WAG Featured Coaches, what do you think of parents that watch the entire practice?

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Madden3

Proud Parent
Aug 24, 2013
843
50
I am a parent and for each of my kids I stopped staying at the gym during practice once practice was more then 2 hours long, which also coincided with my kids being old enough I felt very comfortable leaving them (around age 7 or 8.)

And I usually was not really watching practice intently, just hanging out because my kid was young and also it would be dumb to go home just to turn around and come back to the gym.

Of course the one time my young child really got hurt at the gym, it was when my daughter was 4 in kiddie gym and broke her leg in a freak thing on the trampoline. Even though I was sitting nearby, I was so engrossed in an article I was reading on my phone I did not hear her crying and the teacher had to practically tap me on the shoulder. So to my embarrassment I know that just being at the gym supposedly watching does not mean a parent is really watching- on the other hand, I am glad I was there that time and did not get a phone call instead.

I was going to say that in my observation, usually it is unhappy looking, tense parents watching the whole practice, but I will amend that to - it depends on HOW the parents watch. Parents who are working on computers or chatting happily with other parents are probably fine. Parents who are primarily really watching entire long practices intently tend to look like they are making themselves unhappy.
 

skschlag

Staff member
Gold Membership
Proud Parent
Jul 19, 2011
11,282
Region 9
I was going to say that in my observation, usually it is unhappy looking, tense parents watching the whole practice, but I will amend that to - it depends on HOW the parents watch. Parents who are working on computers or chatting happily with other parents are probably fine. Parents who are primarily really watching entire long practices intently tend to look like they are making themselves unhappy.

I could not agree with this more! When I had to drive my son an hour each way, there was no way I could go home. So I took my computer, watched shows, did work, read books, and talked to all the other grownups. Sometimes went for a walk when the weather allowed. But I was rarely watching unless he asked me to.
 
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Mar 14, 2022
23
45
I love watching him, certainly I don't think I'm unhappy looking or tense. Sometimes as a treat my husband starts early and works his lunch to finish early so he can come and watch too :) Our boy loves us seeing his new skills and we prefer him to do flips etc in the club not our sitting room, also obviously we don't have the equipment at home. Its such an important part of his life. As he gets older he may not want me to watch so much but for now I get the 2 fingers pointing to the eyes gesture if he thinks I'm not paying attention and he's about to go for it with something. I have heard some parents being very critical about their kids , comparing them with others or giving them a hard time when they come out. Perhaps if you know a lot about gymnastics its harder to watch and just enjoy but for us we just get a kick from seeing his sheer determination and pleasure in doing what he loves. Also, its good to see the older kids as then we know what hes working towards and theres a good atmosphere among them.
 

Madden3

Proud Parent
Aug 24, 2013
843
50
FifiMum my post was not in any way aimed at you. Your child is only 6 AND enjoys having you watch and possibly feels reassured having you there. I was not referring to that type of situation.
 
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PeanutsMom

Proud Parent
Jun 14, 2019
208
I am going to jump in with parent perspective. At her old gym (15 minutes from out house) I would drop her off and leave. The current gym is 45 minutes away across the water (huge bridge) and we live in earthquake country. I am not comfortable leaving her essentially "stranded" on the other side of the water should something happen. I have always felt this way with my kids and their activities and while I know it is irrational, it is my fear. Also gas costs A LOT right now. I am not drive the equivalent of 3 hours to drop her off at gym, drive home, then turn around 45 minutes later to do the trip again. I am also not going to go sit for 3 hours in a Starbucks or run errands I don't need to run (gas and spending money? Nope). So I take my work to do, I take a book, I take my tablet, and I park myself there for the whole 4 hours with another parent who makes a similar commute. Half the time I don't even realize the time that is going by because I am doing my own thing. I do try to catch bits and pieces of her working, but there are some practices she asks "Did you see x,y,z?" and the honest answer is nope, missed it.
 

ldw4mlo

Proud Parent
Feb 13, 2015
6,534
62
Speaking in such generalities seems inappropriate to me. I don’t know about your kid, but MINE requires some explanation about the how and why of various gym interactions:
Actually most of my post I specifically used “I” not generalitied.

Generally speaking and I mean very broadly, not just gym. You specifically talk about abusive situations, which happen in many places not just gym.

And for that I stand by my statement. If you have your child somewhere where you feel you can’t leave them alone at all because you feel the situation is abusive. That should be a red flag and is a problem.

And a 5/6 year old is very different then 8 and older and those 5/6 are typically going less hours. When mine was that age practice wasn’t long enough to leave.

I really never had a problem explaining interactions to my child. I observed enough to get the dynamics, the coaches personalities and I didn’t have to there every minute. Just like we have conversations about the goings on at school, where I did not spend all day there even when she 4. Really I don’t know any parent whose child attends a school (not homeschoo) that actually sits in on every school day. And if there were issues, just like I did with her teachers, so I did with the coaches. I would have a conversation with them.

Regarding the Nassar/abusive gyms situation a fair amount happened with many parents “in the gym” And parents present.
 
