For Parents Dealing with coach pressure

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Hi, I'm new here and my daughter (8 yrs old) just made level 4 team at the beginning of the summer! YEAH! She has been in gym since she was 3, has worked very hard and she is so proud to be on the team. However, now that we are into the 3rd week of practice...longer hours, more days, new coaches, she has started to complain about the pressure from the coaches. I'm sure they are a bit harder on them at this level. Usually this is not an issue for her. She only complains at bedtime (tired, I'm sure), never on the way to gym or after gym. I know she can get through this, I just don't know how to respond to her when she tells me she doesn't like the pressure from the coaches. What should I say? I can use any advice, thank you!

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summer training is usually more intense at most gyms than it is during the school year. what exactly is this "pressure" she feels from the coaches? There is definitely more conditioning and more repetitios of skills once you make team than there is rec classes - perhaps this is all just so new to her and she isn't used to the increased demands??


Do her coaches over correct everything?? This can be very stressful for some gymmies. I know at our first gym they corrected every little detail every single repetition and dd was stressed out. Sometimes she just wanted to do it her way. Correction is important but too much can be stressful.
Jan 31, 2009
My guess would be that she is adjusting to the newness of everything - coaches, schedule, and hours. Does she give any specific examples of pressure from the coaches? Is it pressure to learn new skills, or a specific skill that might be giving her trouble? Is it more general? Because on team the coaches are going to be much more critical with corrections then she might be use to just coming from Rec or pre-team. If she is sensitive to criticism she may have a negative reaction to this. Talk to her about how the coaches job is to find and make corrections so that she can be a great gymnast - and not to take it personally. I do this by asking alot of questions when my dd is feeling singled pressured at the gym. Examples of questions - do you feel that it is only you the coach is pressuring? Why? Why do you think the coach would make that correction or ask you to do that skill over?
Usually my dd can talk herself right out of the pressure if I just listen and toss in a few words of mommy wisdom about learning from mistakes, or taking each practice as it comes or making small goals to break down big challenges.

And the final thing that really gets her and has held true at every gym we have been at (3 total) If the coach is pressuring you it is because he believes you can do something - trust them.
Jan 22, 2008
I know at out gym when the new level 4's start the coaches are oober tough on them. Last year we had girls really stressed because of the pressure because what was acceptable in Pre-team and classes was all of a sudden not acceptable. It is almost like the old joke you say I do and the other says "some things have got to change" I am expecting I am going to see it with the newbies that will arrive in a couple of weeks. They to emphise a lot more in the beginning of the movement. It is almost like getting them started with the toughness and then they lighten up. I had to laugh at our Pre-team last year when they moved. Everything that was praised two days ago was all of a sudden the worst skills they have ever done. Mind you they had the same coach so that is where the humor really came from.

As we told our girls it is a whole new game on team and the expectation is far greater. Once they get used to the new routine it does get easier. Now our girls are told to do conditioning they don't groan they just do it and get through it. Most of the time the team still wants to play and tumble after practice.


Proud Parent
Aug 16, 2008
I'd definitely give it a few weeks and let the newness settle in. Going to team is often a big change in attitude and expectations and it can be unsettling. My DD cried the first week of team! I am betting she will settel in quickly though and get used to it all.:)


Proud Parent
Mar 7, 2008
Region 7
Congrats to your DD for moving up to team! As others have said, it could be the changes in schedule, longer practices, different coaches, and most of all adjusting to the "seriousness" of team where rec classes or pre-team might have been much more relaxed. I would give it a few weeks so she can settle in.

FWIW, my 12 yr old who has been on team for 5 years still feels "pressured" sometimes LOL. It is usually when she is learning a new skill and there are lots of repetitions and corrections.
1. What do other L4 parents (especially other new ones) think? If none of them is saying the same for their children, the issue may be unique to your child.

2. Have you had a chance to observe a practice? If not, make such a request to stay for a session or two. Ideally, it's best to watch quietly from a hidden area when you child doesn't know you're watching. Be objective.

As others have pointed out, the source of the stress may go beyond or may not be related to the coaches. Every child is different in expressing frustration. Being a new team member can be a very stressful thing.

Also, every gym is different. Our program is very easy on the L4s. Pretty much anything goes (without reasons of course). So, pretty much all our girls are happy. The major difference from preteam is the hours of practice. The pressure and focus progressively increase as they go up the ranks.

