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JF00

Proud Parent
Oct 12, 2021
3
45
Wondering what is typical for a compulsory coach's experience/age? There has been a good bit of turnover at our gym and one of the new coaches (not assistant coach) for two apparatuses of the lower level compulsory teams is 16 years old. We don't know why she's coaching instead of competing, but we're not impressed with what we're seeing from her in practice (lax personality and only shows girls how things should be done, doesn't identify what they're doing wrong and how to fix). We feel like we're paying way too much to have an inexperienced 16 year old coaching the girls, but the gym says it's normal. We've only been in the team world for a year now so don't know what is a reasonable expectation for coach experience.
 

JBS

Staff member
Gold Membership
Coach
Proud Parent
Sep 3, 2005
7,314
Wisconsin
Clubs that do well will typically have a system for doing things that they use and tweak year after year. While I have seen younger coaches do well... this not typically the case.

With that being said it is almost impossible to get experienced coaches right now.

Also... if the club is on the lower end of tuition for team... then I would expect a 20%+ hike in tuition if they start trying to hire experienced coaches.
 
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Tmacs

Proud Parent
Feb 19, 2019
221
I do not think that is typical. My daughter had two 18 year olds coach her in L2 and the gym felt that was young but the coaches were super mature and amazing!
 

GymAir

Coach
Proud Parent
Gymnast
Aug 28, 2018
90
In my experience 16 year olds are more suited to teaching rec classes. Not sure what you consider “low level” compulsory - it might be fine for level 2.
 
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Soaring

Coach
Gymnast
Apr 12, 2019
44
20
I would say that there is probably not much you can do besides potentially moving gyms if it is a serious concern of yours. The current shortage of experienced coaches as a whole is real, and while not ideal, I would understand why a gym may need any coaches they can get. 16 is rather young though; I was mature at 16 but surely not fully equipped to be coaching team on my own.
 

Muddlethru

Proud Parent
Mar 16, 2011
3,536
In my opinion age is not the most important factor in determining competence or being a “good coach”. My daughter was 16 when she first coached our Level 4s. She wasn’t the head coach but was their coach on bars, beam and floor. Our head coach also consults her on occasion in the higher levels because he felt she had an eye for certain things. She was however already going on her 4th year as a Level 10. I remember her Level 4 coach was in her mid 20s and was a pretty talented Level 10 gymnast who got a college scholarship (ended up dropping out of school and quitting team after her freshman year) but she always looked bored and was on her phone all the time.

That said, how accurate are your perception of their coaching skills? It sometimes is hard to know exactly what goes on in the gym from where the parents are allowed to watch and getting it from the gymnast may also be one sided. Additionally, if you are not the head coach, the title is typically assistant coach. I doubt they’d be head coaches as 16.
 

ReluctantGymMom

Proud Parent
May 11, 2020
313
32
You said low level compulsary? Which levels? If it’s like 1 and 2, I think a 16 year old who, as you said is showing them how things should be done , not just verbally telling them, has good potential.

There are seriously no coaches right now and there is a good chance that she’s a previously injured high level gymnast - which is why she’s not competing. I know quite a few who at 16 have too many back problems or surgeries to keep going.

To get experienced coaches, someone has to be trained. You gotta start somewhere. She’s young so maybe she isn’t sure how strict she can be with kids without being yelled at by parents, so she hasn’t settled into her role yet.

If you have concerns, talk to your head coach. Maybe she’s also shadowing and getting training at other hours besides your practice hours.
 

alwaysinthegym

Coach
Proud Parent
Jan 25, 2022
1
Colorado
Clubs that do well will typically have a system for doing things that they use and tweak year after year. While I have seen younger coaches do well... this not typically the case.

With that being said it is almost impossible to get experienced coaches right now.

Also... if the club is on the lower end of tuition for team... then I would expect a 20%+ hike in tuition if they start trying to hire experienced coaches.

As an 18-year-old coach who had 3 teams win state last season -- your perception is misinformed, to say the least. Age does not always equate to success. I was barely 17 when I was coaching them.
 

JBS

Staff member
Gold Membership
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Proud Parent
Sep 3, 2005
7,314
Wisconsin
As an 18-year-old coach who had 3 teams win state last season -- your perception is misinformed, to say the least. Age does not always equate to success. I was barely 17 when I was coaching them.
Read the whole thread… and statistically… I am correct. And I started coaching at 14.
 

JBS

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Proud Parent
Sep 3, 2005
7,314
Wisconsin
As an 18-year-old coach who had 3 teams win state last season -- your perception is misinformed, to say the least. Age does not always equate to success. I was barely 17 when I was coaching them.

Alright... so let's expand on this some more. First of all... great work.

Also... you are correct that age does not always equate to success. In fact... I have seen tons of older coaches that are terrible.

There are just so many variables that go into coaching... but one that is really less variable with a 16 year old coach is experience. It's hard for a 16 year old to have much experience. This is because they typically cannot have a job until they are 14 or so. Now there are some instances that the 16 year old could have extensive experience...
  1. They have already been coaching from a younger age because their parents own the gym and they are allowed to work. In Wisconsin... children can legally hold jobs at age 12 if they are working in their parents business.
  2. They have been a natural team leader in a club that believes that the older athletes shoulder much of the responsibility of helping the younger athletes and driving the team culture forward. I currently have a 13 year old that is one of the best coaches I have ever seen with the younger athletes. She is not a coach... she is an athlete in our program. Our program develops leaders... she is definitely a leader and would be an outstanding 16 year old coach. She would still need a head coach above her to guide and help... but she could easily run 2 of the events for L2 or L3 athletes.
  3. Natural born leader... rare... but this does exist. Couple this with a type "A" repetitive personality and you have a champion compulsory coach.
There is my 2 cents.
 

JBS

Staff member
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Proud Parent
Sep 3, 2005
7,314
Wisconsin
@alwaysinthegym And for the quadruple post... welcome to the site. I see you just joined today!

High Five Boom GIF by TipsyElves.com
 

goldengirlie

Gymnast
Fan
Mar 8, 2022
22
In our gym, most of our rec coaches are 14-24 ish. Our main team coaches are 17, late-twenties, late-twenties, mid-forties, and mid-sixties. So it's normal for the coach to be young and keep in mind that coaching styles will vary.
 

sun

Coach
Gymnast
Jun 29, 2017
111
27
I started coaching rec at 16 for about 2 years, shadowed a 25 year old for 2 years in level 3/4/5, then coached 3/4/5 on all four events at age 20-22, then 22-26 coaching 4-7 on only vault and bars which is where I am now, and I have a 19 year old who just started shadowing me. The cycle continues...
 
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