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Lrh12

Proud Parent
Fan
Jun 12, 2019
9
39
I’m looking for advice on how to handle a bullying situation (by DD’s coach) on my daughter’s last day at her gym.

Background- the gym switched to xcel only mid-season last year (2021). My daughter stuck with it for a year but has decided the DP (JO program) is what is the best fit for her. We live in Colorado but for some reason aren’t close to a lot of gyms with DP/JO programs. We found one and that is what she is switching to.

Our gym requires prepayment of tuition (understandable) and we were paid up through my daughter’s last day.

So onto the bullying- my daughter purchased candy and wrote little notes to each teammate and coach to say goodbye. My daughter is 10 years old. When handing it to this particular coach- the coach replied “thanks…I guess” sarcastically to my daughter. This coach also refused to watch my daughter at practice. She ignored her while watching other girls. On bars she kept sending my daughter to the back of the line so that the team could go ahead of my daughter the whole time.

The coach told my daughter “it’s your fault you are leaving because you don’t have platinum skills”. (For the record, the gym has never told us what the formal platinum skills are.) The gym wants the girls to have a front full connected to a front layout to move up to platinum. They want kip-cast to handstand- giant on bars for the girls to move up to platinum. Those skills seem pretty aggressive to be able to compete platinum, but I know each gym has its own requirements. However, this has never been formally communicated- it’s only been in one off comments the coach has made to the girls at practice. And even with all that, my daughter wants to do DP/JO anyway so their xcel requirements are kind of a moot point.

Up until now, we hadn’t had any issues with the coach.

My daughter bawled the whole way home from practice. She said ‘she didn’t expect to be treated super nice or anything, just with the same respect as everyone else who has left.’

Other girls have been treated better but they have out right quit the sport or moved on to cheerleading.

So I guess I’m just looking for advice on what to do. We are obviously done with the gym. In hindsight i shouldn’t have sent her to practice. I also didn’t watch practice and in hindsight I should have. I sincerely just didn’t expect this. I thought my daughter would go to practice, hand out her candy and thank-you notes and move on. I did not expect this from the coach. And I fear anything I say will be retaliated against at my daughters new gym. What would anyone else do? Should I just drop it?

I feel I should tell the gym but I think they will just write me off.
 

3gymnastmom

Proud Parent
Fan
Feb 8, 2021
55
Chicago, USA
I’m looking for advice on how to handle a bullying situation (by DD’s coach) on my daughter’s last day at her gym.

Background- the gym switched to xcel only mid-season last year (2021). My daughter stuck with it for a year but has decided the DP (JO program) is what is the best fit for her. We live in Colorado but for some reason aren’t close to a lot of gyms with DP/JO programs. We found one and that is what she is switching to.

Our gym requires prepayment of tuition (understandable) and we were paid up through my daughter’s last day.

So onto the bullying- my daughter purchased candy and wrote little notes to each teammate and coach to say goodbye. My daughter is 10 years old. When handing it to this particular coach- the coach replied “thanks…I guess” sarcastically to my daughter. This coach also refused to watch my daughter at practice. She ignored her while watching other girls. On bars she kept sending my daughter to the back of the line so that the team could go ahead of my daughter the whole time.

The coach told my daughter “it’s your fault you are leaving because you don’t have platinum skills”. (For the record, the gym has never told us what the formal platinum skills are.) The gym wants the girls to have a front full connected to a front layout to move up to platinum. They want kip-cast to handstand- giant on bars for the girls to move up to platinum. Those skills seem pretty aggressive to be able to compete platinum, but I know each gym has its own requirements. However, this has never been formally communicated- it’s only been in one off comments the coach has made to the girls at practice. And even with all that, my daughter wants to do DP/JO anyway so their xcel requirements are kind of a moot point.

Up until now, we hadn’t had any issues with the coach.

My daughter bawled the whole way home from practice. She said ‘she didn’t expect to be treated super nice or anything, just with the same respect as everyone else who has left.’

Other girls have been treated better but they have out right quit the sport or moved on to cheerleading.

So I guess I’m just looking for advice on what to do. We are obviously done with the gym. In hindsight i shouldn’t have sent her to practice. I also didn’t watch practice and in hindsight I should have. I sincerely just didn’t expect this. I thought my daughter would go to practice, hand out her candy and thank-you notes and move on. I did not expect this from the coach. And I fear anything I say will be retaliated against at my daughters new gym. What would anyone else do? Should I just drop it?

