For Parents Bad Sportsmanship

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Proud Parent
Mar 19, 2009
So I am just wondering what other parents would do, if anything, in a situation like we have with one of our teammates.

This child is 8 years old and a L5 and is a winner. She's a tremendous gymnast who was the state champion last year for her age group and routinely wins 1st place at meets in the AA and individual events. This is a contrast to no less than 15 of her teammates who have never even gotten higher than 2nd AA. My point here is she's had her fair share of success.

This weekend she had her only bad event so far of the season falling twice on beam. She sat sobbing on the floor at the meet for about 20 minutes and all of the coaches on the floor had to take time to come and calm her down. This to me was annoying as there were over 20 girls in the session but we're used to this and just kind of ignored it.

She went on to have a decent meet winning 2 events so you'd think she'd be happy. So we head to awards and she doesn't even sit with the team. Not too huge a deal but they usually all sit together. Then when they start to announce the beam results where she fell she proceeds to put her fingers in her ears so she wouldn't have to hear the winners. Now mind you 3 of her teammates medaled on this event... did she clap, nope... fingers in the ears the whole time.

Last year she had one bad meet and did the same thing only for the entire awards session so this isn't a first time thing.

I am not the only parent who is bothered by this and several of the parents are considering going to the coaches as it just seems rude. Her mother thinks it's "cute" so there will obviously be no intervention there. Do you think we're overreacting?
Wow that is outrageous and over the top. Gymnastics and any sport really, isn't just about the sport but rather the lessons you learn through it. That spoiled child is learning if life does not go your way, throw a tantrum. Def would not fly in my house. Graciousness is a very important aspect of life. We talk to all of our kids about supporting others, etc.

I would go to the coach and approach it as a team issue. That child is not acting as a team player and that cannot be OK.
Wow, she sounds like she needs a good talking to. I can't believe the coaches allow that kind of behavior, totally unacceptable.
Totally not cute,someone should mention to her mother that there are actually deductions that can be made for unsportsman like conduct.

Seriously though just ask the coahc if that is okay>
I agree that it's unacceptable, but I guess everyone is different as a parent. My son had a meet where he was disappointed with his results, but still did better than 3/4 of his team and he sulked during awards and wouldn't sit with the team. I came down on him like a ton of bricks and let him know that that kind of behavior is rude to his team mates. If the parents aren't going to deal with it, maybe you could ask the coach to have a talk with the team about sportsmanship and good manners at meets.
Not acceptable at all.

Coach and a team talk on sportsmanship is a good idea. Then coach should go straight to the parents and gymnast for a talk privately. We sign an "agreement" at the start of the season on the team rules for gymansts and parents. That kind of behavior is addressed.
I would bring it up to the coaches so that they can nip this in the bud ASAP! That is just unacceptable behavior and simply is NOT tolerated at our gym. When my dd was a level 4, our coach had to have a "team meeting" with the girls in regards to poor sportsmanship, a teammate saying nasty things to other teammates (yes, we had one on our team unfortunately), and sulking at awards because of not placing as high as you would have liked. The coach made it very clear that this behavior is rude, disrespectful and WILL NOT be tolerated.

I would definitely have a talk with the coach about this because that teammates' behavior was blatently RUDE, DISRESPECTFUL and plain OBNOXIOUS. If her mother thought it was "cute", well, we can see where the child gets the behavior from then, don't we?
Unbelievable! I would scratch that girl from the next meet for that behavior if she was on my team. It is sad to see what some coaches will put up with just because a gymnast is particularly "talented". They will learn in the long run that putting up with this attitude now will lead to much worse attitude later. Can you imagine what this girl is going to be like to coach at 12 or 13???
I guess her picture is right next to the words--spoiled brat.

That is just unacceptable behavior and as the OP stated its not her 1st year competing and not the 1st time she acted like this. I would hope some parents bring it up to the coaches and they take very decisive action. The girl and her parents should be talked to about what will and will not be tolerated and then the whole team should get a talking to.

We had a girl when my gymmie was a L5/6 who was similar although not as bad. If she didn't do well, she would sit with the team, but turn her back to the awards and talk with other girls. She never applauded or congratulated a teammate. What we quickly found out was this behavior was just a carry over from how she was treated at home----whatever she wanted she got.
I think I would talk to the coaches about it. That is unacceptable behavior. Although gymnastics is an individual sport, it's also a team sport and she needs to act as though she is part of a team. I can't imagine the coaches want to encourage her to continue to act that way. Even if the parents won't do anything about it, the coaches certainly can and should.
Oh I am so glad we just weren't all being cranky parents. It's funny they made us sign an agreement to promise to be good gym parents and I think I may sugguest that they ask the girls to do the same. The 10 Commandments of Being a Good Teammate kind of thing. That way maybe it can be presented to all the team girls as opposed to specifically targeting this girl.

I fully agree though that if this were my daughter, she'd miss competing the next meet but you can bet she'd be on the floor in her warm-ups knowing that she was missing out because of behavior like that. I am a mean mommy ;)
My DS had this problem last year. He takes his sports very seriously and has always been ahead of kids his age. DH and I would not tolerate this bad sportsmanship, however. We spent a lot of time talking to him about his behavior on the field and what it means to be a leader. Focusing on being a leader was a good way for him understand how he should behave. I think often this is an emotional maturity thing - it is to an extent with my DS. He has now turned 8 and is much better. Again, we try to focus on what it means to be leader and that seems be something he can understand....he should set an example, be there to lift his teamates up, support the team, turn these instances into a learning experience for himself and them, be a good friend through his sports.

