WAG Interesting article on the state of gymnastics coaching

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kandkfunk

Proud Parent
Aug 7, 2012
431
I found the article below to be very interesting. It's a different perspective on the coaching dilemma that I've seen referenced a few times. What do others think? For parents who have had a bad or less than ideal coaching experience (I'm not talking about a general disagreement about level placement, but a real disconnect between coaches and athletes, a spike in gym related injuries, really poor communication, etc.), does this help explain any of the issues you faced? It definitely made me think about some things from a different perspective.

http://www.gymmomentum.com/weekly-momentum/what-is-happening-with-gymnastics-coaches/
 

seoulmama

Proud Parent
Sep 30, 2013
465
I don't think this article has enough detail for me to comment. It basically just says that there is a problem, that currently, there isn't a "class" you can take to become a good coach. and that the only way to solve it is to mentor young coaches. I wish it offered more direct information on what he thinks makes a good coach so that a dialogue could start within the coaching community. I see a lot of parents who are frustrated, but I am not sure that the not-so-good coaches even know they aren't good-if that makes sense.
 

gymdog

Coach
Jul 5, 2007
5,120
There are good coaches out there. But the problem is supply and demand and the growing demand for developmental gymnastics over the last five years has left a shortage of coaches.
 
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kandkfunk

Proud Parent
Aug 7, 2012
431
There are good coaches out there. But the problem is supply and demand and the growing demand for developmental gymnastics over the last five years has left a shortage of coaches.

There are definitely a lot of great coaches. It sounds like there are more in some areas than others.

When you refer to the growing demand for developmental gymnastics, is that because there are more gyms around now than five years ago or are existing gyms just getting more serious/competitive? In my area, there are a lot of pretty good compulsory gyms, but when you get to optionals, the number of competitive programs really drops off.
 
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3rd_time_around

Proud Parent
Judge
Oct 25, 2010
1,986
Because it's no longer how well gyms can coach children, it's about how much they can squeeze out of little Suzie's parents.
I agree with you only because i've done my research about costs for gym at many gyms around our state and country, and I've heard from parents that transferred to our gym from gyms that did that. I do have to say, though, that our gym owner does not follow that philosophy. They only charge us the cost of things, nothing extra is added on, like uniforms and meet fees. There's no fee that anyone has to wonder what it is or what it's for. Now, not everyone is happy with how much things cost, but they can't ever say that our owners pad their own pockets by charging us extra fees or more money than cost. She has even refunded any leftover money in people's escrow accounts. And our tuition is a very good deal compared to most gyms, and for that I am thankful and appreciate that they're not trying to soak us.
 
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gymdog

Coach
Jul 5, 2007
5,120
There are definitely a lot of great coaches. It sounds like there are more in some areas than others.

When you refer to the growing demand for developmental gymnastics, is that because there are more gyms around now than five years ago or are existing gyms just getting more serious/competitive? In my area, there are a lot of pretty good compulsory gyms, but when you get to optionals, the number of competitive programs really drops off.

Simply, there are more and more kids starting gymnastics. Enrollment (and wait lists) are growing.
 

motigymnasticsmom

Proud Parent
Mar 4, 2013
532
51
General Atlanta area
GAgymmom, we just left a gym like that. Our new coaches call them "internet, or copycat" coaches. Basically, mothers who've had children in gymnastics and now are coaches. DD's New coaches have done gymnastics, have P.E. teaching degrees, years of experience coaching and other degrees associated with gymnastics. My dd has improved soooo much under their care!!! I KNOW my statement to be true. If it's true with me, then it's with so many others.
 

aerials

Proud Parent
Sep 30, 2013
483
Ohio
Gymnastic enrollment in our area is unbelievable right now and the increase has just been over the past 4~5 years. All of the gyms are very full and are somewhat turning away people. New gyms are opening and soon are completely filled up too.
 

Jennemmy

Proud Parent
Mar 30, 2009
137
Region 6
I believe the reason for the lack of good coaches is for exactly the reason he states in the article. Many up and coming coaches are focused on producing the next elite.

A gym will build up a great program and then they have a few kids that make it to TOPs, dev camp or the natl camp. Suddenly, the focus shifts to the high potential girls and quality coaching for the "rest" is reduced. Other coaches in the gym see that and start to believe that elite potential is where their focus should be. Some gyms aren't satisfied with getting a girl to Nationals, they want to be the "Home of X, Elite Gymnast." 3 coaches will be gathered around 1 kid who is the next Gabby, Jordyn or McKayla. She gets 75% of the attention and the other 19 girls are trying to teach themselves a release on bars. Talk about poor form and safety issues. It's no longer good enough to have a girl, or more, go to Nationals. It's all about Elite.

