For Parents DD just had the rug pulled out from under her - what to do?

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gympunkin

Proud Parent
Sep 3, 2010
35
Sorry, this is so long.

Last winter, at the end of our compulsory season, dd was put in a group of mixed level 4's and 5's. Dd competed L4, and did fine on everything but bars, where she struggled. The idea of the mixed group is that the girls get a chance to see if they could get their L5 skills and move up, but there are no promises. The coach of this group really encouraged dd to go for her level 5 skills and dd seemed to be making good progress. The coach had just recently told dd to start learning the l5 routines. DD asked if this meant there was a chance she would compete L5 in the fall and the coach said she believed so - according to her, dd was very close to getting all her L5 skills and if she got them she could compete.

Monday, we found out Wednesday would be the coach's last day. We were told her father was ill and she was moving back to the other city to he

Tonight, the head coach had a parent meeting, and told us the girls are being put into new groups. DD is being put into a mixed L3/L4 group to "work" on her L4 skills. When I said that old coach thought dd would be ready for L5 in the fall, the head coach basically started saying how bad my dd's skills were on bars and floor and that there was no chance she would be ready to compete those events in the fall. He also implied that she had only recently gotten an acceptable L4 beam routine. I was really taken aback. It was a dramatically different picture than old coach had been giving dd. And I don't want to sound like a CGM, but my dd has never scored below a 9 on floor. She got 2nd or 3rd at several meets last fall. She has had all her L5 floor skills for over a month, including a consistent robhsbt. I find it hard to believe that she would not be ready to compete L5 floor by fall. And beam has always been her best skill -- she placed 2nd at states last year. Again, she has all her L5 beam skills.

To make matters worse, dd's new group consists entirely of girls who are several years younger than dd, and she will now be training on a different night than the girls in her old group who are her age.

DD is really upset, as I am. She said to me, "I like doing gymnastics but it is a messed-up sport." She feels like she is being punished but she has no idea why .

I really don't know what to think or do at this point. I am having a hard time trusting the gym.

I would appreciate any advice or thoughts anyone has.
 

Jenny

Coach
Proud Parent
Sep 17, 2012
3,441
oh that is hard. At least if she was with her peers and friends she would have something. Is there still at level 4/5 group? or is it level 3/4 and level 5/6? Just wondering what the alternatives are. If she is really unhappy it might be worth going for an evaluation at another gym and see where they would place her?
 

gymmomof1

Proud Parent
Oct 23, 2009
883
NJ Region 7
My gut reaction is to look at the gyms around and see if there is a better fit for your dd some where else. Her original coach saw something in your dd that he/she felt she could bring out of her to get her to level 5. Maybe you can see if another coach sees that same thing at a different gym.
 

my4buffaloes

Proud Parent
Apr 14, 2010
5,287
Midwest
I see nothing wrong with questioning the coach on how she just now got an acceptable L4 beam routine when she placed 2nd and 3rd all season - or how her floor is not good enough when she scored in the 9s. I know scores aren't everything, but many gyms use scoring 9s as a benchmark to move up - and your dd did legitimately score them. Is this coach new to the group? Maybe he only saw your dd at practice on a bad day and needs more time.

I guess I feel like it is worth it to meet with him (without dd, I really hope he didn't say those things in front of her!) and talk about exactly what is required to move up and how this coach can be seeing things so differently than old coach. If his answers are unacceptable it might be time to look at other gyms. You might do evaluations at other gyms and hear the same things he is saying and you might decided to stay. But you might find a gym that sees potential like the old coach. Good luck!
 

Muddlethru

Proud Parent
Mar 16, 2011
3,536
Nothing much to add except to reinforce presenting the facts to the HC and getting more explanation. HC may have not worked with tour daughter so,he/she does not know her abilities. I'd exhaust all remedies before looking into switching gyms. But if she is unhappy and is open to finding a better gym fit, I too would start checking gyms out. Do you like the current gym? Do they have successful higher levels? How experienced is the HC?
 

iwannacoach

Coach
Proud Parent
Gymnast
Mar 25, 2012
2,877
region II
It looks like the head coach has decided your dd has limits that he/she doesn't want to deal with. You can advocate until you're blue in the face but your best course is to decide with your child if gymnastics is something she wants to continue putting energy into.

You included that the suggested L3-4 group would place her with kids many years younger than her and that bars was a struggle. That suggests she's made progress that lags behind her peers on bars and is falling farther behind as time passes. Could it be that she just isn't going to find her way through that event and the progress she makes will only keep her on par with kids who are three and four years younger and a level or two below her beam and floor work? Having a weak event is made more obvious and frustrating with each upward level, and that event alone can diminish her sense of accomplishment on the two events she dos well on...... possibly more so than competing down a level and being able to salute the judges with an air of confidence about her.

