What would you do?

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cher062

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Ok this may get long but I would appreciate a coaches point of view on this - this is the first time this group of girls had this type of drama. The girls involved are about 11yo

Last night when DD got back from practice she and Hubby couldn't wait to tell me of the DRAMA that happened at the gym that night. Now my DD wasn't part of this DRAMA except for the fact she was in attendance at the gym when it happened.

:mad:Ok lets see once the good weather comes the girls are supposed to have sneakers to run outside around the building to warm up. A few girls seemed to have forgotten their sneakers and had to run inside (these girls always seem to forget - I don't think they want to run outside) so one of the coaches had to stay inside with these girls. The rest of the girls went outside with the other team coach. The 3rd team coach doesn't join in until about an hour after team warm ups as she is running a rec class at that time.

Ok the outside coach stands near the entrance to watch the girls run well some of the girls I guess when they got out of site of the coach walked instead of running and This coach has set up the girls to be tattletales. If they see someone not running they are supposed to tell the coach as they pass her so she can add extra laps on. I don't like that at all!! Well 3 of the girls kept walking on the far side of the building and one of the girls (I'll call her Jane) Told the coach so they got extra laps to run - so now the set up for the drama is done.

They went inside to do warm up circuit and the 3 girls who weren't running all the time now are telling the coaches that Jane is cheating on her circuit warm ups and only doing 1/2 the number of things she should have done. Coach gave Jane extra to do.

Break time comes and Jane gets her cell phone out and texts some hurtful nonsense to a girl that left our gym and went to another gym last month about the 3 girls and shows the text to all but the 3. Jane puts cell away only to have one of the 3 girls go and get Jane's cell phone and look at the message. Needless to say this caused a major conflict in the break area.

When parents arrived to pick up the coach had a parent meeting to say NO Cell phones will be allowed in the possession of ANY gymnast from this point forward. Any one with a cell phone will have their phone confiscated and parents will need to pick up at the start of the next morning when the office is open next. The whole incident was conveyed to the parents.

When hubby told me it made me want to say something to the owners.

I don't like the fact that there are girls inside running because they conveniently "forget" their sneakers which they are supposed to bring since Mid April. And nothing was said to these parents.

I don't like the idea that the coach has the girls being the informants on girls not doing their work.

I LOVE the fact that cell phones are now not allowed to be brought in by the gymnasts. Honestly I know lots of kids have them but I really feel they really don't need them. One parent (Janes mom) was up in arms about this because she calls at least 3 times in the 4 hours her girl is at the gym and if the girl doesn't call back at break mom gets mad. Give me a break . You left your kid at the gym to practice what could be so important that you can't wait until you pickup your kid.

I don't like the fact that the coach chastised the parents and said its not her job to babysit and deal with these issues. Ok now I know the girls are supposed to be there doing gym and all but you have a group of hormonal pre-teens (11 yo - 13 yo) at the gym 4 days a week for 16 - 20 hours a week. This doesn't include the private times. These issues are going to happen and they will happen at the gym simply because of all the time they spend in the gym. they don't want the parent to hang out more than 15 min at the start of the practice and arrive no more than 15 min before class ends. So someone has to deal with these issues if we aren't there.


Lastly I don't like the fact that nothing was said about being a good team mate means supporting each other not texting bad stuff to others at different gyms. Nothing about team spirit and how the girls should stick together etc. And nothing was said about how they are going to resolve the tattling issue (I'm sure they don't see that as an issue). I also don't like the fact that nothing was said about not going into another's locker and touching stuff that isn't yours.

I think the whole issue could have been avoided if both coaches were outside with them on opposite corners of the building so each could see 2 sides of the building and the "everyone needs sneakers" was enforced. How about inconveniencing the parents have a coach in the entrance and grab the parents before they leave to see if DD has her sneakers if not then the need to take DD with them to go get the sneakers - no practice until they get them. Once that happens a few times you know the parents will make sure they bring them. Also I think it could have been avoided if the coaches didn't encourage the tattling/spying on each other as well.

