Reading this, I realize how easily my family could have found ourselves in a similar situation, if our coaches were not so conscientious.
My kid started gymnastics and zipped through the early levels in a few months. He’s between level 4 and 5 (depending on the event) just 6 months after his first rec class. His coach told me that he wanted him to do Future Stars (Like TOPs for boys). I was excited but I got frustrated because the coach set this goal for my child and then didn’t arrange any training opportunities to prepare him for the rapidly approaching competition. I asked about switching training groups and the coach told me that he thought that was a good idea but he could only move my child if he could arrange to move several other gymnasts at the same time to avoid making other parents jealous. I thought it was crazy to worry about offending other parents. Why would they care? It had nothing to do with them. Lol!
We were in limbo for months waiting to see if he could coordinate a move with other the coaches. It didn’t happen but then his coach asked if we would be interested in doing an extra practice once per week during the summer. He opened the extra session up to a bunch of kids and a few signed up. Voila! Extra practice with no special treatment.
That’s how a coach does it when they care about their gymnasts. In the end, we did lose a little time while he worked on a solution and I doubt that my kid will be ready for the competition this year, which is okay. He’s very happy at the gym and has lots of friends. That’s much more important to his long-term gymnastics success than preparing for one competition. If my kid is actually good enough to progress to higher levels in the sport, this won’t matter at all.
See the difference? After reading your post, I’m feeling incredibly grateful for my son’s coaches’ wisdom!
P.S. My child’s coach has an elaborate system of rewards that allows him to keep track of how often he is praising each kid to ensure he isn’t showing favoritism. Good coaches think really hard about these things! Good coaches care about the wellbeing of all the gymnasts, not just the star du jour. Your coach is not a good coach and that’s why the gym is toxic.