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Where’s the line?

Discussion in 'Men's Artistic Gymnastics (MAG)' started by ArmyMom, May 26, 2018.

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  1. I am curious of people’s opinions.... where do you think the line is between a Tough (we can even say mean) Coach and a verbally/emotionally abusive coach. I know what my thoughts are but I am curious what everyone else says.... what crosses a tough coach over into feeling they are verbally/emotionally abusing an athlete?
  2. We have had a lot of discussion of that in light of revelations about Geddert. I think most people around here have no problem with coaches who enforce rules, especially those concerning safety. I doubt anyone would have a problem with a coach who sat a kid out for doing something intentional that could cause injury to himself or another athlete. I guess I could just give a list of things I think cross the line:
    • humiliating/belitting
    • punishing a child for fear
    • punishing a child for missing a skill when the child is attentive and trying
    • disproportionate reaction (minor offense, major punishment)
    • using verbal raging as a means of control
    • assigning excessive conditioning for misbehavior
    • undermining the relationship of trust, i.e., saying you will spot and then not spotting

    A few things that would not for me:
    • occasionally losing one's temper
    • becoming frustrated when boys are fooling around and behaving inattentively
    • sitting out or otherwise punishing behavior that causes risks to the gymnast or others
    • not tolerating disrespect or talking back
    • not tolerating lying
    rosiekat, M2Abi, BachFlyer and 14 others like this.
  3. Profmom nailed it.
    tpMom and John like this.
  4. I agree with most of what Profmom said but I think it gets a little blurry with the "occasional losing one's temper" (which I get and don't think is abusive so I agree there). I just think some of the things on the no-no list when done occasionally in a moment of frustration are not ideal tactics but don't necessarily cross the line into abuse just like occasionally yelling out of frustration wouldn't. I have definitely seen some "belittling" responses from some coaches but don't consider them abusive. I think it is counterproductive but I also think it is similar to being a new parent - you learn with time that it isn't the best way to handle things. As long as it isn't a consistent pattern with it doesn't throw a huge red flag for me. Also, excessive conditioning is my son's favorite form of punishment for misbehavior (I had to let his coach know he doesn't actually view it as punishment). I guess it depends how you define excessive?

    I think even a coach who constantly makes an athlete feel they aren't meeting expectations can also be abusive. Like the stereotypical "nothing I ever did was good enough for my dad/mom" but from a coach. There are coaches at a nearby gym who are like this. When I see them at meets I just want to run over and tell their gymnasts something good about what they have done because even in public all their coaches can do is criticize (even when they are winning every event).
  5. I have one particular thing in mind for excessive, Acam.

    In a group of L5 guys, three or four kids make an error in BHS (turning hands out). Coach tells them not to do it again. Two kids do it again. Coach tells them that if anyone does it again, there's going to be trouble. One kid does it again. Coach assigns the entire group 50 hollow rocks, 200 pushups, 10 laps, and 20 rope climbs, and tells them anything they don't finish by the end of practice they owe him at the beginning of the next practice.
    jenjean70 likes this.
  6. I believe there is a difference between attacking the gymnast as opposed to the gymnastics. “Attacking” isn’t the best word there but you get the point.
    profmom, Mom2twingymnasts and kecks like this.
  7. I agree with Hollowarchkick. I don't mind discipline or even loss of temper for misbehavior. I understand that! I draw my own line at any discipline, humiliation, or meanness around a loss of skill or inability to gain a skill. That's offside to me. My son's coach is a yeller but only around discipline. He's not friendly at all. But he's fair and patient with gymnastics, and he seems to dislike all the kids equally so they are happy.

    What I often think is that, if it wouldn't be acceptable in a school by a teacher, it shouldn't be acceptable by a coach in a gym. Can you imagine a teacher yelling at a child for not understanding fractions and then making him do 100 v-snaps? That doesn't help him learn fractions....that helps him dislike school.
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