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

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ReluctantGymMom

Proud Parent
May 11, 2020
289
32
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.
I’m not American, I live here mildly begrudgingly because my husband wanted to return home, so I have some -strong- feelings on what is actually regulated here. And I don’t trust the schools either, not because of the shootings, that’s a separate issue but because they don’t always run nationwide background checks. There’s 50 states. That’s an issue.

This is the first time I’ve left my kid alone at the gym, because besides the coaches (who my husband background checks personally), she has a medical issue and we lived far. We moved to a closer location, with coaches with stable routines who have their own kids who trained upper level gymnastics and whose gymnasts adore them, but they don’t form overly friendly friendships with families. She’s now old enough to speak up for herself and I make it clear to every adult around her that I’m incredibly involved in everything she does.

That’s not in terms of like I’m coaching her at home or anything - but kids with uninvolved parents make easy targets (I know firsthand), it’s a lot easier to prey on the kid who gets dropped off early and left several hours after practice with no parent answering their calls (and we have a lot of those).

I trust where she is because from all my extensive research, I have no reason not to trust them. I hope it remains that way but the systems in place are not there to inspire trust.
 
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Em09

Gymnast
Fan
Oct 13, 2020
153
19
Australia
Like @Aussie_coach said, there are courses and working with children checks you have to take to be a coach. A level system is attached. In L7 we had a coach who couldn't stop our fulls because she literally was not qualified to, even though she physically could, her qualification meant she had to take a course before she even thought about that.
 

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Aussie_coach

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Jan 4, 2008
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Yes, as Em09 days. Coaches here are not allowed to teach or spot skills they are not qualified to teach.

There are different levels of accreditation to be allowed to do various skills.
 
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4gr4ce

New Member
Feb 27, 2022
11
39
Hi there! I am a gym mom too. I stayed for DD’s rec classes but when she was invited on to team I left. However, it really depends on the situation. We had a problem with some of the girls on the team for a few months. I stayed at every practice and watched like a hawk. Once the problem was resolved I stopped again. However my DD likes when I watch her so I try to stay every so often. It really depends on you, your family and your situation.
I don’t mean for this to sound rude at all but at the end of the day that is my kid in there and I don’t really care what people think of me. I’m her advocate and her protector. I’m sure they are wonderful people in there with her but I’m called to protect my kids so if I want to watch I will! Do what your conscience tells you is right. It won’t let you down. :)
 

skygirlpc

Proud Parent
Mar 3, 2016
140
My daughter is only 8.5 (training level 5). I really enjoy watching her... I don't enjoy sitting on the uncomfortable benches for 3 hours at a time so I will usually either go a while after they have started or stay a little while, run an errand and then come back. Sometimes I do sit for the whole 3 hours though. I ask her regularly how she feels about it and she says that she loves to have me there because something will happen and she will want to talk to me about it but prefers if I have seen it. Her coaches have also told me they enjoy having me there. I try to find a balance though...
 
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skygirlpc

Proud Parent
Mar 3, 2016
140
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:

“No the head coach isn’t picking on you because she’s giving you the most numerous and detailed corrections — it’s because she thinks that you’re particularly talented.”

That’s the sort of thing that you can’t uniformly expect a type A 5/6/7/8 year old KID to pick up and if it doesn’t get addressed one can see how bad things might be internalized. Especially if a coach is gruff about it, as some are.

The reality is that a lot of TERRIBLE stuff has happened at places where parents felt comfortable leaving their kids. Your comfort level doesn’t dictate what happens — everyone was comfortable with Nassar once upon a time.

Just my 2c. I don’t think staying should be stigmatized. But I do think that a lot — but not nearly all — of the people who stay are overly invested stage parents.
I don't think "everyone" was comfortable with Nassar at any time. I believe your point is that most parents were comfortable with him, I believe his victims were probably never comfortable with him. I have always waited until we were away from the location and the people and then asked my daughter if she was comfortable. I understand that many victims would say they were so as not to out their predator but I also beleive that if a parent is really tuned in they will pick up on signs of discomfort in their child.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that you are correct in the fact that the parent's comfort level should not dictate what happens, but I believe the child or the athlete's comfort level should!
 
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McKids8

Proud Parent
Dec 6, 2021
15
40
Mom here. I love watching my daughter. She was five when she started on team, and the change from one hour a week to six hours a week was big and we wanted to make sure she could handle it okay. Now she’s six in her second year, and typically I will drop in for the last 30-45 minutes. She’s little, and she still really loves looking up to see that I saw whatever skill she did. I’m assuming that will change over time and she’ll care less, so I Want to build those memories for her now.
 

