a safe place.
Oops. Meant to say, I have NEVER felt that my daughter was not in a safe place/situation. ( I wish wish wish we could edit original posts for longer than 4 hours. :confused:)
 

Aussie_coach

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Of course this isnt appropriate, if one of these girls hurts themselves the gym is very liable, but sometimes these things do happen in a gym. The girls get excited and find it difficult to stay off the equipment before class. In most cases a fellow coach or the gym owner will jump on it straight away and tell the girls to stay off the equipment but on rare occaisions in a busy gym it can be accidently overlooked. I have kids try this on me aswell and of course I stop them before they even get to the TT but perhaps for some reason on that day the supervision was very low. If I were you I would come early again to check if this was an accidental overlooking of what the girls were doing or something that happens a lot.

My concern is what these girls were doing in the gym 2 hours early with no supervision, how does that happen? Do their parents drop them off for training several hours before their class? Do they come from another activity and just get dropped off? Do they do another class before their own? Honestly if they are stuck in the gym for 2 hours with nothing to do of course they are going to get up to something like this. They are bored, this sounds like as much a parenting issue as a coaching issue. It is unfair to expact that the coaches supervise these kids for several hours before their class is even on.

As far as doing dangerous skills though, one thing that many gymnasts have in common is that they will do these things no matter what they are told. Many of the kids on your daughters team will be throwing front tcuks and back flips on their trampolines at home, they will be throwing front handsprings in the playground at school, they will be doing head flips onto their matresses.
 
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flippymonkeysmom

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Recently I saw my dd not being coached b/c they were short coaches while she was on bars. She was working on skills she should not have been doing without a coach nearby. My decision was to go out there and take her out of practice - and a few words for the owner. Since that day it has not happened again. Coaches may not like to be questioned - but if my dd got seriously hurt because I was afraid to say something - I would never be able to live with myself.
 
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M23K's

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I'm not positive but I think Starmaker arrived 2 hours before practice ended.....not 2 hours before it started.
 
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starmaker

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My concern is what these girls were doing in the gym 2 hours early with no supervision, how does that happen? Do their parents drop them off for training several hours before their class? Do they come from another activity and just get dropped off? Do they do another class before their own? Honestly if they are stuck in the gym for 2 hours with nothing to do of course they are going to get up to something like this. They are bored, this sounds like as much a parenting issue as a coaching issue. It is unfair to expact that the coaches supervise these kids for several hours before their class is even on.

As far as doing dangerous skills though, one thing that many gymnasts have in common is that they will do these things no matter what they are told. Many of the kids on your daughters team will be throwing front tcuks and back flips on their trampolines at home, they will be throwing front handsprings in the playground at school, they will be doing head flips onto their matresses.[/quote]




I showed up to pick up dd from camp two hours early. It is definetly not a parenting issue. The team was divided into smaller groups and they were working on different stations. There were only two coaches on the floor at the time. DD's group was doing what they were told to do....front tucks and fhs.
And this morning I stayed a few minutes later to watch some conditioning. And dd was paired up with one of the morning program girls (homeschooled) an 11 yr old Level 9 and she spotted dd on five standing bhs on the floor. I was surprised! First that an 11 yr could spot and then that dd did them so well. I guess she wanted to impress her big L9 friend. DD was also happy because she just loves doing bhs and has been told not to do them by herself. In the last 9 months that we have been at this gym, I have learned that there seems to be a method to their madness. I don't understand it or even try to anymore but experience shows they know what they are doing and I haven't heard of any injuries or major mishaps. At our gym there are girls all the time on equipment with no coaches around. As a matter of fact yesterday dd was working bars with HC/Owner when she became distracted by someone showing her some letter and walked away. DD was in front support and continued her L3 routine without her. The rest of the girls were calling for Coach because dd was about to attempt the mill circle on her own and more than likely fall off the bars. I was standing there watching the whole thing and HC just thinks its ok even cute that dd is so eager and fearless. I think its cute too but to walk away leaving a five year old to do bar routine with no coach is a bit much -I think!

Anyways I guess I am just venting because nothing is going to change any time soon. It is how they run their gym. I either put up with it or leave. I am not willing to relocate at this stage of the game. So in the meantime I just try to make sure dd is happy and be her eyes and ears as much as possible.

Thank you all for all the wonderful posts. I wish there were other options...
 