Maybe the head coach is being more realistic than her departing coach, and wants to keeps her from getting in over her head. It's also possible that the H/C wants to thin the crop and is only concerned collecting the most talented four event kids and letting the others cut bait. If the coach is being realistic, then changing clubs is only going to drag out her painful process of deciding she's too weak on bars to keep up with her same age friends, but if the coach is just cherry picking from her group then it's time to find a club that isn't so narrow in their definition of value and potential.
 
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Deleted member 14190

building a solid base on bars is called good coaching. not to mention she will kick butt this year in 4. its a win win...
 

Clover

Proud Parent
Jul 28, 2011
416
SW US
"Dd competed L4, and did fine on everything but bars, where she struggled."

Honestly, at my gym, if you struggle on bars you repeat. In the long-run repeating a season of compulsory is not going to do any harm and catching up with or even surpassing others on that level in bars will do her a lot of good in the long-run.

Best of luck!
 

wallinbl

Proud Parent
Jan 30, 2012
1,708
The coach's phrasing might be a very poor way of saying that he thinks she needs a better foundation before moving on. Find out if that's what's being said, and if that's what it is, then it may be a good thing for her. It may be a shock given how the other coach was proceeding, but repeating a level isn't a bad thing, happens all the time, and can often work out to being a very good thing.
 

wallflower

Proud Parent
May 16, 2012
2,362
CA
How old is she?

It may not have been handled delicately , but repeating could possibly be the best thing for her.
 

gympunkin

Proud Parent
Sep 3, 2010
35
I really appreciate everyone's comments and points of view. I know everyone is trying to give me constructive and realistic advice.

I just want to clarify that the problem is NOT that my dd might have to repeat L4. The problem is the fact that the head coach (who barely knows my dd - it is a fairly large gym) decided that dd's old coach who worked with dd 18 hours a week (same coach for all events) was completely wrong about dd. Chalkbucket is well known for saying "Trust the coach." Well, which coach?

The other problem is that the head coach made all of his comments in front of my dd. DD understands that bars are her weak point. But she was really upset about the comments about her floor and her beam, particularly her L4 routine. (She reminded me that several coaches in the gym had complimented her on the routine last season, and at the end of the year she was used to demonstrate the routine for the girls were just starting to learn it) And because she feels the beam and floor comments are unfair and inaccurate, she wonders if the head coach is really being accurate about her bars skills. And if she believes that the head coach is accurate, then what does that say about her old group coach. Why, she asks, should she trust what her new group coach says? And it has clearly shaken her confidence in herself.

I am going to talk to the head coach (I hope this week) because I am really disturbed by the contradiction between the two coaches' assessment of my dd and also by the way the head coach's assessment was communicated. I am not optomistic, but this gym is our only realistic option. (Next closest gym is an hour's drive the other direction - I miss the big city with lots of gym options).

Would you leave your dd in a gym that behaved this way? Assuming the head coach stands by his assessment, what can I say to my dd?
 

wallflower

Proud Parent
May 16, 2012
2,362
CA
How old is she?

It's highly possible that the head coach really hasn't seem your daughter much. I'd talk to the coach again and maybe ask him to evaluate her.

But it's also possible that this coach has different standards than the old coach. Sometimes when coaches/teachers work with and really like kids they see them for where they have come from, their growth, their potential. It can cloud their judgement.

This coach might just be telling it like he sees it and he doesn't like what he sees.
 

wallflower

Proud Parent
May 16, 2012
2,362
CA
Nobody was there for your conversation other than you so this is pure speculation based on human nature. Sometimes blunt/honest delivery when it's something you really don't like to hear can be taken badly.

I have found coaches to be short/blunt because they are usually doing a thousand things at one time. Blunt can come across as rude even if its not the intention.

Maybe the coach is really just a jerk, but I'd give them a chance. It's hard to hear you are being moved back and coaches aren't always sensitive to how hard that is to hear for kids and parents.
 

gympunkin

Proud Parent
Sep 3, 2010
35
Wallflower, my dd will turn 11 this summer. Not sure what difference that makes.

I am a little confused by your suggestion. There are only two coaches involved in this situation - my dd's group coach who is now gone and the head coach. I think it would have been a great idea for the head coach to have evaluated dd before assigning her to a new group, but there was certainly no formal evaluation by him. DD knows who her new group coach but will not start in her group until next week. Are you suggesting that I ask the new group coach to evaluate dd once dd is in her group? Ask the head coach to evaluate her formally?
 