I feel I should tell the gym but I think they will just write me off.
OMGosh, I’m so sorry this happened to your daughter. But please don’t blame yourself…who would have thought an adult would act that way toward a child? But now you see her true colors….you might have dodged a bigger bullet by switching now. I know that’s no conciliation to your daughter right now. I suspected she will look back at this later in her life and she’ll know that it wasn’t about her…that it was the coach’s bruised and fragile ego that was acting out.

I think you should share some constructive critisim with gym management...parent to business owner. Most likely this coach has done this before, and unless someone speaks up, she’ll continue to do so.

Several months ago a similar, but more “physical” incident happened with one of mine and a coach. Unfortunately the owner‘s way of handling it was not what we had expected (long story short). We are still at that gym, but mostly b/c two of my gymnasts are boys, so they don’t have as many options. Anyway, I feel for you and especially your daughter. Give her extra hugs and squeezes…she needs reassurance right now. You’ve got this!
 

Lrh12

Proud Parent
Fan
Jun 12, 2019
9
39
OMGosh, I’m so sorry this happened to your daughter. But please don’t blame yourself…who would have thought an adult would act that way toward a child? But now you see her true colors….you might have dodged a bigger bullet by switching now. I know that’s no conciliation to your daughter right now. I suspected she will look back at this later in her life and she’ll know that it wasn’t about her…that it was the coach’s bruised and fragile ego that was acting out.

I think you should share some constructive critisim with gym management...parent to business owner. Most likely this coach has done this before, and unless someone speaks up, she’ll continue to do so.

Several months ago a similar, but more “physical” incident happened with one of mine and a coach. Unfortunately the owner‘s way of handling it was not what we had expected (long story short). We are still at that gym, but mostly b/c two of my gymnasts are boys, so they don’t have as many options. Anyway, I feel for you and especially your daughter. Give her extra hugs and squeezes…she needs reassurance right now. You’ve got this!
Thank you. I really appreciate your thoughts and well wishes. And I’m sending hugs your way because your experience sounds tough as well.

Gosh this is a rough sport.
 
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3gymnastmom

Proud Parent
Fan
Feb 8, 2021
55
Chicago, USA
Thank you. I really appreciate your thoughts and well wishes. And I’m sending hugs your way because your experience sounds tough as well.

Gosh this is a rough sport.
Thank you. And yes, this sport can be really rough. Feel free to private message me if you want to talk further or in more detail.
 
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Jul 22, 2022
90
44
This is just awful!

I am so so sorry for your daughter!! I hate when children have to grow up and learn such big life lessons at such a young age, all because adults do not know how to behave!!

I am also so super glad that your daughter is out of that environment and has found a new gym home-I wish nothing but the best for her in her new gym home!! All positive coaching going forward!! Probably better that you found out now when you did-even as a fluke, as opposed to later when this poor coaching attitude had already hurt her mental state!!

First and foremost, explain the situation to your daughter, it is not her fault, the coach did a poor job of handling the situation-sometimes adults get it wrong and make mistakes too. I might even go as far as to tell your daughter that the coach was likely just hurt and lashing out, or upset that your daughter was taking her talent elsewhere, because she is such a talented little girl!! So the coach is upset and lashed out because she sees her remaining teams chances of winning diminishing this year without her and some people are just so competitive that they cannot handle that-even though that is a super silly attitude and the adult should have learned by now that winning isn't everything!!

Next, to address what to do about the adult. Was this a HC/owner or just a "side coach"/employee(I don't know a better way to say that-sorry)?

If it was an employee, I would definitely address it with the HC/owner, think about if you were "the boss," you would want to know of such behavior, right? That type of coaching attitude absolutely affects the mindset of the gym as a whole and is something that can create toxicity for the girls REAL QUICK!!

If it was the HC/owner, I would write a review-i know it isn't much, but at least warn other parents of what is going on there-i cannot see a gym with a HC/owner attitude like that being a healthy environment AT ALL!! I would also, probably, write an email to the coach and mention that you do not believe the situation was handled correctly, it hurt your daughter's feelings, and that's something she may want to keep in mind for the future. I wouldn't expect a reply(&if you get one, it likely wont be nice), I wouldn't even expect them to even care, honestly, not if that is the attitude they have with a 10yr old. However, it will feel better knowing that you said something and you never know, she may not have realized that her attitude came across that way to your daughter-she could surprise you!!(but I wouldn't get my hopes up for that scenario).