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ldw4mlo

Proud Parent
Feb 13, 2015
6,534
62
FifiMum my post was not in any way aimed at you. Your child is only 6 AND enjoys having you watch and possibly feels reassured having you there. I was not referring to that type of situation.
Yes, 5 and 6 year olds are entirely different then older kids.
 

Aussie_coach

Staff member
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Gymnast
Club Owner / Manager
Jan 4, 2008
4,017
I totally understand why many parents stay, it might not be worth the drive home, they may enjoy catching up with the other parents, they may enjoy watching.

Non judgement, but a genuine question, for those parents who stay because they don’t feel comfortable leaving their kids. Why is it that parents are okay to leave children as young as 5 at school all day every day, but not at the gym for a few hours?

Again, I have no judgement whatsoever, I own a gym and I have a large viewing area and parents are welcome to stay if they want, or drop their kids and go, whatever works for them.

I’m just wanting to have an understanding of how parents feel.

I personally would have felt that more comfortable leaving my child at the gym that at school. At the gym they are supervised at all times, at school there are lots of playground moment when they aren’t. At the gym there are a lot more coaches to kids, than there are teachers to kids in a classroom. Also a gym is generally a big open space where lots of people can hear what the coaches are saying and see what they are doing, unlike the classroom where the teacher is behind a closed door. So why is school okay to leave the kids and not the gym?
 
Feb 2, 2022
78
44
I do not have safety conerns with leaving my daughter at her gym. My reasons for occassionally staying are what you mentioned - better than the drive, change of scenery, social time with other parents. On the other hand, I have MAJOR conerns about school safety and that's an entirely different subject here in the US. :(
 

JPC13

Proud Parent
Mar 25, 2022
448
I totally understand why many parents stay, it might not be worth the drive home, they may enjoy catching up with the other parents, they may enjoy watching.

Non judgement, but a genuine question, for those parents who stay because they don’t feel comfortable leaving their kids. Why is it that parents are okay to leave children as young as 5 at school all day every day, but not at the gym for a few hours?

Again, I have no judgement whatsoever, I own a gym and I have a large viewing area and parents are welcome to stay if they want, or drop their kids and go, whatever works for them.

I’m just wanting to have an understanding of how parents feel.

I personally would have felt that more comfortable leaving my child at the gym that at school. At the gym they are supervised at all times, at school there are lots of playground moment when they aren’t. At the gym there are a lot more coaches to kids, than there are teachers to kids in a classroom. Also a gym is generally a big open space where lots of people can hear what the coaches are saying and see what they are doing, unlike the classroom where the teacher is behind a closed door. So why is school okay to leave the kids and not the gym?
My daughter is homeschooled for a number of reasons — one of which being that I’m not comfortable with her being away from us for such a large part of the day.

She went to preschool just down the road from our house briefly. That is, until her teacher gave her something she’s allergic to, told her it was fine, and then lied to us about the whole thing.

I get it that not everyone can, or wants to, live the way we do but it’s a completely valid choice if you can.
 

Aussie_coach

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Gold Membership
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Gymnast
Club Owner / Manager
Jan 4, 2008
4,017
I do not have safety conerns with leaving my daughter at her gym. My reasons for occassionally staying are what you mentioned - better than the drive, change of scenery, social time with other parents. On the other hand, I have MAJOR conerns about school safety and that's an entirely different subject here in the US. :(
You make a very good point. Around here it’s quite unusual for parents to stay at kids activities. If we have parents who stay it’s mainly because they love to watch, not a lack of trust.

But it’s different, We don’t have school shootings, drive by’s, or earthquakes. Not that those things are likely in a gym, it must play on parents minds.
 

Celorah

Proud Parent
May 13, 2020
12
41
My daughter is 7 and in her 3rd year of gym- the moms in our group have formed a bond so the majority of us stay, but that’s mostly just to hang out with each other. My DD complains when I don’t stay or if I’m not paying enough attention to her at practice because I’m “too busy talking” lol. So I go and stay when I can. I do often go run an errand or two and she is fine when I don’t stay, she just likes me to see what she’s doing. I feel like in a year or two she’ll be begging me to just drop her off and leave so I’m enjoying staying while I can. I am sure the coaches would probably prefer the moms to not be there but I try hard not to talk to them or her during practice unless they come to me.
 

Pipesmom

Proud Parent
May 26, 2022
10
40
I’m struggling to figure out how to balance this too, but more for logistical reasons. Our gym is 20 minutes away and she has 2 two-hour practices, one of which is over rush hour. Plus I have two younger kids. Driving back and forth seems like a huge pain, but two hours is too long for the younger siblings to hang out. This is our first week figuring it all out, but I imagine we will get to know the parks/stores/etc in the area very well. I enjoy watching my daughter and meeting other parents, but it feels unfair to my other kids to do it very often.
 