3rd_time_around

Proud Parent
Judge
Oct 25, 2010
1,976
It seems strange that she's in a 4/5 group, but has to go down to a 3/4 group. Both have training for 4, and uptraining is good thing, even if you compete the lower level. If she placed 2nd at State on lvl 4 beam, how is her beam routine not good enough? It does seem strange and abrupt. A private meeting with HC is the best way to go, with her scores handy, and also have an open mind and have a real conversation. Hope it all works out for everyone involved.
 
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gympunkin

Proud Parent
Sep 3, 2010
35
Wallflower, I am not sure what you mean by nobody was there but me. This occurred at a meeting of all the parents and kids in dd's group. And I am really not sure how anything I am saying is "speculation based on human nature." As for the head coach having a thousand things to do, this was not a meeting in the lobby as the head coach was on his way out the door. It was a meeting at the time and place of the head coach's choosing for the specific purpose of telling us what would happen after old coach left. I think he should have been able to focus just on us for those 20 minutes.
 

Haismom

Proud Parent
May 28, 2014
61
48
Myrtle Beach SC
As I have learned nothing is set in stone, especially during summer, lots of work can be done, don't get frustrated...
If she consistently shows the skills needed to progress, and the desire and drive to move forward, that is around the time a lot of girls lose steam and quit... It seems like that is when you separate the girls who are ready to commit their lives to the gym from those who just liked having fun...
 

Becauseisaid

Proud Parent
Jul 15, 2013
736
Nashville, TN
Silly question, but does the HC even know which gymnast is yours? You state it's a large gym and the HC is not actively involved with your DD's group. Sounds to me like he may have gotten his girls confused.

I would recommend making an appointment to talk to him. Some time when he's not running crazy because he's lost a coach. Respectfully ask his plan for your DD and explain that you were a bit confused about his comments and hope he can clarify. There is nothing wrong with saying, "You mention that DD's routine was bad; however she placed 2nd at state.". Regardless of his answers, you'll leave the meeting with a better idea of what is going on.
 

munchkin3

Proud Parent
Jun 6, 2008
2,102
Let go of expectations, especially in this sport.
'Let it go, let it go'

I have finally realized after 7 yrs in this nutty sport, when HC says, 'I don't know where she will be in 2 months', it's because he really does not know how a kid will develop at a specific point in time. They may jump ahead, they may get stuck. Coaching remains constant, and they always push.
DD is bolting forward, but I know at ANY POINT, she may regress, loose a skill, get a block.......'let it go'.
I've seen it happen MANY times......it gets worse when parents ADD to the stress......'let it go'

Once the gym mechanics work out, try and be positive where she ends up. If she really does not belong where she is, then have a quick meeting. But be careful about conveying to your daughter where YOU think she is as a gymnast. Some skills take a long time to mature. Doing it WELL takes time.
 
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wallflower

Proud Parent
May 16, 2012
2,362
CA
Wallflower, my dd will turn 11 this summer. Not sure what difference that makes.

I am a little confused by your suggestion. There are only two coaches involved in this situation - my dd's group coach who is now gone and the head coach. I think it would have been a great idea for the head coach to have evaluated dd before assigning her to a new group, but there was certainly no formal evaluation by him. DD knows who her new group coach but will not start in her group until next week. Are you suggesting that I ask the new group coach to evaluate dd once dd is in her group? Ask the head coach to evaluate her formally?

Age matters because if she were 7 or 8 then the coach could be thinking this child could probably do the skills in 5, but lets give her another year in level 4 to polish since she is so young. Clearly that isn't the case with your child if she is 11.

Yes I meant you should ask the head coach for a formal evaluation. He may not even know who your child is. I don't know because we aren't there, if he sees her daily, saw her one day, etc.

What I meant by nobody was there is exactly that. Nobody on this board heard this conversation except for you. You asked if we would leave our kids at a gym where you were treated like that. Well we weren't there. Different people take things differently.

I can't tell you the number of times, especially in gymnastics, where I've heard the coach say something and heard one thing. 2 other people had completely different feelings about the conversation. I think it's worth giving a human being the benefit of the doubt and sitting down and talking to him. If this was a meeting with an entire group of people that isn't exactly the right venue to discuss your child personally. I would not feel comfortable asking questions, asking for further explanation and I doubt the coach had the the time to really give you the time you needed.

What I meant by human nature is that it is often difficult to seperate message from delivery. When people in general (maybe not you!) hear bad news and it isn't handled sensitively, they can view the delivery as being negative even if it wasn't. It's possible he's a perfectly great guy and meant no harm.

Bottom line is you need to have a private conversation and feel like you understand the situation.
 
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