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Dec 5, 2015
Hi all,

This is my first post here but I have been lurking for quite some time now.
So: I have been at my current gym since I've started gymnastics, when I was 10. I've loved every second of it and have had great coaches up until this past season, when we were given this less experienced coach, who has been coaching for a long time but mostly rec. After several months of having that coach we were quite unhappy with his skills as a coach. He will not comment on any of our routines, just give a "good" or "better". (If anything at all!) He will not tell us what skills to work on and just let us do whatever we wanted on the events. Rarely, if he does tell us what skills to do, it is either random skills he found in the code of points or skills we are physically and mentally not ready for, that even the highest level girls at our gym can not yet do. This makes me not really trust him if he says I'm ready for "X" skill, even though I might be. He is constantly wandering over to the other groups to coach them while we stand around waiting for him to come back for spot, etc. It wasn't a very big deal last year, as we already had our skills for the season and were just practicing consistency, so we decided not to go talk to HC. There was also hope that we would switch coaches once again the next year.

Fast forward to this summer: My group decided to bring this problem to the attention of HC in June. She said she would talk to him about all of our problems. It is now August and nothing has changed. He does not know what skills we need for the next level and he doesn't even remember what we're supposed to be working on. I think he is trying to fix the problem where we said about how he never tells us what to do but he just ends up telling us to work on the same skills of the girl who is a lower level but still trains with us. He doesn't realize that we all need to work on different skills, as there is a 3 level gap between the lowest level girl and the highest.

I am mentally exhausted because if I want to get "X" skill by "X" time I have to plan out the progressions and when I feel I'm ready. He does not push me, but on the rare occasion he does, I do not trust him (as a mentioned in the first paragraph). I am finding it is not enough to push myself, because sometimes (like most gymnasts) I just need that extra boost from a coach, where they are like, "you have to go for it!" Sometimes when he is sick and we have a different coach for a day, I can do things I can never push myself to do with the regular coach.

We just got our autumn training schedule and half of us are with him and half of us with another coach. I am with him. I wanted to ask if I could train with the other coach, or any other group, but they all start earlier in the afternoon and I can't make it at that time. (We are the only group that starts later). Even if I went late I would be missing crucial conditioning time. I feel like I am running out of options. A gym switch is possible but I will only be doing gymnastics for another year, two years max. I am not happy with my current situation and I'm not enjoying gymnastics because of it. I still love the gymnastics part and I want to continue but not like this. I'm not sure what to do. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.


Proud Parent
Feb 6, 2014
Twin Cities
My advice is that a year is a long time. It can be a lifetime in gym and in high school, and it is absolutely too long to be unhappy with something that is supposed to bring you joy.

Before my DD switched gyms a few months ago she was always saying she was going to stick it out because it was only a year (till we move away). I went along for a few months, but eventually I could just see that her unhappiness was eking into every part of her life. Her gym was chipping away at her joy, day by day, piece by piece.

Finally, I told her that she had choices: she could quit gym, she could try other JO teams, or she could go back to xcel (at her old xcel gym or elsewhere), but she could not stay where she was another year. At first she was afraid of switching, knowing that she only had a year (and change) at a new gym. She thought it wouldn't be enough time to feel at home, to make a gym family.

She was 100% wrong. Within a week at her new gym, the tears were gone and the smile had returned, and she's been welcomed full-on by her teammates. Her biggest issue now is that she knows how much she will miss them when we move. I think you owe it to yourself to explore other options if this coach is as bad for you mentally as you've written. You can't expect others to change if there is nothing in it for them; you have to change because there is something in it for you.


Mar 18, 2016
You do not want to be stuck with this coach for any significant amount of time. At best you won't fulfill your potential and you'll be continually upset with the coach - at worst it could be unsafe if his attention is not focused on your group and he doesn't know enough about the skills he's supposed to be teaching. Ask your HC if there is a way to get switched to another training group - maybe you can come late to their practices, and be given a list to condition with on your own, or condition with a different group.

You are supposed to be a gymnast, not a gymnast AND your own coach. I'm sure you're right that it's mentally exhausting. If you can't switch to another group, you might think about switching gyms. You only have 2 years left in USAG, as you said - that's too little time to waste training in a group that makes you so frustrated and holds you back.

One of my biggest regrets from JO was that I blamed myself for not having talent and didn't realize our coach wasn't good. It sounds like you are very observant to recognize a lot of legitimate problems with this coach, make sure you don't get stuck with him. I guess the ideal solution would be for the gym to realize he isn't working out and switch him back to rec...maybe it will happen, but I don't think anybody other than the gym's administrators/coaches would be able to say if that's likely.

I really feel for you - best of luck.
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