Anon Bad coaching or sensitive child?

Parents... Coaches... Gymnasts...
Gymnastics Questions?
Don't Lurk... We've Got Answers!

New For 2022
MEMBERS ONLY Parent Group!
Join for FREE!

Anonymous Post

Secret Identity
Feb 16, 2022
424
Hi all. Posting anon as I don't know who from my gym might see this and I'm just not sure if I'm handling correctly.

Background: we're in our 2nd year of competing. DD did very, very well last year and was moved up a level and her coach also moved up to HC of the new level. We really like this coach - she's responsive, a lifetime gymnast herself, also a mother, so we've found that she understands the challenges of balancing gym, family, etc. She can be tough and we've definitely seen more of that side this year.

Lately, DD has been crying after practice, typically on the way home. She doesn't want to talk about why, but normally she'll bring it up once she's had time to process. Her tears seem to be on a variety of topics - but usually surround her struggles at practice on a certain event and feeling singled out. After talking with a few parent friends from the team, it turns out that their daughter's are doing the same - crying after almost every practice.

Fast forward to earlier this week, DD was hysterical after practice and wouldn't say why. She finally fessed up last night and it's because they have a conditioning/running speed test at today's practice and she's worried about it. She says HC is "going to be mean about it". She was sobbing so hard when she told me that it took several tries for me to even understand her.

I explained to her that gymnastics is a hard sport and sometimes things will be tough, but that at 9-years old, this type of stress concerns me. She should be having more fun than not; and this level of fear/stress/concern just doesn't feel right. Should I talk to the coach? Go watch practice (something that tends to distract DD so I avoid)? Wait it out? DD isn't normally sensitive but she's an over-achiever and is hard on herself when she struggles with anything. I don't want to be a problem parent but I also don't like how DD is clearly internalizing things. HELP!
 

lovofu

Proud Parent
Jan 8, 2009
426
Des Moines Iowa
Don't discount this reaction as your daughter being too sensitive....please don't! You need to watch practice, more than once and then decide how to go forward. She may be telling you it's about one thing and not able to articulate the real reason. PLEASE don't label yourself as a problem parent! NEVER ignore what your child may need. You are allowed to watch, ask questions and do what's best for your child. Don't apologize for reasonable questions and observations EVER! THIS is what continues the abusive atmosphere of this sport. I am NOT saying that abuse is going on...just saying!
 

gymgal

Gold Membership
Proud Parent
Aug 22, 2008
4,599
9yrs old, only in second year of competing, so somewhere in level 3-4 range? I would say what she is experiencing sounds pretty intense for that level and I would be concerned, especially if she is not typically like this by nature - and others in her group are having similar reactions. I would probably have a "catching-up" meeting with the coach to see what is happening
 

Anonymous Post

Secret Identity
Feb 16, 2022
424
If all the girls are crying after practice, something’s wrong. Watch a practice, talk to the coach. Don’t speak on behalf of all the girls - just your own, and let the coach know that your daughter is feeling stressed rather than motivated at the moment and that she may need whatever motivational tactics the coach is using to be dialled down a notch.

I had to do this once, years ago, and the coach was horrified to learn that my daughter was getting anxious. What was going on was that the coach was being stern with a couple of girls who stuffed around and skipped a lot of conditioning and my very sensitive daughter was generalising that to herself. Once the coach knew, she changed her approach a bit and everything changed for my daughter, literally overnight (my daughter had her for another three years and was sad to move on).
 

Anonymous Post

Secret Identity
Feb 16, 2022
424
Since the whole group is crying after practice frequently, I would definitely say this isn't your daughter being over sensitive. I'd go watch a practice to see what on earth is going on and then have a conversation with the coach. If it's feels better to you I might try to get the group of parents together and have a team meeting with the coach, sometimes strength in numbers gets a better response.
 

Madden3

Proud Parent
Aug 24, 2013
822
49
age 9 is a rough year for many kids, so more crying/upset can just go with the territory. But this sounds far too intense plus involves the other kids and that is worrying. I agree start watching practices. If you cannot stay for the whole practice because it bugs your dd, maybe try quietly popping in at different times so you can see different parts of practice? Or just explain to her you have to stay at the gym for some reason, and will be busy and not watching, and then surreptitiously watch. Or send a trusted friend she does not know to watch for you. Something sounds off. Also I agree with above that sometimes the coach is very stern with the whole group because there are a couple goofballs, and the kids who are doing their best internalize this and that can be crazy making, because they do not see how they are doing anything wrong yet they are hearing criticism. My oldest was like this and it could be really hard on him.
 