That is what some coaches of today are imparting to the up and coming coaches. Coaches want to be on Beyond the Routine or famous for having coached the last great Elite. I realize some coaches want the very best for their gymnasts. They encourage all their girls to succeed. But I think some coaches have stars in their eyes. Petrosi says "90% of coaching is grunt work & it is the grunt work that often determines success or failure." In the age of reality tv and meteoric rise to fame, who wants to do grunt work anymore? (Of course, Chalkbucket coaches are the exception to my theory. :))
 

JBS

ChalkBucket Founder
Staff member
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Proud Parent
Sep 3, 2005
7,643
Wisconsin
Because it's no longer how well gyms can coach children, it's about how much they can squeeze out of little Suzie's parents.

You guys are really gonna get me going now.

For the most part parents just don't understand how much it costs to put together a good gymnastics program. Let's take my post in the other thread...

http://www.chalkbucket.com/forums/threads/confused-wwyd.46175/#post-302151

I am also in charge of every penny of the almost $500,000 that our team program deals with each year.

Really...does anyone understand that statement...I doubt it. Everyone just says..."look at all that money that they bring in". Do the math...

https://usagym.org/pages/home/publications/technique/2003/5/businesstip.pdf

Jeff Metzger's Business Tips

Pricing Your Team-Part I

This month we will inspect the unique dynamics of team pricing. Allow me to weave the logic behind Queen City's team pricing strategy. As this is a fairly vertical argument, please take time to assimilate each point before moving on to the next. It is true that:

1. A company benefits from having the public perceive its prices as reasonable.
2. Because the expenses of operating a team are far greater than what most parents' intuit,
sticker shock is inevitable.
3. Point [HASHTAG]#1[/HASHTAG] and [HASHTAG]#2[/HASHTAG] are in direct conflict and will remain so unless leadership intervenes.
4. The most effective way to resolve this conflict is a two pronged approach: (a) make public
the costs of operating team while at the same time; (b) unabashedly highlight the truly
wonderful benefits of team participation (thereby raising the perceived value and 'lowering'
the perceived price).

It is also true that:

1. If a GymClub TRULY breaks even on its team,* the profit from a reasonably strong class base
should offer a nice overall company profit.
2. You can mitigate the last vestiges of a high price argument by seeking and publicly
proclaiming a break even pricing strategy: "Mom, Dad, we are not looking to make money on
your child but you certainly can't expect us to lose money, can you?" To argue against this
understandable business goal tends to ring unreasonable even to the person making the
argument. After all, even nonbusiness-savvy parents can intuit that it is not in their best
interest for their child's GymClub to go belly-up!

As a fun exercise for Cincinnati Boot Camp Grads (who are familiar with the 'lingo' of the Boot Camp Business Building Strategy), let's identify a few Boot Camp concepts used in identifying our pricing strategy: We recognized 'Common Cause' in parents' almost universal unawareness of the high cost of operating a team; we chose a Leadership Strategy grounded by 'Sharing Perspectives', more specifically, by using 'Open Book Management.' Additionally, we relied heavily on our understanding of 'Marketing Strategy' to avoid getting sucked into the 'low price trap,' a no-win game in a 'Value Added Industry,' such as ours.

* Because most GymClub owners do not know how to calculate their team's operating expenses,
Part II will address how to determine your team's TRUE break-even.

Make it a great May! Jeff Metzger

Jeff Metzger
USA Gymnastics Business Development Partner
President, GymClub Owners Boot Camp
President, Kids First Sports Center

Continued soon...
 

JBS

ChalkBucket Founder
Staff member
Gold Membership
Coach
Proud Parent
Sep 3, 2005
7,643
Wisconsin
If you actually read all of my last post...then continue with this...

https://usagym.org/pages/home/publications/technique/2003/6/businesstip.pdf

Pricing Your Team-Part II

In Part, 1 I sought to make a case for the need to UNDERSTAND the parents' perspective that team isexpensive and therefore the need to SELL the idea that team is a BARGAIN. Here, I will sketch out one way to calculate a TRUE break-even on your team. Most GymClub owners believe that if team tuition pays for coaching wage that they are breaking even or at least close to it. Surprise!: often, 'overhead' exceeds coaching wage. The below example is a 'sampling' of what is actually happening out in the real world of progressive GymClubs having high level optional athletes in 2003. The example assumes only one venuea gymnastics venue-and a teaching ratio of 8:1. If you are a true MVP (multiple venues), you must first find the gymnastics venue's share of the total.