Lastly, I believe I may give a heads-up to the new gym/coaches. Not in a complaining sort of manner, just to let them know where your daughter is coming from. I can imagine that interaction could have had an impact on her ability to trust her coaches going forward, even subconsciously-not a great thing in gymnastics, where the gymnast coach bond is paramount and requires an insane amount of trust!! I would say it like this, "I just wanted to give you a heads up, this is what happened on her last day of her previous gym.....tell story.....simply wanted you to be aware because I fear it could impact her mindset and the coach-child relationship, so felt it best to mention it" something like that.

I know if it was my daughters gym, they would want to know and they would want to address it with my daughter as well. To explain they don't think that was right, they won't be doing anything like that, yada yada, that they respect their athletes and want to have an open relationship, etc. It would be a quick 30sec interaction, but they would want to reassure the gymnast.

Hopefully that one moment with a horrible coach won't have a lasting impact on your daughter's mindset, she will be able to put it behind her and move on to bigger, better things with a bright future!!

Good luck!!
 

Coach Kate

Coach
Fan
Oct 13, 2021
235
31
Those are insane requirements for platinums! Most of our diamonds don't even meet all of those and they were the highest scoring team at regionals, multiple state champions, etc.

I'm so sorry your daughter had such a terrible last day. It sounds like a really good thing you got out.
 

Madden3

Proud Parent
Aug 24, 2013
843
50
I am sorry this happened to your daughter. My daughter is also 10 and the idea of a coach or any trusted adult treating her this way makes my blood boil!

Here are a couple thoughts.

One idea I had was to do nothing but turn this into a learning/growth experience for your daughter. Talk with her about how what the coach did was wrong, why it was wrong, and ways the coach could have handled her feelings better. Teach her that yes, there are jerks in the world, there are also people who are nice overall but have problems that mean that even as adults they are too often unable to control their worst impulses. Make sure she understands that a person being nasty out of all proportion is a reflection on them, it is not a reflection on her. Explain that we have no control over how other people behave, we can only control how we react to them.

Another idea I had was that together, you and your daughter could write a personal letter to the offending coach telling her how much her words and actions hurt your daughter and how disappointed you are that your daughters last day was marred. Don’t be accusatory. Don’t replay what happened or justify anything. She knows what she did, and if capable of feeling remorse that may already be happening. Make the letter as gentle and non-confrontational as possible while still being honest- and keep it brief. Leave a way for the coach to apologize. An apology may never come, of course. But you would be writing the letter not to get an apology but to help your daughter process and gain perspective and learn from what happened.
 

Lrh12

Proud Parent
Fan
Jun 12, 2019
9
39
This is just awful!

I am so so sorry for your daughter!! I hate when children have to grow up and learn such big life lessons at such a young age, all because adults do not know how to behave!!

I am also so super glad that your daughter is out of that environment and has found a new gym home-I wish nothing but the best for her in her new gym home!! All positive coaching going forward!! Probably better that you found out now when you did-even as a fluke, as opposed to later when this poor coaching attitude had already hurt her mental state!!

First and foremost, explain the situation to your daughter, it is not her fault, the coach did a poor job of handling the situation-sometimes adults get it wrong and make mistakes too. I might even go as far as to tell your daughter that the coach was likely just hurt and lashing out, or upset that your daughter was taking her talent elsewhere, because she is such a talented little girl!! So the coach is upset and lashed out because she sees her remaining teams chances of winning diminishing this year without her and some people are just so competitive that they cannot handle that-even though that is a super silly attitude and the adult should have learned by now that winning isn't everything!!

Next, to address what to do about the adult. Was this a HC/owner or just a "side coach"/employee(I don't know a better way to say that-sorry)?

If it was an employee, I would definitely address it with the HC/owner, think about if you were "the boss," you would want to know of such behavior, right? That type of coaching attitude absolutely affects the mindset of the gym as a whole and is something that can create toxicity for the girls REAL QUICK!!

