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For Parents Who has responsibility?

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ProudDad

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I have been to dozens of meets and watched many sessions of differing levels. Within those levels there are gymnasts with varying skill levels as reflected by scoring. I am always a fan of every athlete and recognize that anyone can have a bad day or is in the process of overcoming a personal challenge - be it fear, recovering from injury, or personal loss, what rules if any exist around athlete safety and when they shouldn't compete?

I know that even if someone has a perfect driving record, if they are driving erratically on a deserted road and an officer witnesses it, he is obligated to pull them over and if he feels they are impaired and prevent them from driving until they are ready to do so safely. In a similar fashion, if a citizen sees the same erratic driving and feels it may endanger the driver or others they can and should call the police. Maybe a squirrel no one else saw darted out and it was a one time thing, or maybe they have a nasty head cold and are so doped up on meds they see thousands of angry squirrels plotting their revenge - someone has authority to make the call if they see it.

The gym is a place of learning with supportive teammates, watchful coaches, and enough foam to pay off most mortgages (seriously that stuff is crazy expensive). I expect to see struggles and misses every day, but what about at meets?

When you see someone in the optionals program not only skipping skills and having a reduced SV, but also having a series of bad warm-ups where even base skills (pull overs) are not executed well, including one that results in a minor injury - who knows what the root cause is, but that day, at that meet, for that event - that athlete just appears to be very unsafe, not just having a bad day - lots of kids have bad days and unexpected falls that result in injuries regardless of their skill level. What about when it is very apparent that something is off and a fear for safety exists... when that happens is anyone obligated to step-in at athat time or after the fact report it? Do gyms get censured for allowing them to compete? Does it only happen after the fact and only if a gymnast is injured, if at all? The judges came out after warm-ups, so could not have known prior... can they, and should they after fact at least inquire?
 

cbifoja

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I think the responsibility lies first with the coach and secondly with the parents. I've never heard of a judge questioning a coach about their gymnast but who's to say it doesn't happen. Maybe someone who is an expert on such things will chime in and give their opinion.

I do hate that situation though for the gymnast. How embarrassing to be put in the position where you cannot succeed by any definition of the word. At my DD's old gym, we had a gymmie who is a very sweet girl but her parents insisted that she compete a level for which she wasn't prepared. All season long she competed with lowered SVs, missing required elements, etc. It was really hard to watch and I just can't imagine that the girl felt good about things.

I mean just saying you are an L"X" gymnast isn't the same as actually having the skills that go with that level. But the coach didn't want to rock the parental boat so they got to say that their kid was an L"X" gymnast.
 

Aussie_coach

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The competition rules for a start. There are limitations to what each gymnast can do at each level to increase safety.

Judges have the right to request that coaches pull a skill out of a gymnasts routine if they see it warmed up badly.

Ultimately coaches have the responsibility to ensure the kids are working safely.
 

Jenny

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I think the responsibility lies first with the coach and secondly with the parents. I've never heard of a judge questioning a coach about their gymnast but who's to say it doesn't happen. Maybe someone who is an expert on such things will chime in and give their opinion.

This happens in Britain. Judges will speak to a coach if they feel warm up looks unsafe. I have known it happen a few times.

I do hate that situation though for the gymnast. How embarrassing to be put in the position where you cannot succeed by any definition of the word. At my DD's old gym, we had a gymmie who is a very sweet girl but her parents insisted that she compete a level for which she wasn't prepared. All season long she competed with lowered SVs, missing required elements, etc. It was really hard to watch and I just can't imagine that the girl felt good about things.

I mean just saying you are an L"X" gymnast isn't the same as actually having the skills that go with that level. But the coach didn't want to rock the parental boat so they got to say that their kid was an L"X" gymnast.

That is a coaching issue. Parents should not be calling the shots about what level a gymnast competes. But there are sometimes good reasons to compete with lower SV or requirements. That should not be a safety issue. Rather that might be to remove a safety issue.
 

ProudDad

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The competition rules for a start. There are limitations to what each gymnast can do at each level to increase safety.

Judges have the right to request that coaches pull a skill out of a gymnasts routine if they see it warmed up badly.

Ultimately coaches have the responsibility to ensure the kids are working safely.