Virginia Gym Dawgs

New Member
Jul 5, 2022
3
35
I live 35miles one way from the gym. My butt is planted right in that seat reading a book. Gas is too high for me to go back and forth back and forth. Today, I took a call and did work in a separate office area. Several parents stay and watch. My daughter just made copper and is 7.
 
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4gr4ce

New Member
Feb 27, 2022
11
39
Mom here. I love watching my daughter. She was five when she started on team, and the change from one hour a week to six hours a week was big and we wanted to make sure she could handle it okay. Now she’s six in her second year, and typically I will drop in for the last 30-45 minutes. She’s little, and she still really loves looking up to see that I saw whatever skill she did. I’m assuming that will change over time and she’ll care less, so I Want to build those memories for her now.
Such a great point! My daughter is 8 and still wants me to watch her. One day I’m sure that will stop, so in the meantime I’m gonna soak it up! Xoxo
 

pinkytoes

Proud Parent
Feb 7, 2022
14
We are so grateful our gym has a camera app!! We love DD’s coaches too! It’s a far drive, but I don’t need to worry since I trust she is in great hands and I can check out a new skill if she tells me to check the app before practice. Our rec parents mostly stay and watch, team parents never stay.
 
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GymMomStarQuest29

Proud Parent
Jan 9, 2022
47
While I don't watch that often, this would be a huge red flag to me and would not be accepted.
It really is. I don’t follow the rule - I go when I want to. But I’ve been noticed enough that I got an email “inviting” me to come watch on the last week of the month.

I really hate our gym and I’m hoping that she decides against doing this season. Post incoming on that…
 

GymMomStarQuest29

Proud Parent
Jan 9, 2022
47
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.
I have considered other options around us for various reasons. I’m hoping she quits, we’ll kind of hoping. But when she was really struggling I went in and watched regardless. I was told about myself later and invited to watch during the last week of the month but no thanks. I’ll pop in when it suits.
 

ldw4mlo

Proud Parent
Feb 13, 2015
6,385
62
There is a huge difference between a 6 yr old, 12 yr old and 16 year old.

My kid just passed her road test. My days at the gym are pretty much done and I am thrilled.

And to note, just because I don’t spend a ton of time at gym (now) I’m not uninvolved or unaware. I did the work when she was little and we are not a
”groomable” type family.
 

Tammie

Member
Jul 22, 2022
90
44
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.
I so agree with this, 110%!!!

When my daughter decided she wanted on an elite track, I started researching like a mad woman, it took me well over 6mos to decide where we wanted to end up(as soon as she could be accepted by such a gym, obviously). I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders in my choice.

Yet, once I made that choice, I haven't stepped foot in said gym, not once. I am confident in the choice I made(&they accepted her right away-but it was covid & things were weird, we were very lucky!! Yet they now say they are lucky to have her, im not sure that was the case the first 6-8mos). I text with a couple of the coaches(even fun stuff, we have a good relationship), I wave in the parking lot & exchange pleasantries. However I feel no desire to sit in the small gym and "backseat drive"/"sideline coach"-nope, her thing!!

Heck, they had a mock meet before the season officially started, I was FINALLY going to go in the gym. My daughter rolled an ankle the day before and asked me to stay in the car so I could instead see her routines when she was at her best in 2wks(at the first real competition)....and so I did.

This year she has again told me I am not welcome at the in-house meet, she said she wants to practice for the judges & get comfortable without me there....ok.

My daughter and I have a crazy close relationship(i have that with all 5), but for some reason she likes having something that is hers & hers alone. I only get to see things once they're perfected(or when she shares practice video with me). I accept this & don't worry about it too much.

We drive 90min each way, traffic then intensifies so if I need to head toward home, I am literally there less than an hour-despite a 6hr+ practice....so I stay. But I stay in the car, we go to a park(other 2 young kids & often one of the big ones), we do homeschool stuff, we go to lunch, we head to the library or Barnes & Noble. But I've never been inside the gym.

I also don't like drama & going inside invariably leads to being sucked into some type of drama!! My kid is old enough to walk herself in, walk herself back to the car when practice is over, she can take an envelope of money in, she can do all sorts of things....so I just park and wait.

My oldest has been in the gym-a few times(like 4x in 2yrs), because her sister asks her to come see something-or once because rec kids coming & going overwhelmed my austistic gymnast-but her coach didnt know WHAT was going on with her-just that she was not herself the second half of practice, so she went in to help figure it out(when the HC found out, rec kids were gone within 2wks & have not come back-again showing me how much i made the right decision, my daughter has the best coaches EVER!!). My husband has gone in to drop off money or lunch(I dont think he has been beyond the office, but i couldnt say for sure).