If it was the HC/owner, I would write a review-i know it isn't much, but at least warn other parents of what is going on there-i cannot see a gym with a HC/owner attitude like that being a healthy environment AT ALL!! I would also, probably, write an email to the coach and mention that you do not believe the situation was handled correctly, it hurt your daughter's feelings, and that's something she may want to keep in mind for the future. I wouldn't expect a reply(&if you get one, it likely wont be nice), I wouldn't even expect them to even care, honestly, not if that is the attitude they have with a 10yr old. However, it will feel better knowing that you said something and you never know, she may not have realized that her attitude came across that way to your daughter-she could surprise you!!(but I wouldn't get my hopes up for that scenario).

Lastly, I believe I may give a heads-up to the new gym/coaches. Not in a complaining sort of manner, just to let them know where your daughter is coming from. I can imagine that interaction could have had an impact on her ability to trust her coaches going forward, even subconsciously-not a great thing in gymnastics, where the gymnast coach bond is paramount and requires an insane amount of trust!! I would say it like this, "I just wanted to give you a heads up, this is what happened on her last day of her previous gym.....tell story.....simply wanted you to be aware because I fear it could impact her mindset and the coach-child relationship, so felt it best to mention it" something like that.

I know if it was my daughters gym, they would want to know and they would want to address it with my daughter as well. To explain they don't think that was right, they won't be doing anything like that, yada yada, that they respect their athletes and want to have an open relationship, etc. It would be a quick 30sec interaction, but they would want to reassure the gymnast.

Hopefully that one moment with a horrible coach won't have a lasting impact on your daughter's mindset, she will be able to put it behind her and move on to bigger, better things with a bright future!!

Good luck!!
Thank you. I really appreciate you taking the time to help me through this.

I’ve been addressing it with my daughter and I like the points you made. She is already a pretty anxious kid and this experience has really thrown her for a loop.

I wrote an email to the gym and they actually responded. I was surprised- I honestly thought they would brush me off since we are no longer at the gym. They are supposedly going to do an internal investigation and will be reaching out to me. I haven’t heard anything further, but it’s just been the weekend. So fingers crossed.

If nothing else, I hope this experience can help others navigate things like this. And also prevent other girls at the gym receiving this treatment
 

Lrh12

Proud Parent
Fan
Jun 12, 2019
9
39
Those are insane requirements for platinums! Most of our diamonds don't even meet all of those and they were the highest scoring team at regionals, multiple state champions, etc.

I'm so sorry your daughter had such a terrible last day. It sounds like a really good thing you got out.
Thank you. I agree they seem to be really tough requirements simply to move into platinum. Part of me thinks this is the coach trying to hold girls back - the coach’s daughter (is)was in my daughters group and is behind all the other girls skill-wise. And I’m not judging the little girl- my daughter was at her skill level at one point too. But it seems the coach is trying to keep her daughter with this same group of girls- so making insane requirements for the others to get out of the group to keep them all in there. That’s just my interpretation and could be wrong. Other girls have moved into platinum with way fewer skills. I didn’t put that in my email to the gym though. I kept it fact based on what happened that last day.
 
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Lrh12

Proud Parent
Fan
Jun 12, 2019
9
39
I am sorry this happened to your daughter. My daughter is also 10 and the idea of a coach or any trusted adult treating her this way makes my blood boil!

Here are a couple thoughts.

One idea I had was to do nothing but turn this into a learning/growth experience for your daughter. Talk with her about how what the coach did was wrong, why it was wrong, and ways the coach could have handled her feelings better. Teach her that yes, there are jerks in the world, there are also people who are nice overall but have problems that mean that even as adults they are too often unable to control their worst impulses. Make sure she understands that a person being nasty out of all proportion is a reflection on them, it is not a reflection on her. Explain that we have no control over how other people behave, we can only control how we react to them.

Another idea I had was that together, you and your daughter could write a personal letter to the offending coach telling her how much her words and actions hurt your daughter and how disappointed you are that your daughters last day was marred. Don’t be accusatory. Don’t replay what happened or justify anything. She knows what she did, and if capable of feeling remorse that may already be happening. Make the letter as gentle and non-confrontational as possible while still being honest- and keep it brief. Leave a way for the coach to apologize. An apology may never come, of course. But you would be writing the letter not to get an apology but to help your daughter process and gain perspective and learn from what happened.
I really like your points, thank you. Especially about how she can’t control other people- only herself. This isn’t a great example, but I told her something to the effect of- ‘Taylor Swift gets a lot of people criticizing her and judging her. But Taylor Swift is out there living her life and being her confident self. It’s probably hard for her to keep getting criticism, but do you think she should be worrying what others are saying about her and let it ruin her day? No, of course not. She should be her own confident self and a good person in her own right.’

