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Coney

Proud Parent
Dec 10, 2017
4
52
Hey everyone!
I have a question(s) that I'm hoping you all will have some advice for...

I should give you a little history I suppose. My DD has been absolutely obsessed with gymnastics since she was 2. We found a tumbling acrobat kind of gym in our neighborhood that would start kids at 2.5 y.o., so we immediately signed her up.

She started at her first gymnastics gym when she was 4, and went quickly to preteam, level 2 and 3. That particular gym's head coach was way too stressful and manipulative and really put her into a panic most days. So we left.

We followed 2 of her favorite coaches from that gym to a new gym that was opening, but it was Xcel, and not a good Xcel program at that. After a year, my DD (who aspires to be high level like Miley OKeefe) got bored and wasn't thriving. So we left.

We tried out another gym for their Xcel program, but it wasn't right, and that gym suggested another gym we should try, so we went there to see what it was like. We immediately fell in love with it, they wanted her on their JO team, it didn't seem stressful at all, we loved the coaches. Done!

We've been there more than a year, but lately things have gotten really weird.

The level 4/5 coach left mid season, out of the blue, stating "troubles with the management". They gym had just hired a general manager (with 10 years of experience as a GM of a gym) to take over operations and also coach the 4/5's and optionals. She seemed to be making good progress with the girls, and my DD responded great and improved in her form and details in the month since she's been there, her scores went up and she was super excited to go to practice.

Then we got a call last week that the gym let the GM go stating 'didn't match the philosophy of the gym'. And another team coach quit a day later. Sheesh! They had to cancel practice because of lack of coaches.

The GM called me later that day though, to explain that she had gotten a business loan and was opening her own gym and would we consider keeping that idea in mind. She would find a gym to rent space in for the time being. I said yes. It'll take a few months to get things settled on her end, so we'll stay at our current gym to keep training for the time being. The kid has to keep training.

One thing, this gym, however, does not have any high level top notch girls, and I just found out they aren't interested in training the team that way. Being high level and top notch is all my DD wants, but we're losing time. She needs to get training pretty heavy very soon if she's going to get to the level she needs for college or elite.

So, I guess here's the question, is it important we follow the coach that seemed to be making such great progress with our DD, and who our DD really loves working with? We've only known her a month, but I get a great feeling from her massively positive attitude and bubbly personality. I feel like she sees a future in gymnastics for my DD, and that really means a lot to our kid. Her confidence really went up when she won 3rd AA at states last week (yay!), and I'm sure the coaching was key.

Thoughts? (sorry so winded.)
 

curlygirls

Proud Parent
Sep 3, 2011
373
I would personally not be comfortable following the GM that your dd only worked with for 1 month. There’s a strong likelihood that the new gym she’s opening up won’t be able to make it financially. It would be better to find an established program that produces successful high level Optionals and has a coaching style that you are comfortable with. Maybe you could visit any options that are within a reasonable driving distance without your dd, and narrow down your options.
 

Coney

Proud Parent
Dec 10, 2017
4
52
The GM has trained optionals that won States at level 9 and 10, and expanded a gym's program greatly in just the first year that she had taken over management. So we know that she's capable of long term planning for athletes, that's one thing in her favor.

We've tried the gyms that were closest (within a half hour), and last year when we were looking for (yet) another new gym, the 2 other great gyms we liked were full and not taking any more team members. I kinda feel like we're almost out of options for good training where we don't have to drive an hour away. We're keeping an open mind, but i know that where we are is not interested in lifting up the girls team to be really good. They boys team is great though, so I feel that's where their focus is.
 

curlygirls

Proud Parent
Sep 3, 2011
373
The GM has trained optionals that won States at level 9 and 10, and expanded a gym's program greatly in just the first year that she had taken over management. So we know that she's capable of long term planning for athletes, that's one thing in her favor.

We've tried the gyms that were closest (within a half hour), and last year when we were looking for (yet) another new gym, the 2 other great gyms we liked were full and not taking any more team members. I kinda feel like we're almost out of options for good training where we don't have to drive an hour away. We're keeping an open mind, but i know that where we are is not interested in lifting up the girls team to be really good. They boys team is great though, so I feel that's where their focus is.

If compulsory competition season is just ending in your area, it may be worthwhile to check in again with the teams that were full last year. When competition season obligations are finished, many girls will decide to quit or move to other programs/activities.
 

strawberries

Coach
Proud Parent
Sep 20, 2014
412
I agree that it is worth re-checking some of the programs that were full before just in case, as this is when gymnasts move around. Even if you are set on following the current coach, it is amazing how much you and your daughter will learn about gymnastics, your local teams, types of coaches, types of programs, gather extra tips on skills, etc. just by doing as many tryouts as possible. You will never regret being well informed about why you are where you are. Even if it means when things get difficult at L7 or L8, you can reassure yourself that the grass was NOT greener at xyz gym down the street.
 

bookworm

Gold Membership
Proud Parent
A few thoughts....

#1 how old is your daughter? And what level is she?

