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Srose

Coach
Gymnast
Fan
Nov 4, 2020
29
27
Hello friends,

I am a team coach at my gym and I have a variety of ages on team, but the oldest is about 14. Lately, she’s been showing up late (but the car is in the parking lot so she’s physically at the gym, just in the parking lot) and when asked if everything is okay, she says everything is fine. She just got a boyfriend so that may be a part of it. Also, she takes long bathroom breaks with her phone and disappears for a whole rotation (anywhere from 20-40 minutes). She said she has to be late because of school, and that may be, but I have some doubts and the long bathroom breaks point to that. The gymnast doesn’t apologize for being late or acknowledge it.

I don’t want to be a wild coach who monitors phone usage and bathroom breaks. But I’m frustrated at the abuse of my team and the rest of the team’s time when she’s in the parking lot but doesn’t come in or when she’s in the bathroom missing out on drills. And of course, I want to be sure she’s mentally okay.

TLDR Gymnast keeps showing up late, has been in the parking lot for long periods of time and takes long bathroom breaks with her phone
 

WV Gym Mom

Proud Parent
Mar 7, 2022
69
48
Sounds like a typical teen, at that age its super hard to be separated from non-gym friends for long practices. But any behavior changes can also be signs of issues or struggles, too. Have you talked to her parent(s) about your concerns? Do you have any phone rules? At our gym, they have to go in the lockers and do NOT come out unless its an emergency.
 

Srose

Coach
Gymnast
Fan
Nov 4, 2020
29
27
Sounds like a typical teen, at that age its super hard to be separated from non-gym friends for long practices. But any behavior changes can also be signs of issues or struggles, too. Have you talked to her parent(s) about your concerns? Do you have any phone rules? At our gym, they have to go in the lockers and do NOT come out unless its an emergency.
Thanks for your response. We don’t have lockers sadly, but I want them. Their items go in cubbies at the front of the gym. Even when I let them take their waters with them during practice, she’ll go to the bathroom frequently. My last gym had lockers, ugh. I have phone rules (as in no phones during practice), but she grabs it when she says she needs to go to the bathroom or get a sip of water. I really don’t want to have to watch them take a water break as they should be able to handle that. And, 99% of them handle it fine. I obviously don’t want to police the bathroom. I haven’t spoken to the mother yet, but I plan on it. I’m just trying to think things over first.

I live in a very….relaxed area. People are easy flowing and liberal (not speaking politically) and the kids are often allowed to do whatever they want because there’s a large amount of wealth and privilege. I am, of course, looking for a tactful way to approach the subject, especially when the parent is the kind to believe her child doesn’t do anything wrong.
 

Aussie_coach

Staff member
Gold Membership
Coach
Proud Parent
Gymnast
Club Owner / Manager
Jan 4, 2008
3,953
Is she still keen on gymnastics in general? When teens hit a point where they are getting close to being done you usually see disengagement in general.

You might start seeing things like poor attendance, taking fewer turns, lack of interest.

When she is actually in the gym doing drills, skills etc. is she still keen, wanting to achieve goals etc.

It may be time to have a chat and see if she wants to continue?
 
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Aussie_coach

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Gymnast
Club Owner / Manager
Jan 4, 2008
3,953
If she is late, and says she has to be late that is fine. But I would make sure she understands that she needs to complete full warm up, conditioning, stretching etc before joining the others for the more “fun” skill work.

I would not present this as a punishment, but as making sure her body has what it needs to safely and successfully participate in gymnastics.
 

Aussie_coach

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Gymnast
Club Owner / Manager
Jan 4, 2008
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The phone thing would be a no way for me.

I don’t allow kids to bring phones into the gym ever!

I have them bring their water bottles into the gym, not their bags. They are not allowed to go back to their bags during the gym, they have their grips and water bottle with them, so no need to return to their bags.

I’d look at how you can set things up so the kids don’t have access to their phones during gym. This teen sounds like she might have a phone addiction.
 

Aussie_coach

Staff member
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Gymnast
Club Owner / Manager
Jan 4, 2008
3,953
I know you don’t want to be the mean coach, but they do need rules and expectations and limits.

If you let everything slide, you are going to get increasingly frustrated and others may start to display similar behaviour.
 
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CuriousCate

Proud Parent
Jul 12, 2016
681
I would not say anything about the parking lot… I assume that this person is sitting in the car with her parent, so not much to do there. Plus, my kids frequently walked in a bit late to practice while having arrived in the parking lot on time. I would make them sit in the car and eat prior to such a long practice.

As for cell phone rules, you may want to create an official policy, discuss with the entire team, and email it out to all of the parents. That way you have something to go on that is reasonably indisputable should her behavior continue.
 

JPC13

Proud Parent
Mar 25, 2022
342
Our gym has a no phones in the bathroom policy which I think is very smart for privacy reasons.
No phones in the bathroom is a total no brainer. The last thing a gym, or kid, needs is to usage someone snap a nasty picture and post it online.

Zero tolerance on phones in the bathroom IMO.