We personally did not ask the coach to address this with him, as we felt it was our job. However, I think coaches can certainly reinforce.
Hm, I have to say, I can kind of relate. I would have behaved like that because that wouldve shown everyone else how hurt i must have been, but I can guess what she mustve felt like. Its not even about the others, she probably doesnt judge others by how well they're doing - just herself. And basically, I wouldnt go run to the coach about it, but mostly feel sorry for the girl and her sense of self (and that's what I'd tell the other girls). If she had better self esteem she probably wouldnt take it this personally. And I fear a more or less public outcry about this will only make her feel worse - after all, she maybe just needed a sign that it's okay to fall.
I am not sure talking to the coaches will do any good in this situation. DDs coaches doesn't "allow" crying at meets. Of course, you can't stop a girl from crying, but she talks to them about it at practice, about how it brings everyone down. That an event is just ONE event and you need to accept whatever happened and move on to the next one. She comforts them real quick, but also brings them back to the now and what they have always talked about. No coddling or encouraging of the tears. They also don't get berated after an event or the meet about falls or whatever, what is done and done.

As to her parents, sad that they do nothing. Such a moment for teaching humility and being proud of your teammates regardless of how you did. And also accepting the fact that falls happen, mistakes happen, we are all human. :( They are doing her no favor by not trying to help her learn to win humbly and "lose" (I hate that word) humbly as well. I think that one of my DDs best qualities is how proud she is of teammates skills, etc. How she comforts her sad teammates and tries to make them laugh, tells them how she messed up once, too. Just this past weekend we were watching a friend that had left to another gym at a meet and she said, "Mom, you gotta watch her ROBHSBHS, it is amazing."
This child is 8 years old and a L5 and is a winner. She's a tremendous gymnast who was the state champion last year for her age group and routinely wins 1st place at meets in the AA and individual events. This is a contrast to no less than 15 of her teammates who have never even gotten higher than 2nd AA. My point here is she's had her fair share of success.

Part of the problem no doubt ... should have been busted up a level somehow. If you are that good at your level you are either having a temporary "on" streak or you are not in the right group.

Now it's kind of problematic huh. She's gotten used to winning and gotten a lot of praise for it (instead of for her effort or her sportsmanship) and her mindset is not right. At any rate she does need a firm talking to from a coach and a road map for how she will handle the next meet if she wants to compete. If she really cannot control her crying over average performance she needs to stop competing temporarily. That's not acceptable. It's not a good sign that things are going well in her head either.

Maybe she will be quick to learn that the world has not ended over those scores.
That is very poor sportmanship and any parent should be appalled at her behavior. I remember when older DD was in gym and she was so completely upset with her results. She thought, little 9 yo PMS child that she was, that we would let her get away with not clapping and rooting on her own teammates that did well. She very shortly after awards realized it wasn't going to pan out the way she had hoped. We DID make her go out and congratulate her teammates and show them that she was proud of them. I have to say, that that lesson was learned by DD that day because she was one of the biggest cheerleaders of her team after that!
Little DD who is now in gym has the biggest smile on her face whether she manages to stay on the beam or falls off, hits her vault or goes face first, finishes her bar routine or misses the highbar. Her smile is what I LOVE to see the most at a meet! It's kids like these that make this crazy gymnastics worthwhile as parents. I know these are kind hearted, caring individuals. They will always be winners in my eyes!:D
totally not cute in any way shape or form, and if my DD behaved that way I would probably have the coach "bench" her for a meet. We are just beginning our journey into competitive aspect of the sport but I have already had many talks with her about how she is to be happy for the girls who score better than her, and encourage the girls who do not. She is part of a TEAM and needs to act accordingly or not participate at all.

We have a few girls like that at our gym...who will be all friendly when they are "better" than you and give you the silent treatment if you score better than they did...they get it from their mothers, who behave the same way to other moms based on how their DDs rank. I do not associate with those parents...they are kept at a cordial arms length
I agree with Grizzoline. I don't think we can know what is going on in this little girl's mind. She may be so competitive because she is extremely hard on herself. I'm not saying that she doesn't need to work on this but that it is her parents' and the coaching staff's job to help her mature.

What the other kids can learn from it is that they can't always expect the perfect teammate and need to learn to handle themselves well regardless of how someone else acts. I hope this makes sense.

I don't think it will benefit anyone to make an issue out of the situation. I'm sure her parents are aware and the coaches are aware that this happened. It might seem that her parents thought it was cute but they may already be working with her on this behavior.

Best Wishes,

That is a terrible way to behave. She sounds like one mixed up little girl. I wonder how she would feel if next time she is called to the podium in first her whole team turned their back on her and stuck their fingers in their ears. Not good I'm sure. If her mother won't talk to her then a coach needs to. If you let that behaviour go unchecked she will think it is OK. She needs to be told in a kind but firm way.
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