Ok god bless you if you made it this far but I really would like your input on what you would have done and should I just let it drop at this point or bring up my concerns to the owner.
 
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marie83

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Just want to pick out a couple of things...

Re Cell phones - I think that the gymnasts should be allowed them, if the parents truly believe they need to have them with them. However, I also think that they should be kept in the office until the end of the session.
At our club, the only people allowed to have phones in the gym are the head coaches of each session, and that is only because we don't have a land line and need an emergency phone.
The gymnasts leave all their phones in their bags, which are locked away in the changing room until the end of the session.
Gymnasts have no reason to go into the changing room during the session as their handguard bags are left by the bars and their drinks are left at the drinks station.
If they do need to get into the changing room, they must ask the head coach to open it for them.

To be honest, I don't see why gymnasts need to have their phones at gym, but some parents like them to have them!

QUOTE
I don't like the idea that the coach has the girls being the informants on girls not doing their work.

I agree. This is a horrible method of coaching and one employed by younger coaches a lot.
If my gymnasts 'tell' on someone else for not doing their conditioning I explain to them that their job is to get on and do their own conditioning properly. If someone else doesn't want to do their conditioning properly, then they are the ones who will fall behind. I find this works quite well as it makes the gymnasts try to prove to me that they want to work hard.
If I spot anyone not working hard, I have a quiet word with them and explain why it is important that they work harder. I NEVER give out more conditioning as punishment as I believe it is important that the gymnasts enjoy it (as much as possible) and don't associate it with punishment.

I think you should have a word with the coach and explain why you weren't happy. I am sure that they will appreciate it in the long run. I know I would!

Does your club have a 'code of conduct' for its gymnasts, coaches and parents? If not it might be something to suggest. If the gymnasts have some input too, they might be more willing to follow the rules!
 

Linsul

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Sep 19, 2008
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Wow talk about conflict in more ways than one! Don't get frustrated trying to apply logic to this situation, there is none. Lemme see if I got this straight:

Girls work out 16-20 hours a week

Parents drop off/pick up at the first and last 15 minutes, yet are responsible for what occurs in between that time frame

No cell phones are allowed, consequences if that rule is broken

Girls are expected to have items for workout, no consequence if forgotten

Locker space isn't respected as private/personal in regards to team mates

Tattling is an accepted and encouraged tactic at the gym


If you go to the owner or HC I'd come at them with the 'responsibility' ball the coach(es) threw in your court. Okay, you are now responsible, great! If that's the case the rules need to change to allow you all some accountability with this new revelation. I propose the following changes to ease you guys into your new roles!

Parents can stay the entire workout, after all, you are responsible now and need to be present.

No cell phones allowed, awesome because parents are there anyway if something happens. Consequence if one is found is that they hand it over to you.

Items required for workout will be brought, or the parents have to go and get them. If this isn't possible, they can take on the gymnasts task provided they wore the appropriate footwear.

Locker space that isn't being respected anyway can be turned into a extension of the pro shop, more lobby space, whatever. They won't need it with mom and/or dad there to hold everything and a restroom to change in.

Tattling to coaches banned, you guys are there as the responsible party and should be informed first of reluctance to workout, nasty texts, etc.


If this seems ridiculous to HC/Owner, explain how devoid of logic the current rules are. You guys are getting handed a no win situation with things as they stand. You are shut out of practice per the rules of the gym. Fine, great even, but that implies that the coaches are taking on responsibility for the girls well being and actions during that time frame. Provided the parents actually spend 15 before and after in the gym for anything that needs to be discussed. If they're doing the curbside drop off/pick up act then that nuetralizes a coach who then has to stalk them to talk or leave practice to use the phone. 15 min before and after should be required, not optional, to handle anything that comes up where parents are concerned.

I don't like the cell phones not being allowed. Some girls drive themselves to practice, they should have a phone. They could leave it in their car, but it's usually tossed into their gym bag. If a kid gets hurt, there's the gym phone, but having their cell is a measure of comfort should they have to go to the hospital or whatever. It also keeps them in touch with their non gym friends during breaks at the gym. It should be left in the locker room and turned off for when it's not appropriate, but having one I don't think should be such a big deal that it gets taken away unless it's attached to them during workout.