1. Calculate YEARLY OVERHEAD. Using your year end P&L statement, tally ALL of your business expenses-facility costs, admin wage, insurances, interest, education...the works*-EXCEPT, coaching wage. Real life example: $275,000 yearly overhead.

2. Calculate YEARLY STUDENT HOURS. Using enrollment data, program by program, add together: (rec. students X 1 hour) + (level 4 X no. of training hours/wk) + (level 5 X no. of training hours/wk) + etc. Don't forget to include preschool, cheer, tumbling, birthday parties-ALL students who use the gymnastics venue. This sum is a weekly figure and must be converted to YEARLY STUDENT HOURS by a multiplier appropriate for your yearly up/down cycle. Real life example: 100,000 st.hr. per year.

3. Calculate OVERHEAD/STUDENT/HOUR: Divide [HASHTAG]#1[/HASHTAG] by [HASHTAG]#2[/HASHTAG]. $275,000 ÷ 100,000st.hr. =
$2.75/st./hr. Remember, coaching wage has NOT yet been included.

4. Calculate GROUP OVERHEAD/HOUR. Multiply [HASHTAG]#3[/HASHTAG] X 8 students. $2.75/st./hr. X 8st. = $22.00/hr. group overhead.

5. From internal payroll records calculate your AVERAGE HOURLY COACHING WAGE. Don't forget to add in ALL benefits not previously considered including Fed and state P/R taxes, W/C, FICA, health, dental, vacation, 401K, employee discounts, etc. A good multiple for a progressive Ohio club is +24%. $15.00/hr. + 24% = $18.60/hr average coaching wage.
6. Calculate TOTAL GROUP COST PER HOUR. Add [HASHTAG]#4[/HASHTAG] and [HASHTAG]#5[/HASHTAG]. $22.00/hr. + $18.60/hr. = $40.60/hr. total group cost.

7. Calculate BREAK-EVEN PER GYMNAST PER HOUR. Divide [HASHTAG]#6[/HASHTAG] by [HASHTAG]#8[/HASHTAG]. $40.60/hr. ÷ 8st = $5.08/st./hr. as a true break-even.

It is not too difficult to achieve a $5/hr tuition for entry level athletes, but very difficult at an optional level. It is Queen City's goal to have a perpetually wide enough base of profitable entry level athletes to subsidize our upper level athletes so that our TEAM breaks even, as a whole. Note, we do NOT look to our classes to subsidize our team: that is a taboo. A team can and should support itself. If you would like a jpeg copy of the Queen City Gymnastics tuition schedule which includes far more detail and a recent 'tuition increase" letter, please email a "request team tuition schedule/lttr" to: [email protected].

* note that Queen City Gymnastics also excludes marketing costs (team actually aids the marketing effort) and sales tax as, in Ohio, it applies only to tangible product.

Jeff Metzger
USA Gymnastics Business Development Partner
President, GymClub Owners Boot Camp
President, Kids First Sports Center

Continued soon...
 

profmom

Proud Parent
Nov 18, 2011
9,461
Region 7
I know for a fact that my kids' gym is losing lots of money, possibly thousands of dollars a year, by operating a boys' team with optionals. The team is just too small to be paying for itself, especially at the optional level, where only a handful of boys are by necessity being coached by the most senior coaches in the gym (because only they have the skills and experience to teach and spot double backs, Tkachevs, stutzes, and all that other crazy stuff they are trying to learn). I think that a better marketing strategy about the successes of the upper level guys could possibly draw in more boys, but I can understand not wanting to invest time and money into marketing.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't it generally be true that for a successful team that can get kids into college gymnastics, you'd need your highest level (most expensive) coaches to be working the most hours with the smallest ratios of coach to gymnast?
 

JBS

ChalkBucket Founder
Staff member
Gold Membership
Coach
Proud Parent
Sep 3, 2005
7,643
Wisconsin
Basically he is saying that the lower levels have to pay over $5 per hour so the upper levels can pay under $5 per hour...right. Now...notice that the example in the articles from Jeff Metzger are from 2003. Start messing with the numbers a bit with a 20 hour kid (80 hours per month).

Use this...

http://www.usinflationcalculator.com/

inflation.png


As you can see...the $5.08 that Jeff came up with for 2003 converts to $6.52 now. Is it hard to get $6.52 for a 9 hour group...no...not really...it's about $235/month. The problem is that you may need to get more than that for a 9 hour group so the 20 hour group can pay less. Let's say the numbers work out that the 9 hour group must pay $1 more per hour so the 20 hour group can pay $1 less per hour.