That’s probably not a great example but it was someone my daughter could resonate with. I reiterated the point with using Simone Biles in place of Taylor swift. And I’m sure those women have their struggles too, but I think they can be examples of how to persist when things are tough.

I really like writing a letter- even if we don’t send it. I doubt we would get an apology. My thought is someone who can’t recognize in the moment what they are doing, I doubt she has remorse. But I can be hopeful. I was surprised that the gym is taking this seriously- or at least they said they are. I mean, I don’t expect anything, I just hope this coach doesn’t do this to anyone else. And my daughter doesn’t have to see her again so that’s a big win.
 
Jul 22, 2022
90
44
Thank you. I really appreciate you taking the time to help me through this.

I’ve been addressing it with my daughter and I like the points you made. She is already a pretty anxious kid and this experience has really thrown her for a loop.

I wrote an email to the gym and they actually responded. I was surprised- I honestly thought they would brush me off since we are no longer at the gym. They are supposedly going to do an internal investigation and will be reaching out to me. I haven’t heard anything further, but it’s just been the weekend. So fingers crossed.

If nothing else, I hope this experience can help others navigate things like this. And also prevent other girls at the gym receiving this treatment
Always! We're all in this craziness together!!

It's worse when it happens to an anxious child :-( I hope you have been able to reassure her, hopefully if she has amazing coaches in her new gym, that will help even more to rebuild!!

I am not shocked that the gym is addressing this, as long as it was not the HC/owner, of course they do not want that type of behavior in the gym!! Our gym owners would be mortified!! Most gyms do not want that type of negativity in the gym!! If she is like that with a 10yr olds last day, she likely isn't a treat in training either!!

So so glad you wrote the email and are at least feeling a bit better about what happened!!

Good luck to you and your daughter on your JO journey!! I think your daughter is in a great place with her gymnastics!!
 
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3cats

Proud Parent
Nov 5, 2018
125
44
This happened when my daughter stopped artistic gymnastics as well. My daughter announced she was leaving through an email after she took a couple days off to gather her thoughts. Then a week later she went in to gym to say goodbye to her teammates and coaches and clean out her locker. The head coach came and talked to me and her the whole time. Told her how proud he was, said he will keep following her along her journey. The owner and another coach refused to even acknowledge my daughter. Never looked her way. No goodbyes, no hugs. These things were what my daughter was hoping for when she came back one last time. It left a sour taste in the mouth for the both of us. She still talks about how awkward they made it for her, years later.

I'm sorry it happened to your daughter. I hope she can move on, shrug it off, and blossom at her next gym. I wish coaches could do their best to at least be professional, if not warm.
 

JPC13

Proud Parent
Mar 25, 2022
444
This is a good lesson on how not to handle switching gyms. My suggestion is to say nothing until you’re gone for good.
 

Lrh12

Proud Parent
Fan
Jun 12, 2019
9
39
This happened when my daughter stopped artistic gymnastics as well. My daughter announced she was leaving through an email after she took a couple days off to gather her thoughts. Then a week later she went in to gym to say goodbye to her teammates and coaches and clean out her locker. The head coach came and talked to me and her the whole time. Told her how proud he was, said he will keep following her along her journey. The owner and another coach refused to even acknowledge my daughter. Never looked her way. No goodbyes, no hugs. These things were what my daughter was hoping for when she came back one last time. It left a sour taste in the mouth for the both of us. She still talks about how awkward they made it for her, years later.

I'm sorry it happened to your daughter. I hope she can move on, shrug it off, and blossom at her next gym. I wish coaches could do their best to at least be professional, if not warm.
I’m so sorry that happened to your daughter as well. It really stung my daughter and I was wondering if she will remember it years from now.

I hope your daughter knows the coaches’ reaction is a reflection of their behavior and not hers. But it still hurts.
 
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Lrh12

Proud Parent
Fan
Jun 12, 2019
9
39
This is a good lesson on how not to handle switching gyms. My suggestion is to say nothing until you’re gone for good.
Totally. I wish we would have done that and am kicking myself. I hope this is a good lesson for others.
 
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