What if pulling out stuff means all that's left is walk up and touch the bar and salute? Are the judges supposed to be out during warm-ups, at the particular meet where I had a concern, they were in the hospitality area until it was time to compete.
 

cbifoja

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That is a coaching issue. Parents should not be calling the shots about what level a gymnast competes. But there are sometimes good reasons to compete with lower SV or requirements. That should not be a safety issue. Rather that might be to remove a safety issue.

I don't disagree with you! Whether or not it was a safety issue, I tend to err on the side of caution. At the level these girls are, not being prepared can result in an injury (blowing out Achilles by not rotating all the way around on vault, missing your release and hitting the bar, ugly fall off the beam when you can't get that series). Of course, any gymnast can get hurt. Heck even preschoolers have that potential. But bigger skills mean bigger risks. But I'm sure I'm not telling you anything you don't already know. ;)

Curious though...and I hope this isn't taking the thread off track...what are some good reason to compete without the minimal requirements?
 

ZJsMom

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In USAG, when the athlete signs the membership application, they agree to a statement that says something to the effect of "I will only perform skills in competition that I can execute safely."

I have heard of judges who watch something scary in warmups, talking to the coach to say "we don't want to see her throw that."

Of course, the coach has the primary responsibility being the one teaching the skill and knowing what the athlete can do.
 
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raenndrops

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At some meets, there is someone designated to view warm ups and if they see unsafe skills, they tell the coach to pull the skill or scratch the event - coaches choice. They do this at YMCA Nationals and some other meets.
 

ProudDad

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Parents should not be calling the shots about what level a gymnast competes.
Agree 100%, but I wonder how many gyms appease parents anway, just to keep the checks coming in... "they signed the waiver" mentality.

Curious though...and I hope this isn't taking the thread off track...what are some good reason to compete without the minimal requirements?

I think this is still right on point. This particular instance the athlete had passable skills on other events despite lower SV, but this event was tough to watch. Kip with barely any glide turned into a muscle over, cast well below horizontal into a clear... flat back. Getting back on first pullover fell, second made it... squat on one foot at a time... one hand on low while reaching for high and so on. A++ for effort...
 

ldw4mlo

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If you are not a qualified coach that is directly on the floor in the moment, you really can not say what is in fact an actual safety issue. And the judges are not supposed to count anything that happens in a warm up. Their responsibility is to judge the routine.

I spent yesterday watching a whole bunch of kids fall off the beam (leaps, BHS, BWOs, turns). They all had very sloppy warm ups. And a couple of kids looked like they may have been hurt. Guess what, the coaches and gymmies didn't even blink. Kids got right back up and finished their warm ups. And their actual comp routines were all better. Every single one of them and a couple were gorgeous. Another kid took what looked like a bad fall (to this far away ignorant parent) on the bar. There were a number of girls who caused parents to gasp. And they all went on.
I don't know all the gyms there but they have all been in business a lot years. I know our coaches would never risk safety and let a gymnast do a skill they shouldn't. And their routines may take a hit for it.

It would be a shame if a judge used any of their warm ups to pull those kids or penalize their routines. And regarding safety concerns as a coach or parent, it would be a shame to makes kids issues even worse by making a big deal about something that wasn't (because we are not close enough or know enough to make a big deal about it).

Was at a meet this year, where a kid just forgot and froze during floor. Just walked off. Scored less then a 3, placed in a couple of the other events. Her score only reflected nerves.

Watched my kid take a huge spill on beam dismount recently. Last thing I want to do is get inside her head and make a huge deal out of it and plant fear and I don't want her coaches to do that either. They made sure she was OK and we all quickly moved on. All asked is what she hit because I couldn't see from where I was sitting (so I could take a possible concussion off the table).
It wasn't that my kid can't do the skill and do it safely, its called SH.

Carlotta Ferlito had a scary fall at Jesolo. It doesn't necessarily mean she was not properly trained or not qualified.

https://search.yahoo.com/search;_ylt=AwrBT4QH2AJXNm8AS31XNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTEwcDRtMDB2BGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwM1BHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNyZWwtYm90?p=italian+gymnast+carlotta+ferlito+scary+fall&ei=UTF-8&fp=1&fr2=rs-bottom,p:s,v:w,m:at-s&fr=yfp-t-574
 

ldw4mlo

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Wanted to add the final responsibility with any child rests first with their coach, and then ultimately with the parent of the child and they child.

