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Proud Parent
Mar 23, 2021
My daughter has been at the same gym for 6 yrs now, competing for 3. For the past year and a half she’s been complaining about one of the coaches being mean. We’ve talked a lot about strict vs mean and she’s a very resilient kid and has tried to power through it. Recently the complaints have been getting more frequent and she finally had enough recently and texted us during practice asking us to pick her up.

After several discussions she says that most of the girls on the team are afraid of this coach. That if they make a mistake he’s visibly upset with them (facial expressions, sighing, ignoring them) and frequently accuses them of not trying. He’s even called a couple of girls lazy.

I took this seriously bc my daughter is a huge rule follower and has never had a single issue with a teacher, coach or any adult. We called the gym and asked to speak with the coach. He called & was very defensive. Wouldn’t answer direct questions and said he’s had many issues like this in the past but they were resolved by talking to the child 1:1 without the parent and that he thinks it’s bc some girls have never had a male authority figure before.

We then called the gym owner and he seemed willing to listen and suggested a group meeting. He then canceled that meeting and didn’t return our call for 4 days. When we finally did meet his tone had completely changed. He accused us almost immediately of “attacking” him (after he asked us to explain our problem and we did). He then said it was obvious nothing was going to make us happy (we had barely said anything at this point), blamed our daughter and then said it’s just not a good fit.

I stayed calm and tried to explain that I just wanted to address our issues and he said he was done with this and ended the call.
Obviously our daughter will not be returning there but wtf?!

What can I do? Turns out this gym owner is the state USAG chair here ‍♀️ so I’m assuming a complaint won’t help. I would appreciate any input!


Proud Parent
Jul 12, 2016
At this point, I would just walk away. You could email or write to USAG just to get something on file in case future similar complaints come in, but I honestly would not spend too much time on it. Help your DD find another great gym where she is happy - and commend her for recognizing bad behavior and walking away from it.


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Proud Parent
Aug 22, 2008
you could try reaching out to the regional head, explaining the reason you are not going state level first. I would also quietly reach out to the parents whose gymnasts have experienced the same issues - after you have her secured in another gym


Proud Parent
Dec 22, 2016
On a small level I get it arent we all a bit defensive when someone says we are doing something wrong? But come on be self aware enough to say hey I can do better, you can't be doing everything right if children are afraid of you. I agree with your wtf. I would find a new gym then research your options for filing a complaint. I would find a new gym first though because though it shouldnt matter if you file a complaint in some places it will.


Proud Parent
Dec 22, 2014
You handled everything exactly how I would have, and your daughter should be praised for speaking up. The owner’s behavior was unprofessional and frankly odd. Clearly he has no interest in making sure his gymnasts feel safe and supported, or ensuring his coaches are behaving appropriately. It costs nothing to listen to both sides! And it is dangerous for an owner to categorically dismiss a gymnast/parent concern without first even listening. I would get settled at a new gym, and then look for ways to notify USAG of the situation above the state level. (Anecdotally, my DD snuck her phone into the bathroom one practice and texted me to pick her up.... not due to mean coaches but because she felt frustrated and alone re lost skills. I emailed the owner/head coach and, before the week was over, had an in-person meeting with several coaches about how we could all support DD. These are kids. Any decent human being, let alone good gym owner, should want these kids to feel good when in their gym!)


Proud Parent
Aug 16, 2014
There are kind and supportive coaches in this world. Don't wait around for jerks and bad chemistry to change. I'm sorry you're faced with this. I know it is stressful and painful for the entire family.
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