P.S. during covid the health dept was harassing businesses around here, so for ~8mos I sat across the street and watched for the health dept. Alerting the coaches of anyone that might be coming their way. This was 6-1/2hrs/day, 4days/wk...the irony? They showed up on a Sat and gave a violation(we didn't do Sat back then). Kids are not always great with masks during gym-and in some cases it was a hazard to wear them, so having advanced warning was helpful. When I was there, they at least had a 5min warning to make sure everyone had their masks on properly....so luckily only one such violation($500 still hurt, but the 2nd was $3k, & the 3rd was loss of business license....for a single kid with no mask-or mask not on properly).
 

Tammie

Member
Jul 22, 2022
90
44
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.
I honestly think it's time to find a new gym home!!

With all you say about how much your daughter loves the sport, it is unfair to punish her because of a "bad gym"(even if they get "good results"-they're a bad gym in my book!!)

While I have never been inside my daughters current gym, I cannot imagine being comfortable having her in a place where I was not allowed in the gym!!! If my child is there, I am allowed-period.

If having a conversation with her coaches does not help, then find a new gym and hopefully that will give you a new perspective and outlook on the sport!! You can begin to love it again!!
 
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kecks

Member
Mar 20, 2009
246
I so agree with this, 110%!!!

When my daughter decided she wanted on an elite track, I started researching like a mad woman, it took me well over 6mos to decide where we wanted to end up(as soon as she could be accepted by such a gym, obviously). I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders in my choice.

Yet, once I made that choice, I haven't stepped foot in said gym, not once. I am confident in the choice I made(&they accepted her right away-but it was covid & things were weird, we were very lucky!! Yet they now say they are lucky to have her, im not sure that was the case the first 6-8mos). I text with a couple of the coaches(even fun stuff, we have a good relationship), I wave in the parking lot & exchange pleasantries. However I feel no desire to sit in the small gym and "backseat drive"/"sideline coach"-nope, her thing!!

Heck, they had a mock meet before the season officially started, I was FINALLY going to go in the gym. My daughter rolled an ankle the day before and asked me to stay in the car so I could instead see her routines when she was at her best in 2wks(at the first real competition)....and so I did.

This year she has again told me I am not welcome at the in-house meet, she said she wants to practice for the judges & get comfortable without me there....ok.

My daughter and I have a crazy close relationship(i have that with all 5), but for some reason she likes having something that is hers & hers alone. I only get to see things once they're perfected(or when she shares practice video with me). I accept this & don't worry about it too much.

We drive 90min each way, traffic then intensifies so if I need to head toward home, I am literally there less than an hour-despite a 6hr+ practice....so I stay. But I stay in the car, we go to a park(other 2 young kids & often one of the big ones), we do homeschool stuff, we go to lunch, we head to the library or Barnes & Noble. But I've never been inside the gym.

I also don't like drama & going inside invariably leads to being sucked into some type of drama!! My kid is old enough to walk herself in, walk herself back to the car when practice is over, she can take an envelope of money in, she can do all sorts of things....so I just park and wait.

My oldest has been in the gym-a few times(like 4x in 2yrs), because her sister asks her to come see something-or once because rec kids coming & going overwhelmed my austistic gymnast-but her coach didnt know WHAT was going on with her-just that she was not herself the second half of practice, so she went in to help figure it out(when the HC found out, rec kids were gone within 2wks & have not come back-again showing me how much i made the right decision, my daughter has the best coaches EVER!!). My husband has gone in to drop off money or lunch(I dont think he has been beyond the office, but i couldnt say for sure).

P.S. during covid the health dept was harassing businesses around here, so for ~8mos I sat across the street and watched for the health dept. Alerting the coaches of anyone that might be coming their way. This was 6-1/2hrs/day, 4days/wk...the irony? They showed up on a Sat and gave a violation(we didn't do Sat back then). Kids are not always great with masks during gym-and in some cases it was a hazard to wear them, so having advanced warning was helpful. When I was there, they at least had a 5min warning to make sure everyone had their masks on properly....so luckily only one such violation($500 still hurt, but the 2nd was $3k, & the 3rd was loss of business license....for a single kid with no mask-or mask not on properly).
I am sorry but not wearing masks during a mask mandate is *so* not cool. Teaching kids that following laws is optional is nothing i would support ever.
 

Aussie_coach

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Jan 4, 2008
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I am sorry but not wearing masks during a mask mandate is *so* not cool. Teaching kids that following laws is optional is nothing i would support ever.
For us no one (neither kids or adult gymnasts) were required to wear masks during gymnastics training.

The law did not require masks during strenuous exersize or when doing activities where the impairment of peripheral vision could be a hazard.

Our gymnastics governing body cleared it with the health department that masks were not required during gymnastics training.
 
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