Regarding my kid, I take responsibility for her being with coaches I trust. So I am very confident they will not put her safety at risk or her mental well being at risk. So I would never insist they have her do more then she is capable and they wouldn't on my say so. But ultimately if I feel she needs to pulled from something, I will do it. I am the parent. I decide.
 

gymdoc

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First of all, I totally should NOT have watched that video, because I almost threw up! That was AWFUL!

Second, we are new to optionals, but I know there are several reasons for a lower start value. DD's SV on beam was a 9.7 at her last meet because they didn't give her credit for her split jump. Can she do a split jump? Absolutely, but on this particular day it was crappy and didn't count. Another meet ODD forgot her split leap entirely so her SV reflected missing a skill.

Also, YDD developed a mental block on her push away flyway 2 weeks before states, but was solid on her other events. She wasn't really in AA podium contention anyway, so her coach thought it would be better for her to compete a "watered down" bars. She got a low score on bars, as expected, but it was part of their process for working through her mental block. Other gyms would have had her scratch bars.

Neither of those amounted to a safety issue though. I trust our coaches to not make my kids throw skills they are unsafe doing. I agree that I don't want the judges watching warm ups and pulling a kid if they weren't doing it well.
 
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AgingHippie

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We attended a meet where a judge watched a Vault warm up and told the coach the gymnasty warm up looked unsafe. I'm not sure what the outcome was but I heard the initial part of the conversation.
 
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ldw4mlo

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Also, YDD developed a mental block on her push away flyway 2 weeks before states, but was solid on her other events. She wasn't really in AA podium contention anyway, so her coach thought it would be better for her to compete a "watered down" bars. She got a low score on bars, as expected, but it was part of their process for working through her mental block. Other gyms would have had her scratch bars.

We had a similar situation with watered down bar routines. Bunch of kids just getting their flyaways. Bar coach had a conflict and couldn't be at the meet. Kids who did not have solid flyaways needed their routines adjusted. Their scores took a hit. Might of looked like they couldn't handle the level to another parent. But it was all good.
 
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meganliz77

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I have been to plenty of meets where there are girls competing the FHS vault that are VERY scary. I have often wondered what the heck their coaches are thinking, as our gym would not even dream of allowing our girls to compete the vaults they were throwing. Heads just nearly missing the table, arches for days, collapsing arms. I may not be a judge, or a coach, but I can tell you competing a vault like that is dangerous with/without a spot. This would be more a readiness issue. I don't think OP made any indication that this was one bad fall... this was a sincere concern for safety throughout the entirety of the 'routine'. When a kid is hesitant, it is rather obvious to me as a parent. The thing with this sport is that one cannot be hesitant to a fault, or they will be at risk to injure themselves.

Just prior to my DD's state meet a couple weeks ago, she had a practice at her gym where she balked on her RO-BHS - BT. Fell on her back and head. Big problem there. She practiced the following day - 1/2 were fine, other 1/2 she balked and/or needed a spot.

Went to state that weekend. Performed an unspotted one beautifully, but coach was on the floor. Next one she threw - she stopped. Safely, but stopped. She can compete that darn skill beautifully, but on this day, this warm up it was NOT safe. She competed 2 ROBHS instead to meet her Level 6 requirements.

Ultimately, DD's coach made that call WITH my daughter. That is super important, especially when you are dealing with what appears to be fear. immediately, DD felt the pressure relieve and was confident in what she was doing. She knew she was not letting the coach down, and she did not have the added pressure of the back tumbling that has been bugging her the last month or so. Now OP doesn't speculate whether this is fear based, or lack of training as someone else may have noted. I don't think it takes a "qualified coach" to see a blatant safety issue. And I would suggest, IMO, that it would be the coaches call and then the parents. And if needed, I would think the judges.
 

marie83

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I have judged at competitions where we have been told in the judges meeting that we can and should tell a coach to remove an element which is being performed dangerously.
Thankfully I have never had to do that. I have had to tell a coach that their gymnast was performing a barred element though.

As a coach, I will only allow a gymnast to compete skills they are 100% confident with. Competitions can be stressful enough without adding worry over a skill.