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starmaker

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My concern is what these girls were doing in the gym 2 hours early with no supervision, how does that happen? Do their parents drop them off for training several hours before their class? Do they come from another activity and just get dropped off? Do they do another class before their own? Honestly if they are stuck in the gym for 2 hours with nothing to do of course they are going to get up to something like this. They are bored, this sounds like as much a parenting issue as a coaching issue. It is unfair to expact that the coaches supervise these kids for several hours before their class is even on.

As far as doing dangerous skills though, one thing that many gymnasts have in common is that they will do these things no matter what they are told. Many of the kids on your daughters team will be throwing front tcuks and back flips on their trampolines at home, they will be throwing front handsprings in the playground at school, they will be doing head flips onto their matresses.[/quote]

I showed up to pick up dd from camp two hours early. It is definetly not a parenting issue. The team was divided into smaller groups and they were working on different stations. There were only two coaches on the floor at the time. DD's group was doing what they were told to do....front tucks and fhs.
And this morning I stayed a few minutes later to watch some conditioning. And dd was paired up with one of the morning program girls (homeschooled) an 11 yr old Level 9 and she spotted dd on five standing bhs on the floor. I was surprised! First that an 11 yr could spot and then that dd did them so well. I guess she wanted to impress her big L9 friend. DD was also happy because she just loves doing bhs and has been told not to do them by herself. In the last 9 months that we have been at this gym, I have learned that there seems to be a method to their madness. I don't understand it or even try to anymore but experience shows they know what they are doing and I haven't heard of any injuries or major mishaps. At our gym there are girls all the time on equipment with no coaches around. As a matter of fact yesterday dd was working bars with HC/Owner when she became distracted by someone showing her some letter. DD was in front support and continued her L3 routine without her. The rest of the girls were calling for Coach because dd was about to attempt the mill circle on her own and more than likely fall off the bars. I was standing there watching the whole thing and HC just thinks its ok even cute that dd is so eager and fearless. I think its cute too but to walk away leaving a five year old to do bar routine with no coach is a bit much -I think!

Anyways I guess I am just venting because nothing is going to change any time soon. It is how they run this gym. I either put up with it or leave. I am not willing to relocate at this stage of the game.
 

gym law mom

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This is the same gym that has all the girls come in and do conditioning for an hour with no coach? I guess you shouldn't be surprised at them leaving L3s to their own innocent devices for 30 minutes on a TT. I sure wouldn't want to be their lawyer or handle their general liability policy. Their set up is not one where an injury might occur, its when it will. Their "madness" could be a catastrophic injury for some child.

The skills the girls in your dd's group were doing on TT were dangerous for them since you said they really haven't even been taught how to do them. Front tumbling is tough and I'm sure these young ones were trying the best they could to do what they've seen the older girls do. Why no coach???? I would have pulled my child out then and there and if the owner or another coach asked why, I would have told them. You are paying for your dd to be taught in a safe enviornment---the gym is sure not meeting its end of the agreement.

My gymmie just turned 12 and will most likely compete as a L8. Would I feel comfortable about her spotting a 5 yo on bhs? No. She's a smart kid and pretty good gymnast, but its not her job to spot and she's not a coach. She would feel awful if a little one she was spotting got hurt. Yes, our teams condition together---with coaches on the floor watching and correcting.

I can guarantee you kids have been injured in this gym---you just haven't heard about it or they left. What their "selling" point is the few that survive in this program and achieve some national success. We came from a gym like that(there was coaching supervision though) and while they would point out this girl that just made elite or that one that got a scholarship, they failed to mention all the girls that left while still on pre-team or as a compulsory.

To me, it comes down to, would you drop dd at a school to be told she and classmates would be taught/supervised by some older students for an hour or would be left to their own devices on the playground for 30 minutes? Doubt it. So, why let a gym get away with it?
 

Jeanine3kids

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Jun 26, 2008
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This all sounds like a law suit waiting to happen. Starmaker your daughter sounds very talented I would hate to see her get injured at such a young age and have a promising career come to an end because of careless coaches. Leaving a 5 year old on the bars alone that is crazy. I would pull my dd right out of there. Do you live in a big city? There must be other Gyms around I would start looking.
 

Blackie6

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I agree with Gymlawmom,

I hadn't even thought about how an injury might occur with another gymnast doing the spotting...that is just wrong! The gym does sound alot like it takes the "survival of the fittest" approach.

Maybe this is question for the coaches forum, but is there any reason why level 3's would be working these skills? Talented kids at an early age will still be talented a little older no? Is there any reason why a gym would rush such little ones when they can't even compete yet?
 
Jan 22, 2008
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Here are my questions.