Locker space being private seems to me to be a given, but maybe the kids don't know better and see it as a community area. If lockers aren't assigned, I'd ask for them to be. I doubt the team would go through each others dressers and drawers at each others homes, the same logic should be applied to their personal space at the gym.

I would rail on the tattling as a trait you aren't paying for them to learn or rely on. They are there for a team experience, not a jailhouse one. Supporting one another and getting along aren't learned through such a blatant tool of manipulation or retaliation. If anything, the girls will get close simply because they are trying so hard to shut the coaches out. Not ideal. If the coaches can't supervise an activity from beginning to end, get rid of it. Turning the girls on one another just encourages petty, hurtful, dramatic behavior where cliques rule and matter more than the athletic.
 
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cher062

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The cell phone for girls who drive them selves I agree but the oldest girl we have just turned 13 and the office allows the girls to use the office phone anytime
 

KAQuinlan

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Mar 6, 2009
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Linsul, your post made me chuckle! I appreciate your logic, matter-of-fact tone, and wit :)

cher062, you made some really good points in your post. As others said, you should talk to the head coach about your concerns. If you are uncomfortable doing that, write it out in a manner that is respectful, yet logical, and shows both concern and a confidence that the coaches want the best for the gymnasts. Try to assume that the coaches are trying the best that they can. I like linsul's comment about the parents staying for practice if they are responsible for their gymnast during that time. That is unreasonable, of course, for the parents and the gym, and would probably demonstrate it well to the coaches.

I agree with the no cell-phone policy for anyone not driving. During break they should be enjoying the team friendships. That's the best time for building those friendships since the rest of the time they should be busy practicing.

Our policy on drama between the girls is to work it out or condition and go home -- practice over. I really can't recall any such drama, though. I believe that the coaches in your circumstance set themselves up for it by setting the girls against each other to begin with.

I don't know why they really need to run outside. If running inside is equally as effective (what the coaches essentially said by making them run inside), they might as well run inside. Our team does a few beach runs every summer, but that is because you build up a lot of muscles trying to run on the shifting sand. Anyone who forgets their shoes is sent home to get them, then has to run extra! Of course, if the coaches really want to run outside, then as you said, they need to enforce the rule. Those girls should either be sent home or have to call mom to bring the shoes and do extra laps. Mom should not be the only one to have a consequence for the gymnast's irresponsibility.

I could probably say more, but I think that you're already getting much good advice. I would just really encourage you to talk to the head coach. If he/she is unreceptive go to the manager or owner. Keep going up the line until someone hears and receives your issues. If no one will, it may be time to find a new gym because they are not teaching the girls to be good athletes. They may be teaching good gymnastics, but there is more to it that skill and form.
 

gymnafreak

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Nov 29, 2008
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Minn eee sooo ta! :)
At my gym, we had major, major drama issues both in the coaches department and the gymnasts. We had the same exact thing happen with the cell phones. We could bring them to practice but we had to keep them in a plastic tub in the office for the whole practice and we couldn't use them during practice. Unfortunately, nobody follows through on stuff at my gym so we don't do this any more.
 
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taximom

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I think you've already gotten alot of input. I loved Linsul's wit and doesn't makes sense approach.

At our gym the girls run outside in the community but the coach runs with them, it gives the girls an example of life long fitness and then the coach knows who is running and who is walking for herself. As for the shoes locker space is provided, so I would recommend that girls who forget their running shoes be required to keep a pair at the gym in their locker as part of their gym equipment.

The tattling thing just doesn't makes any sense. It puts teamates against each other and sets up an unhealthy training environment. If you cheat on your drills and conditioning it will be you who is affected. Reward the hardworkers and let the coaches step in and address the others.