Once again...do the math...
  • 9 hour group is now at $7.52/hour x 36 hours/month = $270.72/month
  • 20 hour group is now at $5.52/hour x 80 hours/month = $441.60/month
Now that actual break even per gymnast per hour could be different at your club. Say your club has three or four $50,000 coaches??? You know $40,000 plus some benefits. You have $150,000 - $200,000 going to the three or four coaches. Is that a high salary...I think not...that is a very fair wage. So say your club has a $7.25 break even and the lowest you can get the 20 hour group to is $6.25/hour.
  • 20 hour group is now at $6.25/hour x 80 hours/month = $500.00/month
The numbers are starting to get up there now. Some of you are saying...no problem...that's where we are at.

Continued soon...
 
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munchkin3

Proud Parent
Jun 6, 2008
2,102
This was a very interesting article to me, especially since DS has this issue exactly.
I HAVE NOT GIVEN UP ON DCOACH!
I believe he CAN cross over and begin to learn how to be a good teacher. He is a great technical coach, not so good with the motivating and there is general team gloominess.

DD coach on the other hand is limited with English, and he is SO beloved by the girls....He says little, but does a great deal for each student. But then he is much older too....3rd coach is a parent so she has more in her toolbox.

If this first coach continues to NOT learn, then he will stay at the current coaching level. If he can learn, then he could become great.

Can being a good teacher be taught?
We will see.
 
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JBS

ChalkBucket Founder
Staff member
Gold Membership
Coach
Proud Parent
Sep 3, 2005
7,643
Wisconsin
Now go back to the 1/2 a million that I was talking about in the other post...

I am also in charge of every penny of the almost $500,000 that our team program deals with each year.

This is NOT ALL TUITION...for easy numbers let's say...
  • $300,000 is tuition
  • $100,000 is seasonal fees
  • The other $100,000 is the money that YOU spend on other stuff that involves gymnastics that I STILL CONTROL. That $1,000+ for summer camp that I am selling at every practice...those airline tickets to nowhere for $500+ a pop...how about the fact that I told you that your daughter is off team if she can't make the summer schedule so you have to hire an older nanny that you trust to drive???
I throw huge statements out there all the time...but I know where the numbers are coming from. Everyone else needs to learn.

Continued soon because I still haven't even hit a single point...
 
Sep 7, 2010
452
USA
I like the article as it makes me reflect our the gyms staffing challenges.

Thoughts this morning:
Today’s world of instant info, instant feedback, and instant action belie the fact that it takes YEARS of experience to provide instant actionable feedback/teaching to a gymnast. The distillation of knowledge and experience into communication to an athlete is truly an art.

I have met and watched and listened to master coaches. I know in our local market of a couple of master coaches who work with USA-G pre-team thru L5 athletes. They are incredibly valuable to their clubs. Master coaches, IMO, may never coach a L7 thru 10 or an elite. They might. They are still invaluable to any team program.

Teaching mastery is of the most important hats of a respected and skilled coach. Teaching comes before coaching, IMO. I see lots of ways to develop "learning teachers/coaches." IMO, mentorship programs are excellent ways to develop staff/self. Teachers/coaches come at different levels of professional development. A business can make them valuable assets by placing them in situations were they can succeed. If I concentrate on upping the teaching/coaching level of myself and the staff around me, we succeed. My team program can be as weak as the weakest team teacher/coach.

BTW: The article links to a bunch of good articles by Mr.Retrosi. I have been enjoying reading a couple this morning.

The above are just some thoughts this morning. Thanks Kandkfunk for the link.
Best wishes, SBG -
 

munchkin3

Proud Parent
Jun 6, 2008
2,102
JBS, I know what you are saying because of my job. I get very POed when parents at the gym begin complaining about camp using up space during the summer, or rec classes going to 7:30.
There are really parents out there who think team is profitable!
The only reason Team is profitable is because it gives the huge REC group something to work towards.
 
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cbifoja

Proud Parent
Oct 9, 2012
3,007
I will admit that our HC does NOT charge us enough. My DD is paying $3 an hour for the best three coaches in our gym. I have no idea what their salary is but I doubt it is as high as $50K!

And I am SO guilty of what Munchkin is talking about. I will find myself getting frustrated with "all of the rec kids" taking up so much space. *ashamed* I will work hard on changing my thought habits.
 

munchkin3

Proud Parent
Jun 6, 2008
2,102
Hey, I sometimes get a but upitty when its bars time, and beginner girls are all over the bars....take a deep breath and count to 10.
 
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