For Parents Inconsistent coaches

SqueakyS

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Sep 21, 2021
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I hope this makes sense! My daughter is 5 years old, has been doing gymnastics for 2 years. We have been at the same gym from the start. Up until the last 3 months we have had zero issues. She was recently invited to an advanced, invitation only team. On that team she seemed to accel, was once again invited to another, more advanced invitation only team, after 2 months on the first. At first everything was great and then her coach was injured. He couldn't continue coaching for 6 weeks. After the initial 6 weeks, he was back. Then for the last 3 months they have different coaches each class...she meets twice a week for an hour each session. Lately she has been made to sit out and she ends up sitting on the floor bawling. The coach only seem to be able to tell me that she doesn't listen...and I dont really know whats going on. I watch every class but I can't hear what goes on. From my perspective it seems like she's doing what her teammates are doing. And I've noticed this only happens with one specific coach. Neither my daughter or the coach give me specifics aside from "I/she didn't listen" and its very frustrating. At the very least I feel like the coach should be communicating more clearly with me. I am at a point where I want to pull her and find a new gym. I am unhappy with the fact that every class is a different coach and there seems to be no consistency. Her original coach will only be with them once a week, sporadically. She has voiced that she like sgymnastics and she enjoys doing it but she wants to quit. How do I even begin to approach the gym about this? I understand if she's not listening there needs to be consequences but I'm at a loss at how to handle this entire situation! I feel like there should be consistency in the coaches with the team, and I'm unhappy about that as well.
 
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JessSyd

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Oct 10, 2013
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Sydney Australia
This would bother me. Gymnastics is a fun activity for your very young child. It should not routinely result in tears, and she should not routinely be having to sit out.

Sometimes it is necessary if a child is doing something dangerous, or disturbing/upsetting the rest of the team. But as a go-to way of handling a child it is inappropriate. Especially if it is actually code for ‘doesn’t understand what I want them to do and I can not be bothered breaking it down further’.

Five year olds vary a lot in their ability to understand and follow instructions. If she is usually an attentive and motivated kid and he thinks she is not listening, it may actually mean she needs shorter instructions, or tasks to be more broken down for her.

But if the gym is not interested in discussing it, it might be time to try something or somewhere else. There is no point paying for an activity that regularly makes your child miserable.

Regarding inconsistent coaching my experience is that gyms can go through phases where this happens. A staff member gets injured or leaves unexpectedly and it can take time to settle down. In a good gym it will settle down eventually and if everything else was fine it would be worth giving it time. But paired with other complaints - I’d probably look for somewhere else. Mixed coaching can work well, but younger kids need a bit of predictability.
 

SqueakyS

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Proud Parent
Sep 21, 2021
3
27
This would bother me. Gymnastics is a fun activity for your very young child. It should not routinely result in tears, and she should not routinely be having to sit out.

Sometimes it is necessary if a child is doing something dangerous, or disturbing/upsetting the rest of the team. But as a go-to way of handling a child it is inappropriate. Especially if it is actually code for ‘doesn’t understand what I want them to do and I can not be bothered breaking it down further’.

Five year olds vary a lot in their ability to understand and follow instructions. If she is usually an attentive and motivated kid and he thinks she is not listening, it may actually mean she needs shorter instructions, or tasks to be more broken down for her.

But if the gym is not interested in discussing it, it might be time to try something or somewhere else. There is no point paying for an activity that regularly makes your child miserable.

Regarding inconsistent coaching my experience is that gyms can go through phases where this happens. A staff member gets injured or leaves unexpectedly and it can take time to settle down. In a good gym it will settle down eventually and if everything else was fine it would be worth giving it time. But paired with other complaints - I’d probably look for somewhere else. Mixed coaching can work well, but younger kids need a bit of predictability.
I'm glad to hear your thoughts. I wasn't entirely sure i wasn't just being one of those moms. She had her normal coach at her last class, and he said she did really well except for 2 times she needed redirection. My daughter said she was talking and needed to be redirected to working hard lol. I feel like its mostly been a communication problem, and have already started looking in to other gyms.
 

PreciousJ

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Feb 16, 2021
212
Southeastern USA
Are there any other kids her age on the team, or is she the youngest? Like the PP alluded to, the other coaches may not be comfortable coaching a 5 year old because it takes more time than they're accustomed to.
 

SqueakyS

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Proud Parent
Sep 21, 2021
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27
Are there any other kids her age on the team, or is she the youngest? Like the PP alluded to, the other coaches may not be comfortable coaching a 5 year old because it takes more time than they're accustomed to.
There is a mix of 4-6 year olds and maybe a 7 year old. There are 8 girls in her class.
 
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gymgal

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Aug 22, 2008
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before looking for other gyms, I would recommend asking for a meeting so you have a better handle on what is happening in the classes with your daughter's attention. Problem is that if you don't know what is going on and you switch gyms, you may be in the same position again. If she is the only one being singled out for her attention, It could be that she is not ready for the new group she is in, maturity wise, that they moved her up too quickly. While these invite-only groups are still supposed to be fun, they do expect more focus and ability to follow directions, make corrections.

BTW, I agree that sitting a child out for a rotation/class is not the way to handle inattention. The coach needs to figure out why the child is not attending and work around it.
 

Madden3

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Aug 24, 2013
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I agree ask for a meeting, I guess with the specific coach, but maybe with the coach you do like if they have seniority, or with some other higher up. I suggest don't try to explain your concerns in email, you need face to face meeting (even zoom or something if in person is not possible.) But you can use email or text to request and set up the meeting.
I suggest avoid sounding like you are giving criticism. Think of the meeting as a fact finding venture for you. Maybe approach it something like this: "My dd is enjoying gymnastics and she is happy she was invited into this class. I would like to understand better what is going on with her behavior in class that she is being sat out, so I can support her in having a more productive class."
And then be quiet and LISTEN to what they say. If they are unclear, ask for clarification, or ask open ended questions. But mostly, listen intently. What they say will tell you if the coach/gym is interested in addressing this issue with some creativity or if sitting your child out again and again is all they are willing to do. Once you know this, you will have a better idea if this is a gym you can work with or not.
There is no inherent reason at this stage for your child to have the same coach each class. Changeover is not uncommon, espcially with coaching for little ones. But any coach coaching kids this age should be interested in figuring out how to keep them engaged and focused rather than resorting to sitting kids out. Sitting out can be an effective strategy, but usually only if used briefly for a kid who wants to be in class and they did not respond to other corrections. It is important it is not overused.
 

Mom9024

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Aug 16, 2020
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Gymnastics should be fun, especially for a 5-year old. Meet with your gym and tell them that your DD used to like attending class, but now it's ending in tears. They should understand and figure out how to make adjustments--it may be a temporary schedule shuffle since the one coach was hurt. If they're not responsive, you have your answer on what to do next.
 
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