Cell phones - They really have no place where girls are changing etc. As we see here girls at this age are still children and often make impulsive emotional decisions. Here at home they have been banned due to the cameras from arena and local ymca facilities changerooms for this reason. Enforceable probably not. I imagine this is more of a liability scenario.

We also have a code of conduct for coaches, athletes, and parents in our gym and I expect that we all commit and follow it. It gives something concrete to go to when situatrions do arise. But be prepared to hear I wasn't aware of that....

Good luck to both you and you DD sounds like there may be bumpy ground ahead.
 
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cher062

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once the good weather comes all the boys, girls, pre teams and Prep Op teams all do their runs outside. The main reason we were given when they first started to run outside a few years ago is the gym also has some full rec classes too and the run outside when good weather comes frees up some space.
 

gym law mom

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Ok, guess I'll weigh in. Our gym does 1 mile runs during the summer. They run to/from a local park and sometimes stay there to do conditioning. Like your gym the girls are told to have good running shoes at the gym during this time of year. I don't know of any consequence for not having shoes----the team girls all have lockers and just keep them in there. When they go running, 2 coaches always go---usually 1 in the front and 1 bringing up the rear. If a girl can't run because of injury then she stays behind and does conditioning that is allowed(there is always a coach in the gym while the girl/s are doing this).

There is no "tattle" rule and I think that is not a good idea at all. The older girls tend to "police" things when doing conditioning. There are 1 or 2 girls that try and cheat on conditioning and the older girls call them out on it. I think thats more productive than running to a coach. Most times though a coach is around and if they see a few taking liberties with conditioning they will pay extra attention to them.

As far as cell phones. The girls are allowed to have them, but they are kept in their lockers. They are not allowed to use them during practice. So, why have them? Nodody works the front desk after 7pm, so if a parent needs to let a gymmie know they'll be a little late coming to get them etc. there is no way to get a message to the girl. Most kids check their cells right after practice if they don't see their parents. Also, we have 1 coach in particular that likes to "coach" beam while leaning back and talking on her cell----pretty hard to tell the kids not to have them.
 

Aussie_coach

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Well, you are right when you have a group of naturally competitive 11-13 year olds training together in a sport where they compete against each other 16-20 hours a week. Drama will be expected. would be more worried if there was no drama. This is normal stuff for this age group.

I don't think encourgaing the tattling is too big an issue. Our kids all tell on each other too, but 10 minutes later they are the best of friends. You want the girls to feel comfortable coming to the coaches if there are any issue's with the other girls and not be afraid to tattle. because within this age group bullying is very common. You dont want your kids to be afraid to come forward when that happens. Also this is the age where kids experiment with things like stealing and so on at times. So perhaps encouraging them to come to the coach for small issue's will one day mean they feel comfortable when there are big issue's.

I don't think its nessesary to stop the girls having cell phones, I think it is important to teach cell phone ettiquette. Adults can be as much to blame for this. When cell phones first came out people were very good at understanding the ettiquette. Adults would turn them off or put them on silent when in the movies, attending a class, watching their kids recital and so on.

I've noticed that adults have slipped significantly in this area. They will be in a conversation with someone and their phone will ring and they will run off to answer it. Coaches leaving their phones on during class and even if they aren't answering them they are ringing quite loudly. Students in adult classes running off to answer them. People checking their phones during drink breaks.

Kids will always have cell phones with them at training. The rule that they aren't allowed is generally more to encourage kids to hide them. Here in Australia cell phones aren't allowed in high schools. If they are caught with a cell phone it is often an automatic 2 day suspension. Of course every kid has one in their bag. But in order to hide it they will put it on silent during class, and they wont check their text messages in the middle of maths. I am sure the same will happen in the gym.

The issue that bothers me the most is the idea that they went and got her phone and looked at the messages. This is a complete violation of privacy and I hope those girls got some sort of consequence for doing that and a serious talking to about it.
 
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BlairBob

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It is not cool for the kids to tattle, especially in a boy's group. Conversely, this is how we seperate the "men" from the boys. It's also not cool when they tattle on their coach when he throws pit blocks at the girls and they don't know who it is.