Anonymous Post

Secret Identity
Feb 16, 2022
424
You have come to the wrong place for this type of question. Talking to a few parents after practice becomes the whole team is crying after practice. The echo chamber will grow with abuse abuse abuse! Its too easy to read a message board post with incomplete and one-sided information (even if well intended) and start projecting your own biases and opinions to fill in gaps in the story. Most likely, your child is going through one of the many lessons that gymnastics can teach. I have had overly sensitive children, strivers and achievers, they genuinely want to do good, and for whatever reason feel like any stumble is letting the important people in their life down (parents, teachers, coaches, etc). I have had these children well up in tears because they struggle with a particular skill or something trivial. Especially if they are coming from a previous success. Learning to balance these things and work through expectations of themselves is invaluable. Talk to your child, make sure they know where your expectations lie (I am assuming having fun). Talk to the coach, explain where your child is coming from, ask if they are seeing this behavior in gym and what might be bringing it on. Good luck!
 
  • Wow
Reactions: skygirlpc

jlw1619

Proud Parent
Jan 12, 2022
1
45
You have come to the wrong place for this type of question. Talking to a few parents after practice becomes the whole team is crying after practice. The echo chamber will grow with abuse abuse abuse! Its too easy to read a message board post with incomplete and one-sided information (even if well intended) and start projecting your own biases and opinions to fill in gaps in the story. Most likely, your child is going through one of the many lessons that gymnastics can teach. I have had overly sensitive children, strivers and achievers, they genuinely want to do good, and for whatever reason feel like any stumble is letting the important people in their life down (parents, teachers, coaches, etc). I have had these children well up in tears because they struggle with a particular skill or something trivial. Especially if they are coming from a previous success. Learning to balance these things and work through expectations of themselves is invaluable. Talk to your child, make sure they know where your expectations lie (I am assuming having fun). Talk to the coach, explain where your child is coming from, ask if they are seeing this behavior in gym and what might be bringing it on. Good luck!
No, this is the correct place to ask questions and voice concerns.... This is what this forum is for... asking questions and talking to others. This is a concerned parent, who is fairly new to the sport, and needs feedback from others. To the OP, I would keep my child's issues separate from the other athletes. Talk to the coach, not the other parents at the gym. My daughter is going through the same thing, and I have found that when I talked to other parents in the past, it exacerbates my feelings for some reason. Good luck, and I hope this is resolved soon!
 

Anonymous Post

Secret Identity
Feb 16, 2022
424
Abusive coaching - maybe
Poor coaching - likely
Coaching that is a poor fit for your daughter - almost certainly

At 9yrs old I was a figure skater and your description was me to a tee. I had a coach who struggled to identify what I was doing wrong and often gave feedback such as "I don't know why you just don't land it already" or "try harder" or "I know you can land it if you just wanted it more". I was often frustrated and in tears. My mom tried to get me to switch to another club but I refused. After a couple of months of this she told me she wasn't paying for me to cry so I had to quit or try the other club.

I went to the other club and had the most caring, patient and attentive coach I have ever met to this day. Guess what I not only improved but never did I ever cry again. Truthfully, my new coach would have been mortified if I had been crying (my old coach would just yell at me to stop). She truly believed in order to excel you needed to have fun. When I got older and had a spell of nervousness before competing and royally blew it a few times all she ever said was "well... I guess we need to make a plan for your nerves because you are a way better skater than that". No yelling drama or anything and then we worked on the problem.

Despite my reservations switching clubs and coaches was the best decision ever. Sometimes as a parent you just have to make a choice.
 

Anonymous Post

Secret Identity
Feb 16, 2022
424
Thanks all for the feedback, and I'm particularly thankful to those of you who were able to be kind, regardless of your opinion. I watched practice during the dreaded conditioning test and DD nailed everything, and was the only child to do so. I asked her afterwards what her stress was about and she was very nonchalant about it and then moved on to talk about how happy she was with her beam choreography. Regardless, I spoke with her coach who was baffled at my questions. Coach said she's doing great, is focused, and is handling skills that even she thought she would struggle on with the new level. DD's tears/hysteria are still somewhat of a mystery to me but now I'm wondering if she's just so hungry after practice...hunger meltdowns are the only other thing I can think of that would explain hysterical behavior. And her pickiness/eating/fueling is a whole different (and equally frustrating) subject.
 
  • Like
Reactions: txgymfan and sun

Anonymous Post

Secret Identity
Feb 16, 2022
424
A hunger meltdown is a very good thought. My daughter never cries (really at all, ever) but she’s thrown some kicking and screaming fits after a hard practice with too little food/snack.
 

Anonymous Post

Secret Identity
Feb 16, 2022
424
I would stop this immediatley, do not send her to gymnastics if it stresses her out so much. A 9 year old should not be regularly in tears about a sports practice. This is concerning, not healthy and not right (and absolutly not worth it).