We have a gymnast who has lower
Start values on floor as she won't tumble backwards.
She loses 0.5 from her start value for not having a backwards somersault.
However she competed full start values on every other apparatus and even gets bonuses on some so that makes up for it.
 

NutterButter

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If you are not a qualified coach that is directly on the floor in the moment, you really can not say what is in fact an actual safety issue. And the judges are not supposed to count anything that happens in a warm up. Their responsibility is to judge the routine.

Why do you have to be a coach/judge qualification to question whether a vault or bar routine is unsafe? Clearly safety is an overall issue on vault or else USAG wouldn't have new guidelines for vaults (which I thought were gradually being implemented across the highest levels?).

Just because a kid qualified to compete at a certain level doesn't mean she will safely have all requirements for the level. I'm not talking about the crashes and splitting the beam and the 'normal' stuff that happens (which fortunately always look very scary with no resulting injury). There are usually clues in the kid's form that giveaway that she/he may not be ready for the skill. The kid who doesn't hit a single giant in warm up but has decent form overall is more likely to be dealing with nerves or a just bad day. The kid who doesn't hit a single giant and struggles with poor form and other elements are the ones that scare me.

@meganliz77 referenced scary FHS. We are in the same state and I've seen some of those. A handful of those with a scary FHS will end up in L8 and not be adequately prepared for the flipping vault. I don't know WHY it happens but it sure makes me thankful for the years of drills that DD has been working on so that when it does come time for her to compete a flipping vault she won't still training it the day she competes it.
 

Gymmommy71

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Nothing wrong w/ lowered SVs. They seem very common once you get to optionals.

Also, I know they are low, but there are minimum scores required at the previous level that prevent a kid who has nowhere near the required skills from doing that level.

And one or two bad falls in warmups doesn't necessarily mean that kid can't safely compete that skill - there is a girl on DDs team who has had quite a few scary falls at meets because she's fearless and determined, and keeps going for things when she should just take the fall (if you get what I mean by this?), but this on skills she definitely "has" and can score well with the vast majority of the time. It's a judgement call, yes, but the coach who sees the athlete in practice day in and day out probably knows the capability of that kid a lot more than a parent spectator who doesn't know the athlete at all.

Finally, if you want to see some scary skills, go watch a high school meet - USAG meets are nothing compared to those. Some of those kids have nerves of steel to throw some of that stuff.
 

cadybearsmommy

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I think ultimately it is up to the coaches to ensure that each athlete is training as safely as possible. You cannot count on judges to always be present during warm ups, you can't count on them to see every single thing either. The coaches are the ones who work with the athletes on a day to day basis. However, I would also say that no matter how safe a coach is, issues can happen the day of the meet, nerves come into play, accidents and falls can happen, etc. It's really hard to judge an athlete readiness for a level based on what you witness at one meet. We don't know their circumstances, whether or not they are struggling with fear issues, or coming off of an injury. Also, things that might look scary to us as parents may not look as scary to a coach who sees things more behind the scenes than we do.

Would I want my daughter competing a level that she wasn't ready for and was really struggling with? Absolutely not. But not knowing the circumstances, we can't really say why this gymnast's coach and parents have chose to take a different approach. Could it be that the gymnast is going to be retiring soon due to injuries or some other unforeseen circumstances and that making it to optionals was really important to her, so important that she was willing to struggle on the bars to make it happen? I can't say that I wouldn't be worried just like you watching it myself of course but we just don't know their circumstances.

On another note, I have only seen a judge step in and stop a girl from competing one time. The girl was doing a handstand on the beam and I'm not sure what happened, if she lost balance, or dropped her arms, but she went straight down headfirst on the beam hard and she was crying and obviously hurt. The coach sat her down for a few seconds, looked her over, and then tried to put her back on the beam to finish warmups. Just as the girl was about to mount the beam the judge stopped her and would not let her get back on, she didn't compete beam and I think her parents took her home (well hopefully to get checked out first) soon after.
 
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mandkmom

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Ultimately it is the coaches responsibility. And the parent picks the coach.


I've been to a college club meet- there are a wide range of skills (think barely level 4-9/10). There were a few girls (all age 18+) doing skills that looked scary. And a judge did finally say something to a whole team that just seemed to be chucking skills. I wondered if it was a joke/contest to them- let's see who can land this crazy skill on the beam?!?!
 
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