Honestly, am I the only one here wondering why they are running? WTH, we're training gymnasts not runners. Completely different modalaties. Sure some running is ok, the kids find it fun, but all in all it's pretty useless for a gymnast. If we're trying to make them run to lose weight, that's more of a diet issue than how much exercise we throw at them.

I don't like the idea of running outside of the gym due to safety concerns. I don't trust kids to not be stupid, especially boys.
 
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cher062

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Ok spoke to the Owner Friday. He was very understanding. I explained that I needed to talk to him regarding the drama on Wed night. I told him that when DD explained what happened she said that if they see someone not doing their work that they are supposed to let the coach know. I told Owner I don't like the tattling policy and explained that I think it sets the girls against each other and doesn't promote team spirit at all. Also if that was not in place the whole texting issue could have been avoided (for now at least) I also let him know that i felt that both coaches should be outside so they can observe the whole run course and also avoid the girls not doing the run.

I went into a lot more details but you get the idea.

His response was that he was not aware of the details that caused the texting issue and he was not aware that the HC had this policy of the girls letting her know if someone wasn't doing their conditioning. He agreed that if girls at this age don't do the work it will show in their lack of gymnastics. He also said he is going to discuss this with the HC and that the tattling will not be allowed.

He also was unaware that there were still girls not bringing their sneakers and agreed that was an issue as well that contributed to the drama and that he will address this with a parent letter.

Some background - We (and many of the gyms in the area) usually don't have girls in the teen years on team because the High Schools in our area have gym teams and most will tryout and make those teams. So by the time they hit level 7 or 8 they will do high school gym. This is the first year in a while that they have had a large group of 11 - 13 yo girls at the optional level.

So I mentioned to the owner too that these "girls" aren't little girls anymore and are in their hormonal years or as I refer to it as the Cybil years. And that perhaps he also need to review with the HC and the other coaches that the methods used on a 6yo just don't work on a pre-teen or teen girls. Also that because they are all hormonal there is going to be alot more Drama to come and they might consider having an Optional Team meeting with the girls to explain what they are going to expect now that they are young women and team mates.

he agreed and is planning this for next Sat when its just these girls practicing in the gym. He said too that he is going to plan for an optional team parent meeting too to basilcy touch on the same thing and make sure everyone is on the same page as the girls move forward.

He was very glad I brought this to his attention as he wants the girls to have a positive experience and lots of team spirit between the team members.

He also let me know they have also hired a new Optional team HC who will be starting sometime in June. Didn't even know they were looking for a new coach for this group. The current HC has only trained up to L7 (owner said this could also be a factor in some of the issues starting to come up) and now we have L8 and L9 girls too. He said the Current HC had asked to just work with the Compulsory girls as she is more comfortable with training the younger girls. OK seems to be another issue with this coach that i think is contributing to the dramas.

We met new coach this Saturday (day after I spoke with owner) She came in for a meet and greet with the optional team and stay for the practice. All I can say is WOW!! She has been training Optional and Elite gymnasts for 10 years and she is good from what I can see only time will tell on this. She stayed for the whole practice on Sat and the parents were allowed to stay and watch and see this new coach (of course I stayed and watched). She is so good with the girls and my DD said she really like her alot and so did her friends. So hopefully some of the drama will be missed with this new coach.

So..... hopefully some issues will be resolved with this new coach.
 
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NOG

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Wow! Sounds like a very productive meeting. I'm so glad that the meeting with owner worked out so well. Sounds like you have an owner that really cares about the program and is open to ideas on how to make it better. The new optional coach sounds fantastic also. I hope that all works out well with both the new HC and with the current gymmie issues. Good luck and let us know how it goes.
 

bogwoppit

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Nice, it is wonderful that you got such a great response from the owner. Always pays to talk to the gym even though it can be intimidating at times.
 

gymjourneymom

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Good communication is a wonderful thing!!!:D Does sounds like it was a very productive discussion. Hope the situation at your gym improves as a result. Wishing you & DD much less drama in the future:).
 
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