Good luck.
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Proud Parent
Mar 9, 2008
I'm assuming this will be her 1st year of competition. Maybe the coaches are making comments (in general, to the group) like, you have to learn this skill/routine to compete? And that's the kind of pressure she's feeling??? Just a guess on my part. But that's the type of thing my DD used to do/think. She's always been a perfectionist. So she thought(still thinks I should say,LOL!) she had to do every skill perfectly, from the 1st time she tried it! Since your DD never had to have skill in a certain time frame before(I assume), maybe this is the pressure she's feeling??? Our gym was pretty easy on the L4's(L5 they stepped it up a lot though). My DD's "pressure" was really self imposed back then. Now I know that's just her personality, a perfectionist to the max:rolleyes:. Maybe your DD just needs some encouragement, that she doesn't have to get all of her skills overnight. She has lots of time! When is her 1st competition? She just needs to do her best & try hard at every practice & ENJOY what she's doing:). Good luck & congrats to her on moving up to L4!!! Best wishes to you both!


My oldest DD always felt pressure from her coaches too, but alot of it was just HER taking general comments personally--she needed to learn to separate out what was meant for her and those comments aimed at some of the gymnastics, but not her specifically.

I'd remind your DD that the coaches on team are there to help her improve her skills, so she's ready to compete at a meet. She is pretty young, but can still understand that they want to help her improve and get better--and correcting her form etc. on a skill is that way to do that. It's like if her teacher at school let her constantly read a word wrong, she'd never learn how to read it correctly! They're there to help her :)
Jan 9, 2008
My daughter went through this on her 1st year of team I am sure it is pretty common. I would just be supportive and listen to her. My daughter eventually got used to it while some of the other kids went to other gyms or just decided competitive gymnastics was not for them. There were times when my daughter cried before going to practice. Just take it one day at a time, the coaches expectations are much greater when they are on the team it definitely a transistion.


Proud Parent
Proud Parent
Sep 25, 2007
Congrats to her on moving to level 4!!

As others have said, I think it is pretty common. The move up to team is hard, increased hours, new expectations, it can be overwhelming. My DD was 5 1/2 when she moved up and she wanted to go back to her developmental/pre-team class. She had such an idea of what "team" was and it was hard for her when it wasn't what she thought. Summer is also the time for strength and conditioning, so that can be a huge adjustment.

Just keep positive with her, listen and let her know you are there to listen. I imagine it will pass and she will be loving team really soon.

Granny Smith

Proud Parent
Jun 21, 2007
To me it doesn't sound like the coaches are pressuring her to do anything in particular, but it just seems that she is getting used to a new style of coaching.

Team is different that rec or pre-team, it can be tough and the coaches have expectations of these girls. I wouldn't say that team isn't fun, because it is to many of these girls, but they are pushed and challenged to do things that they probably thought the couldn't do.

It's hard at her age to really explain to her what is going on. My dd is 12 (will be 13 in Sept.) when a coach (especially bars coach) is harder on her or really just focuses on the small details (and he doesn't with the other girls in her group) I tell her he expects more out of you. He knows what you are capable of and is just demanding that level from you.

I also always say that don't be upset that they are coaching you, it is when they don't coach you that you need to worry because that means they have basically given up on you. These are all hard concepts for an 8 yr old to grasp.

At 8, I would just say to go work your best and every day I give my dd a kiss before practice (in the car so no one really sees us) and I tell her to work hard and have fun (everyday, I say this.) Hard work will pay off, but she has to want it! ;)
Jan 31, 2009
I also always say that don't be upset that they are coaching you, it is when they don't coach you that you need to worry because that means they have basically given up on you. These are all hard concepts for an 8 yr old to grasp.

At 8, I would just say to go work your best and every day I give my dd a kiss before practice (in the car so no one really sees us) and I tell her to work hard and have fun (everyday, I say this.) Hard work will pay off, but she has to want it! ;)

I think you must be eavesdropping on us because I say these exact same things to my dd everyday. Though she doesn't mind a hug and a quick peck in side the gym

gym law mom

Proud Parent
Dec 23, 2006
I agree with the other posters---this too should pass. Moving to team is like starting gymnastics all over again. Certainly more hours, different coaches and styles, probably more conditioning and more corrections. It all adds up and the child wonders what is going on here!

Talk with her when she isn't tired and discuss that these coaches are working with her to get the routines and skills looking very nice so when meets start she'll be ready. Is she getting enough sleep? Might have to get her to bed a little earlier on nights when she has practice the next day. All in all it should even out with a couple more weeks and dd understanding what this team thing is all about. If she continues to complain or seems down, then you need to probe more with her as to specifics(what she feels is pressure or bad) and maybe talk with a coach.


I know at our gym when girls and boys move into L4 and start the "Real Team" practice the coaches are a little harder on them and do give a bit more pressure. There is also more days and hours of practice over the summer than what we get in the fall, winter and spring. When the Fall comes they do ease up a bit. The reason I was given when my DD was a L4 - was that is how the weed out those girls who won't be able to handle the pressure of a meet situation and to see who (girls/boys and parents) is really dedicated to being on team.

Ive seen alot of really great gymnasts not make it though the summer because the parents didn't realize this isn't little league.
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