1. Are these girls there for open gym prior to the practice?
2. Does your gym have any rules about staying off equipment unless you are there for open gym till a coach come in.

Our gym is you can not do open gym with out a coach unless you are on team l4 or up and you have to be over a certain age. Also before practice the girls are only allowed to begin warm up right at the time of practice if a coach is not there. Meaning running and head circles. that kind of thing. Our coach will make the girls RUN FOREVER if they are caught on equipment working like that with no coach supervision.

They are very strict about saftey and such. I would personally ask for clarification about the rules prior to the start of practice. That is just me. It is funny seeing the ones that have been around for a while sitting on the floor waitng for practice and the ones that have not been around so long on tumble track and such. It all changes when the coach finds them and they are all running 10-15 laps around the gym as a result.
 
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Billy

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The girls at our gym are allowed to "play" a little before practice. They can only be on the tumble track or jumping into the pit but they certainly do handsprings, tucks, etc. both on the TT and into the pit. Then again, they are all L4 and up, too, so that probably makes a difference.
 

Ingymmom

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Jul 12, 2007
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:confused: I have to agree with many of the other parents here... aside from what has already been said - which have been some very important points, what are these coaches being paid for? Why are they even there? I know there are many programs where girls condition with a higher level teammate, or buddy up with another gymnast for handstand holds, sit ups etc., that is no problem to me... it creates team camaraderie, and can be an honor for the little girls, but I have never ever heard of and would never ever tolerate my child being spotted for back tumbling (or any tumbling) by a teammate. That is positively ludicrous, so very wrong!

The same goes for the original post, my gymmie probably would have done those skills or played around on the TT trying something new at an open gym, but this was in the middle of class. Again, where are the coaches? The fact that you feel that you or your dd may be punished by questioning these issues is so disconcerting starmaker. Please don't forget this is your child, your money, your child, a huge possible long term commitment, your child! There is a happy medium to great training - + this is your child! I respect that you vented rather then running to management/coaches/owner to complain. In gymnastics you really have to pick and choose your battles and frustrations - there will be many, many, many along the way... did I say many? MANY LOL, this IMHO is definitely one worth addressing. Just think about it…. N
 
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starmaker

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Thank you Ingymmom. I have thought about it and I am going to talk to HC about the lack of supervision and coaching that happens during class. There are also other issues that have come up. I just hate confrontations and try to avoid them at all cost. But like many of you have said this is definetly the time I HAVE to do it -for my child. I've tried to stay open minded and trust that they know better. I have stayed and observed many classes over serveral months and have never seen anything too shocking. The coaches may have been spread thin but it was all covered. They sometimes combine classes. And somehow it works. Many of the girls say HC has eyes behind her head and microphones on the equipment. HC really is an amazing coach I just think she is too tired! She needs a break. There are 3 regular team coaches and they are coaching from 9 am till 8 pm. CRAZY! :eek:

There is no open gym at our gym. Gym is pretty much in session all day, every day except sundays, christmas and new years- thats it! At our gym, girls are instructed to spread out, pick an equipment and start. The girls have alot of control over their training-as far as what to do, when to do it, and even how many conditioning sessions to do in a day. I do believe HC knows exactly who is doing what, though. She is a very sharp, keen woman.

The closest gym to us worth considering is Bieger Gymnastics and its 2 hrs away. That would require relocation with gas prices the way they are.-lol
It is just way too far! There is nothing in Miami. Can you believe that! Gymnastics isn't big here. OrlandoMetro is 4 hours away that would of been a great option. I guess more will be revealled...
 

gym law mom

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Don't go into this meeting with the hc feeling that its got to be confrontational. Just simply say there are some concerns from your parent point of view that need to be discussed. If it seems like she is rather busy, then set up a time when she's not. Very tough to really talk with someone when they're tired, looking at their watch, others are standing there waiting to talk etc.

Sounds like the coaches are spread way too thin and while the hc may indeed see all and know all, that doesn't help your dd and her friends who were left on their own on the TT for 30 minutes trying tumbling they didn't know how to do.

Giving older girls a little choice over what to do in conditioning/drills etc. may be ok, but for younger ones, they do need some structure and direction. As dedicated as my gymmie is, I know beam would be the last thing she would work on, while you could count on her vaulting her brains out and swinging bars all day long.

A tired coach or one trying to watch too many kids is as big a risk as no coach at all. There is just so much they can physically do. Your priority is your dd and her welfare and as long as you approach the hc that way, there shouldn't be hard feelings on her part. If there are, then you know you are in the wrong place.
 
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