#2 from what I can gather, you're in your 4th gym, still not on a team track and want to follow a former GM of a gym who currently has no space for you to follow to for "at least a few months"...and I can tell you this, if you're current gym (which from your story is the gym that canned the GM you want to follow) gets wind of you even entertaining moving to GM's "new gym", you will be shown the door as well. Keep your mouth shut about any contact to/from the former GM or other gyms, if you're not prepared to be kicked out.

3. If your daughter aspires to "be a high level like Maile O'Keefe", then you need to get her into a gym with an established program/coaches/track record like curlygirls suggested above...while you're feeling positive with the 1 month experience of the GM, the plan seems like a boondoggle at your daughter's expense....if GM doesn't get her space or it tanks because of a lousy business model, you're flapping in the breeze again....and will be looking for gym #6 in the space of about 2 years and that's insane. I would thank GM for his/her interest in your daughter and state that you can't commit to it at present because it doesn't exist, and that you will be doing what's best for your daughter and wish them luck...and move on and get her into a gym with a decent JO program, period. And don't look back.
 

duyetanh

Proud Parent
Feb 21, 2015
4,112
Find another gym. Way too many ifs with the one who is getting the biz loan. Just way too many. And your current gym sounds like it is about to implode....if that happens, MANY others will also be scrambling to find a gym....best to get in there before the crowd, and when you can GET in.....because the other teams might have a slot now that the season is over, but those slots will disappear quickly.
 
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Aussie_coach

Staff member
Gold Membership
Coach
Proud Parent
Gymnast
Club Owner / Manager
Jan 4, 2008
3,951
Business wise it is unethical for this GM to be phoning around the clients for the previous gym and telling them about opening a gym. Perhaps a sign that there may be other ethics overlooked in this new gym.
 

amiandjim

Proud Parent
Apr 18, 2015
1,653
45
I agree with the above statements, find a totally different gym. And if your daughter really has high aspirations and you want to support them, you may very well need to drive an hour. We drive 50-60 min depending on traffic...it’s not easy but it works.
 

Coney

Proud Parent
Dec 10, 2017
4
52
Hi guys,
I know I fell off the radar with this one, but I wanted to fill you in if you're interested.

We did end up following the GM coach to a gym she was hired at way back in January. (Not her own place, a really good established gym) She really helped us get in the door there with the head coach, and my DD was fine for the first few weeks training L6, but has been having stress issues due to one of the other coaches being too harsh, and some gym rules that she finds "really not fair". She's been refusing to go almost every practice day because of these issues. She loves the sport, and would train hard for anyone who treats her decent, but the one coach is so hard for her to work with, that she refuses to go in the door on most occasions.

Most of the coaches there (they usually have 6-8 on staff for team practice) she really likes, there's just this one that's really difficult for her.

Coming out of practice she's in a great mood and seems happy, though. She's training great there and she's looking great on bars, which she needed help on for sure.

She's, as of the moment, "taking time off". She's starting middle school next year, and I know that age 11 is a turning point for a lot of gymnasts. She keeps adamantly saying she's not quitting, she just wants to have a break to have a normal schedule and be a kid for at least a month. End of school year blues?

Now, I just found out that the GM we followed there moved back to her home state. Ugh! I feel like our gym lives got all screwy since December, and my DD wants to train good if she's going to be a gymnast. She doesn't want to go back to our previous gym where things are easy and fun, but the training isn't very good.

I'm not really sure how to proceed with things. I keep reiterating the fact that there will be tough coaches, but if you love gymnastics, just figure out how to work with the tough ones, and look forward to the ones you like, and stick it out.

Anyone here been in this boat? We don't have a long-term coach that's been working with her for years to talk to because we've changed gyms a few times to see if we could find one that's the right fit. I feel like we're trying to figure this out on our own, it would be great to sit down and talk with other gym parents and coaches.
 
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kayjaybe

Proud Parent
Jul 19, 2012
620
I'm not really sure how to proceed with things. I keep reiterating the fact that there will be tough coaches, but if you love gymnastics, just figure out how to work with the tough ones, and look forward to the ones you like, and stick it out.

I think you summed it up right there. She is going to have tough teachers, coaches, bosses and coworkers throughout life and needs to learn to deal with different people. This can be a great way to learn how to deal with someone that isn’t just fun & happy. If you move again, she might like the coach she has initially, but as she moves up levels, she might end up with another coach you don’t like. Will you move again?

You said she is in 6th grade, but I didn’t see what level she is. Assuming she isn’t already a successful L8 or higher, she’s really losing time to be a superstar or even be on the college track.

If the program is good and she has those dreams, I think the best path is to stick it out. If this gym has the ability to produce high level atheletes and you’ve pretty much exhausted everything else, she doesn’t have a lot of choice!
(Note: This advice is assuming that she just doesn’t like his training style and NOT that there is anything unsafe or inappropriate happening.)
 

CuriousCate

Proud Parent
Jul 12, 2016
681
echoing what kayjaybe said. There will always be tough coaches and personalities we don't mesh with but if she loves 6-8 of the coaches and only has a tough time with one, then there's just no reason to leave for that.... She's a smart girl to take a break if she feels she needs it. But then try and have her go back with a fresh attitude towards this coach as well. How did the coaches respond to the idea of a break? How long will she be off? Will they make her try out again to re-earn her team spot?
 