ldw4mlo

Proud Parent
Feb 13, 2015
6,534
62
I’m struggling to figure out how to balance this too, but more for logistical reasons. Our gym is 20 minutes away and she has 2 two-hour practices, one of which is over rush hour. Plus I have two younger kids. Driving back and forth seems like a huge pain, but two hours is too long for the younger siblings to hang out. This is our first week figuring it all out, but I imagine we will get to know the parks/stores/etc in the area very well. I enjoy watching my daughter and meeting other parents, but it feels unfair to my other kids to do it very often.
Is car pooling an option
 

GymMomStarQuest29

Proud Parent
Jan 9, 2022
47
As a parent I would like to be allowed to watch. Our gym only lets parents watch on designated weeks (against safe sport policy). If my kid is struggling (tired, stressed, etc) and wants to know I’m there, or if I have time and I’m in the area, or if there’s something she wants me to see, I want to know I can walk into the gym and be greeted and not have it be an issue or get spoken to about it. I do think it would be weird if I stayed the whole practice every day because the practices are long and I have better things to do. But I do love watching her train, and I miss it from watching rec classes when she did those.
 
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Pipesmom

Proud Parent
May 26, 2022
10
40
As a parent I would like to be allowed to watch. Our gym only lets parents watch on designated weeks (against safe sport policy). If my kid is struggling (tired, stressed, etc) and wants to know I’m there, or if I have time and I’m in the area, or if there’s something she wants me to see, I want to know I can walk into the gym and be greeted and not have it be an issue or get spoken to about it. I do think it would be weird if I stayed the whole practice every day because the practices are long and I have better things to do. But I do love watching her train, and I miss it from watching rec classes when she did those.
That feels so crazy to me. How can a gym keep parents from supervising their child?! I understand not wanting to stay all the time, but not being allowed to stay when I want to would infuriate me. Not sure I would stay there.
 

ReluctantGymMom

Proud Parent
May 11, 2020
354
32
I totally understand why many parents stay, it might not be worth the drive home, they may enjoy catching up with the other parents, they may enjoy watching.

Non judgement, but a genuine question, for those parents who stay because they don’t feel comfortable leaving their kids. Why is it that parents are okay to leave children as young as 5 at school all day every day, but not at the gym for a few hours?

Again, I have no judgement whatsoever, I own a gym and I have a large viewing area and parents are welcome to stay if they want, or drop their kids and go, whatever works for them.

I’m just wanting to have an understanding of how parents feel.

I personally would have felt that more comfortable leaving my child at the gym that at school. At the gym they are supervised at all times, at school there are lots of playground moment when they aren’t. At the gym there are a lot more coaches to kids, than there are teachers to kids in a classroom. Also a gym is generally a big open space where lots of people can hear what the coaches are saying and see what they are doing, unlike the classroom where the teacher is behind a closed door. So why is school okay to leave the kids and not the gym?
Truthfully?

1) Coaches don’t have a child education background and there is no requirement for them to have any ability to interact with children at all
2) Many coaches coach gymnastics, but not many coaches realize they are also developing children
3) my kid is at school 7 hours a day with people trained to be with kids. She’s at the gym 4 hours a day with people who don’t have any formal training besides MAYBE doing gymnastics themselves. That’s it.
4) the school background checks employees and volunteers, even parEnts. I can tell you for a fact that not every coach in every gym is background checked. I know for damn sure the rec coaches who might come assist team girls with conditioning or help out with drills aren’t all background checked and they’re transient fixtures - kids temporarily there till they move onto another job or college.

An example: at our old gym, a 10 year old girl ran away from practice and hid for 4 hours to avoid one coach. The HC called her mom after 4 hours, when the girl reappeared - to ream her out about how her daughter was disrespecting the coaches and being irresponsible. This mom accurately looked at her like she had 6 heads and asked if they’d really lost her elementary age kid for 4 hours and not bothered to tell her
 

Aussie_coach

Staff member
Gold Membership
Coach
Proud Parent
Gymnast
Club Owner / Manager
Jan 4, 2008
4,017
Truthfully?

1) Coaches don’t have a child education background and there is no requirement for them to have any ability to interact with children at all
2) Many coaches coach gymnastics, but not many coaches realize they are also developing children
3) my kid is at school 7 hours a day with people trained to be with kids. She’s at the gym 4 hours a day with people who don’t have any formal training besides MAYBE doing gymnastics themselves. That’s it.
4) the school background checks employees and volunteers, even parEnts. I can tell you for a fact that not every coach in every gym is background checked. I know for damn sure the rec coaches who might come assist team girls with conditioning or help out with drills aren’t all background checked and they’re transient fixtures - kids temporarily there till they move onto another job or college.

An example: at our old gym, a 10 year old girl ran away from practice and hid for 4 hours to avoid one coach. The HC called her mom after 4 hours, when the girl reappeared - to ream her out about how her daughter was disrespecting the coaches and being irresponsible. This mom accurately looked at her like she had 6 heads and asked if they’d really lost her elementary age kid for 4 hours and not bothered to tell her
In Australia it’s illegal to be a Gymnastics coach unless you have a coaching certificate and a regular criminal background check.

It’s illegal to work of volunteer with children or anywhere near children at all unless you have a current working with children card, which requires regular background checks.
 
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