Parents Frustrated about a mom on DD's team that continually sandbags her DD for wins

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Proud Parent
Aug 30, 2013
There is a girl on DD's team that has been continually up trained 2 levels above but the mom refuses to have her compete at those levels and wants her to compete a level below where the coaches would like to place her. It is extremely frustrating because my DD is in her age group. Obviously she is much further ahead of my DD and therefore it is frustrating for my DD because she sees herself as inadequate. Her daughter will have the opportunity for all the wins and it is a completely unfair playing field for my DD and the others who are competing at a level where they should be.
I understand your frustrations...I don't think it is uncommon for girls to uptrain a level or two ahead though, some gyms want them to compete at the level they are perfect at (to pull in those big scores) and some gyms want them to be more challenged in competition. But even if they moved her up, you would still run into the same type of competition from other gyms. My dd competes against several girls in our area that could easily be competing the next level up. I try to keep her focused on achieving her "personal best" ie improving all around scores from meet to meet and that way she isn't too disappointed if she doesn't place as well as she would like.
Yes that is very true cadybearsmommy. I'm sure there are a lot of gyms in the state that do the same thing. I am okay with that because DD will not compete against the same gyms at every meet, therefore there is some chance that DD could have the opportunity to medal. It is just frustrating because DD will be competing against this teammate at every meet so there is very little to no chance for my DD. This case is not because of DD's gym does it to sandbag wins because the HC wants to move her up to a higher level but the mother will not agree to it unfortunately.
You mean the mother, not the coach, is determining what level the child will compete. You must be at one of the few gyms in the country where that happens. Would not happen at our gym, although mothers would pushing for their daughter to compete UP a level, not DOWN! ;)
I feel like our coach lets parents dictate a little too much but I don't think she would let this situation happen because of how it reflects on her gym. I mean, where is the victory in a win like you're describing???

I mean, we all want our kids to win. It's natural. I unsuccessfully petitioned for my daughter not to move up mid season because she was having a successful, but not dominating, year. It was fun to be top 3 again. But the coach still did what SHE wanted, not what I wanted.

So I get that...I get that it is more fun to win. But dang.....It wouldn't feel awesome to have my L7 ganging up on a bunch of L4s and winning. That wouldn't make me feel proud. I'd kind of be embarrassed.

Too bad the mother doesn't believe in her kid enough to match her against kids of her similar skill level. :-(
Sounds like a HC problem...although there may be much more to the story than you know...there recently was boy in our state who competed L5 as a repeat after winning states and dominating at regionals...he was young, and this year is competing L7 (boys can just skip levels) and is doing well but not point is that the coach had a plan that worked for that kid. Maybe there are fear issues or particular events this girl is struggling with that are not obvious to you...

There will always be a "kid" better than each of ours...whether it be academics, music, gym, baseball, for them to learn that right off the bat and get on with doing what they can and will with their own talents/passions...As parents, I see it as our job to keep them from worrying about winning or beating various kids (on their team or others) that long term will lead to poor sportsmanship or too much of an external motivation for success...I personally would tell my daughter to congratulate her teammate for jobs well done, and move on.

This does not mean that I don't encourage my kids to set goals, and that sometimes those goals don't include "I'd really like to score as well as so and so on beam, etc..." but each child/family/team has their own path to follow...your only a part of your daughters/sons.

One thing we always find helpful is a sit down with the head coach to make an action plan specific to my DD or DS....unrelated to what happens with the other kids. As a parent my questions get answered as do those of DD/DS...goals are set specific to my kids' strengths and weaknesses, and long term gym plans are included. When that kind of communication happens I feel less caught up in what other gymnasts are or are not doing...and I can only assume that just as DD HC is well aware of my DD strengths/weaknesses and has a "plan" that is specific to her, the same is likely true for the other girls - and unlikely to be parent driven....
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That does sound frustrating. I agree that is does sound like a HC issue. Sounds like it would be a slippery slope once you let the parents start calling the shots!
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I'm just curious - how did you come to know that the mom was pushing for a level down from where coach recommended? Did the coach openly discuss this? Or you happened to be in earshot one day? Or did the mom openly admit her strong desire to see her daughter on the podium ?

I'm just curious what kinds of things people talk about openly on this topic. I'm thinking I would feel really weird if a coach admitted to me he/she was holding back another child because of a mom's wishes. Then again, maybe I would think to myself "Cool! Maybe I can influence coach when I want my little Susie moved up/down..." ;-)

Anyway, I do sympathize with your situation. That is tough for your daughter. Hopefully she will feel her own sense of accomplishment beyond how she 'places' compared to the more experienced gymnast.
You mean the mother, not the coach, is determining what level the child will compete. You must be at one of the few gyms in the country where that happens. Would not happen at our gym, although mothers would pushing for their daughter to compete UP a level, not DOWN! ;)
I can't see dds coaches letting that happen. They decide the level not the parents. If parents have an issue they will talk about it ( and it usually is to Compete up a Level not down)
but it's the head coaches decision.
This mother has a history of doing this and I've heard from others that she is doing this again when the HC suggested a her daughter compete a higher level. She'll use any excuse she can from prevent it from happening and even threatened to leave in the past.
Is this girl repeating levels after mastering them, or are her skills just 1-2 levels above what she is competing? Usually the girls winning every meet and getting high 37s/38s in compulsories could be competing higher, but that doesn't mean the coaches/parents are necessarily sandbagging.

I do understand your frustrations though!
She repeated a lower compulsory level 2 seasons ago and has been trained up a level to two ever since. She has been way ahead of the game and scoring 37 at start of season to 38ish AA by seasons end.
That is frustrating, but I'm with do you know the mom is calling the shots? That is unheard of at our gym. The coaches decide each gymnast's level.

While frustrating, it happens. My DD is having a very good season for her (just scored very close to a 37) but doesn't have a chance to win because there are two very talented girls repeating in her level who are in her age group, on her own team. These girls just weren't ready for the next level, although they are kicking butt in this level. Who knows what's happening behind the scenes with the girl you're talking about. Frustrating? Sure, but I just tell my DD it's about doing HER best...medals/placements aren't everything.
I can't really imagine our HC letting parents call the shots like that.

In any event, sometimes this stuff happens. Unless you heard something directly and not hearsay, I would take it with a grain of salt. There are two girls in my DD's level who are always in the same age group, and one consistently wins over the other. The one who wins happens to have some higher level skills, but not enough to compete up a level or two. They're just different gymnasts.
Is your daughter getting what she needs? Is she getting good coaching? Is she making progress? Is she enjoying gymnastics? If you answered yes, then just keep telling yourself that those are the things that matter. The other stuff has a way of working itself out over time. Whenever things seem like they're not fair (and, if she sticks with the sport, this won't be the last time) just ask yourself if your DD is getting what she needs, and as long as the answer is "yes", take a deep cleansing breath, and let the rest go. This is one of the two most important lessons I've learned in my years on CB. The other is to let DD's gym journey be her own.
Well,,,, lets look at things a bit more simplistic. When your DD goes to college, or the olympics, she will not have any divisions or age groups. So who cares who does what?
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