Sasha

Proud Parent
May 15, 2013
1,583
Can you elaborate on this statement with some examples?
"...has been having stress issues due to one of the other coaches being too harsh, and some gym rules that she finds "really not fair" "

Have you observed this coach at all? Talked with other parents about his/her practices? Have you had in depth conversations with your daughter about what, specifically, bothers her about the coach, how it makes her feel, and what, if anything, she has tried to do to communicate with the coach already? Have you yourself spoken with the coach about any concerns?

It's impossible for us to tell here whether your DD is just used to bubbly, upbeat coaching and is not finding herself motivated by a more serious or stern approach, or if the coach in question is being verbally abusive and/or actually "unfair" to gymnasts (arguably abusive in the sense that unfair = manipulative and disrespectful to athletes).

One thing is for sure - if she is 11 and is "refusing to go in the door on most occasions", she is not going to last very much longer in this sport. Something needs to change, and quickly. In the current climate of abusive coaching practices (finally) coming to light, and parents (at least some) finally sticking up for the good of their children and NOT accepting practices that don't support the emotional wellness of the athletes, you need to determine if the coaching style is truly appropriate or inappropriate.

How you help your daughter is 100% dependent on the answer to the above. Help us understand more in order to give any better advice to you.
 

Coney

Proud Parent
Dec 10, 2017
4
52
Thanks for the replies.
I agree, that she doesn't have much of a window left for time off. It's now or never really. She's training 6, just turned 11.

The "harsh coach": according to my daughter she doesn't encourage them, and if they can't do a skill, they're told to sit down the rest of the event. She really gets on them if they get upset from frustration. I have not spoken with this coach separately, and my DD is too scared to say anything to her, afraid of retaliation of the coach (being even harder on her).

The viewing area is glassed off from the floor, so I can't say anything specific that I've heard.

This gym trains great athletes, and my DD looks at them and says WOW! I wanna do that! I'm just not sure if she has it in her to stick out the hard moments. I'm so envious of kids who have their one great coach that they love to work with and that's the one they've had for years. I feel like that's what my DD has needed but hasn't gotten.

There are, as I mentioned, great coaches that she likes to work with there. It's just been a harder transition to the new place than I was anticipating.
 

CLgym

Proud Parent
Dec 22, 2014
1,165
I'm gonna throw a totally different perspective out there (and I'm sure some might not agree but....)

.... What if it's not "now or never"? Gymnastics shouldn't be a race, in my opinion. The goal shouldn't be Maile O'Keefe -- it should be to learn good gymnastics in a safe environment, have fun, make some friends, and hopefully learn some life lessons along the way. For a very few super talented girls, that path may take a turn down the elite road (often through TOPS and HOPES first). For others, it goes all the way to college gymnastics. But for most, the path is just learning gymnastics.

If it was my kid, I would be asking her what would make gymnastics fun again? What would make her excited about going? Does she want more time with friends? Is she interested in Xcel? What about T&T or aerials or cheer or dance or some other activity? I would dig a little bit more into the "harsh coach" thing to see if there is a better way to handle it than just ignoring.

As @Sasha stated -- It sounds like your DD is nearing the end of her gymnastics career unless something changes. It could be a new gym. But it could also be new gymnastics goals. Personally, I would take elite/college gym off the table right now -- and focus on what would make your daughter love going to the gym again.

Good luck and keep us posted.
 

John

Proud Parent
May 5, 2017
1,592
54
@CLgym for me you nailed it, if my Dani ever has this scenario present itself I will recall your post and ask her those questions.
 
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Freddy's Fred

Member
Nov 19, 2017
224
45
A few thoughts....

#1 how old is your daughter? And what level is she?

#2 from what I can gather, you're in your 4th gym, still not on a team track and want to follow a former GM of a gym who currently has no space for you to follow to for "at least a few months"...and I can tell you this, if you're current gym (which from your story is the gym that canned the GM you want to follow) gets wind of you even entertaining moving to GM's "new gym", you will be shown the door as well. Keep your mouth shut about any contact to/from the former GM or other gyms, if you're not prepared to be kicked out.

3. If your daughter aspires to "be a high level like Maile O'Keefe", then you need to get her into a gym with an established program/coaches/track record like curlygirls suggested above...while you're feeling positive with the 1 month experience of the GM, the plan seems like a boondoggle at your daughter's expense....if GM doesn't get her space or it tanks because of a lousy business model, you're flapping in the breeze again....and will be looking for gym #6 in the space of about 2 years and that's insane. I would thank GM for his/her interest in your daughter and state that you can't commit to it at present because it doesn't exist, and that you will be doing what's best for your daughter and wish them luck...and move on and get her into a gym with a decent JO program, period. And don't look back.

I could tell you the story of being strung along for two years while our gym got a loan, then got a space then lost the space, then suddenly closed bankrupt -- but I'll spare you the details. A bird in the hand...
 
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