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gymnastixmom4

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Feb 26, 2022
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Hi everyone. I'm in a sort of predicament regarding my daughter and her gym. She has 2 great coaches (personality) but they aren't the strongest in skill teaching (I haven't seen much progress from any of the other girls in almost 2 months).

There is another coach that sometimes does extra practices but this particular coach is very difficult to deal with. Constantly saying "so and so is doing better than you, your going to let that happen" and playing OBVIOUS favorites. I understand that people play favorites and don't even realize this, but this one is so obvious other parents at gym talk about it.

My child has always been the one that wants to go to practice and do extra practices, but she told me today that she never wants to do an extra practice. I asked why and she said, "the coach said they weren't spotting me anymore and walked away every time I worked on a skill. I felt like they didn't want to help me. This is the first time I wanted to cry and leave gym." Now, my child is not a crier.... for anything, so for her to feel this way just didn't sit right with me.

So my question is, do any of you have issues with coaches showing such blatant favoritism? If so, how did you go about it? I try not to let it bother me, but I think I've had enough. My child loves the gym, but I'm tempted to yank her and put her somewhere else.

Also just a random question, is it normal for coaches to have EXTREMELY friendly relationships with parents? Meaning texting about personal life matters and things that don't involve gymnastics? Maybe I'm too professional and want to keep a coach/parent/athlete relationship rather than a coach/buddy relationship lol.

Thanks in advance and sorry if it sounds like complaining, I think I just needed to vent a little bit and see what everyone else thinks about the situation and if this is normal. :)
 

MuggleMom

Proud Parent
Dec 22, 2016
810
Virginia
The playing favorites and refusal to spot is more concerning than the coach being friends with some of the parents. I know there are some existing relationships between coaches and parents outside of gym so its hard to say why a coach my be closer with some parents but in the gym all kids should be treated fairly. I would be looking for a new gym.
 

gymgal

Gold Membership
Proud Parent
Aug 22, 2008
4,660
generally if a parent and the child are unhappy with the gym, it's just time to move on. If you have other options start talking to your dd about the possibility and get her thoughts. How old is she and what level is she?

parent/coach friendships? I agree, I prefer that it stays more professional but I am in health care where you don't blur work/social lines.
 

ReluctantGymMom

Proud Parent
May 11, 2020
326
32
Coach playing favorites: problem

Coach having personal friendships with some parents: not a problem. You don’t know where they may know them from and you can’t stop people being friends, it’s not a point of contention
 

Tiger93

Proud Parent
May 7, 2020
12
47
I agree that the texting about non gymnastics issues isn’t a problem within itself. I have known one of my girls coaches since I was 12, basically grew up at each others houses, and we were in each other’s weddings. When we text and get together we do not talk about the gym at all. Because really how many people want to talk about work on their free time. Also aside from one other parent who was at the same gym as the coach and I were when we were young, no one knows of our past relationships. My girls know and yes they have more of a history with that coach but I have told my girls not to really talk about it as it is my past and not theirs.

The not wanting to spot is a much larger issue and if that does not change I would leave the gym.
 

Aussie_coach

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Jan 4, 2008
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Obviously your situation is different if a lot of people are saying the favouritism is blatant.

But all coaches have favourites, the art of good coaching is to be aware of it and not make it obvious to others. But as human beings our personalities are more drawn to certain people than others. All coaches have gymnasts they just love to teach, ones that inspire them, ones who they really look forward to coaching. It’s not always a bad thing, the drive to coach those athletes well can make them better coaches for everyone.

Just like all gymnasts have favourite coaches.

Not everyone has enough self awareness to know they have favourites and may not be treating all equally. But everyone has them.
 
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Aussie_coach

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Not spotting and walking away when someone needs help isn’t always a negative thing either.

In many, many years of coaching, I have found spotting to be one of the less effective ways to help kids learn.

Sure, I spot, but generally only to help a gymnast understand how a skill feels. I find a much more effective way to teach is to break down the skill, drill the skill, and have them work up to it. Not rely on the coach spotting.

And yes, I will spot some gymnasts and not others, on certain skills. It doesn’t mean I prefer one gymnast so I spot them. It’s because you get to know each kid and what works best for some kids is not the same for others.

Or because they are at different points with the skill.
 

Aussie_coach

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Strongly against coaches having a relationship with parents outside then gym though, unless they happened to know them before hand.

My coaches are not allowed to have parents contact details, socialise with parents outside the gym, contact gymnasts or parents in social media etc.

Rarely does that turn out well.
 

doublestrike

Proud Parent
Jun 16, 2018
178
58
Not spotting is the biggest issue, you are paying him to do so and it's a safety issue. Unfortunately, he's not going to change, so I'd switch gyms. I've seen coaches overtly favor gymnasts, and I've seen coaches select gymnasts for higher level coaching because of their ability to learn faster and obvious talent. It's human nature to like some people more than others. The latter, grouping by talent is almost necessary as you advance with the sport so that the gymnasts that can learn faster benefit from it. I don't like it that coaches are friendly with families outside of the gym and I've seen parents bend over backwards to do so, but as long as it didn't affect my gymnast (it didn't) I didn't care.
 

LJL07

Proud Parent
Jan 27, 2014
1,856
I think it is one thing if the parents had a prior relationship with the coach and are buddy/buddy. On the other hand, I think a coach/owner running a gym who is overly involved with parents AND kids and develops this type of relationship after the kids are at the gym can be problematic. It's just poor boundaries and usually ends up creating problems. Unfortunately, it seems pretty common in the sport. At our previous gym, I initially thought it was great that the coach/owner took such a personal interest in the kids and families. It was a very "strings attached" sort of thing though, and if the owner was ever questioned about anything, he got very defensive and angry. The owner was doing personal favors for some families and kids and not others and given that we always paid our tuition and towed the line, I started to feel resentful after a while. It's a business, and it seemed unprofessional. From the standpoint of the kids, they got very attached because it was so family oriented and then felt confused when the coach would do a 180 because he was angry with a parent. I don't think that's a great way to treat kids.

Similarly, the coach also played favorites, and it was pretty random. I noticed that he also tended to blow off the kids with injuries because it required more time and patience to rehab and he didn't feel like putting the time or attention in. He really only wanted to work with "easy kids," but this is probably normal too. He lost almost the whole group of upper optionals because of these issues. I agree with doublestrike above that it absolutely makes sense to fast track certain kids or group them together based on skills. I have no problem with this. I would agree that not spotting is potentially a safety problem.
 
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