WAG New Head Coach - complete opposite of old head coach??

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AWGym

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Jul 16, 2015
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(First post! But need advice!)

DD's gym just got a new head coach at the start of the summer. At first I thought it was going to be great as all the girls were being put on a strict strength program (which was never enforced before) and the new HC is a firm believer in great basics - as that is all they were working on when he first got to the gym. Well now it is nearly 2 months later and that is STILL all they are working on. I'm beginning to get a little worried. Bars is an event that the entire gym has struggled on in the past with the previous HC and was always their lowest scored event. I like that this new HC is backtracking and re-teaching them basic skills, but none of the girls have learned a single new skill on bars this summer. Or really any event for that matter except for a little bit of floor and beam tumbling (minimal).

My concern is that we just had our first one-on-one meeting with the new HC (who is from Texas) and he basically told us that all the girls will be repeating the same level that they competed last year. He said that in Texas this was very common for compulsory levels. He also said that none of the 10 girls that the last HC moved up to level 3 from pre-team will be competing because they are not ready - even though to my understanding from a level 3 parent, they have all their skills except the front-hip circle (a couple have it). Because of this, a lot of our girls have dropped out and switched gyms.

Here's my issue: DD, 9 yrs old, competed level 4 last year and got a 36 something at state. 9s on every event, placing on bars, floor, vault, and AA. I really do not want to pay another $5,000 this year between tuition, coaches fees, new leotard, meet expenses, traveling, etc......to watch her AA score go up to a 37. Sure she might win more meets and place higher, but I'm worried she will get bored. I expressed these worries to the new HC and he basically said that the level is "just a number" and "let's focus on good gymnastics instead of their level". He also said that they will up train during the season so she shouldn't get bored of level 4, but she will also have to do tons of routines and repetitions esp during the winter months. Ugh. I don't know. Am I acting like a CGM?? Old HC hardly ever repeated kids, ever, so I guess this will just take some getting used to.

Also, let me add that we do not live in a huge city with a ton of powerhouse gyms. Our city is fairly small and we are the best gym in a 50 mile radius. DD LOVES gymnastics and her gym but some of her friends have already quit since the new HC switch and I'm just worried that once she finds out she's repeating, she'll want to quit too.

Advice?
 
Transitions are hard. New HC has different expectations and is implementing them. Repeating makes sense at this point, as he has not been teaching new skills. Also, the basics work will pay off in the long run with better technique and thus most likely easier skill acquisition. Not sure you have any other options at this gym but to accept that she is repeating level 4 this year.
 
What's your objective for your daughter? Maybe it's to have fun and compete in gymnastics to gain some life skills? Or maybe it's to see if some kind of scholarship is possible when she is older? Or maybe elite?
What gyms are your option? Is there a realistic choice that makes sense for the family?
What does your dd want? Repeating in itself can be an important learning experience for young athletes....

Lots of things to consider before throwing the towel in on a new coach.......(and I had a TERRIBLE experience with a new coach, so I don't say this lightly.)
 
Honestly, I think I would go ahead and be okay with repeating this year. This way there is no pressure on your DD to gain skills to compete and I assume that this gives the coach time to be happy with their foundation and then start uptraining for next season.

It can be hard to get a new HC. Our gym experienced that several years ago and yes, some people chose to leave. But it has been a good thing for most of our girls.
 
If I took over a gym that had no emphasis on basics before, the thing I would focus on is to catch them up on strength and technique. Not skills or moving up levels.

Higher level skills come so much easier when the girls have a good base. Sounds like he's got some long term goals in mind if he's trying to build a strong base. Wait it out a little and then watch the results come. They will!
 
If I took over a gym that had no emphasis on basics before, the thing I would focus on is to catch them up on strength and technique. Not skills or moving up levels.

Higher level skills come so much easier when the girls have a good base. Sounds like he's got some long term goals in mind if he's trying to build a strong base. Wait it out a little and then watch the results come. They will!

This is most likely the case. Repeating level 4 for a season doesn't necessarily mean she will be "behind" where she would have been if the old coach had stayed. It may in fact put her ahead of the game long term if the coach is reputable.

Do you yet know if this coach has a particular strategy for competition levels? Meaning, perhaps he aims not to compete 5, and move strong gymnasts from 4 to 6 or even 7? Or perhaps he has gymnasts training up 2 levels from what they compete (instead of "chasing skills" and barely making the next level in time)? So a level 4 is really training 6, but competing 4, for example. So many different strategies....

If your gym is the best around, and they chose this coach, that's a great sign to have faith in him, even if his system is different. I would suggest giving it a few months, see if your daughter is gaining physical strength and starting drills for higher skills. Hope it is a positive change despite the level disappointment!
 
OP.... Re-read Sasha's post. Then read it again. I would hazard a guess that your daughter is already doing drills for higher skills, neither of you know it yet.

As far as repeating the level 4.... With the new HC... Shrug. You DON'T know she will be practicing routines after routines once the season begins.

Also, it's always surprised me how people will say, " oh no! We had a change at our gym and a new HC... We need to change gyms!"

If you like the gym owner, you might want to trust their judgement and give their choice of HC more of a chance. One season isn't oing to kill your daughter.
 
You can't keep the same process and expect a different result. If the gym has brought this coach in to improve the program, chances are some of the changes you may not like initially as that way of doing this may be foreign to you. Different can also be better, especially if the HC has a clear process and has sat down and communicated that with you (plenty of parents here who would love that kind of communication)
 
I expressed these worries to the new HC and he basically said that the level is "just a number" and "let's focus on good gymnastics instead of their level"

I think this sounds like an awesome coach. Especially if he's focusing on strength and improving bars because my sense is that is what ends up holding girls back getting into optionals.

That said, of course your 9YO is going to be upset about repeating if she expects to move up. There's really nothing to prevent that. I think it's all in how you sell it though. Just keep stressing that by repeating a level she can focus on improving and uptraining so that when she gets to optionals she'll be super prepared.

As for paying for repeating, I think ultimately if he has a plan to improve the quality of training in the gym, you will get more bang for your buck in the long run.
 
Change is just hard. Even if in the long run this will be beneficial, I can feel your pain now for your child. Perhaps, as the HC was honest with you, you could ask him to speak with your child personally? Just an idea...especially as others have left. Some head coaches wouldn't care, but some might...and if he is concerned your child might head elsewhere it might help having him make time to talk with her? I am no coach. I have no clue how this works. I just trust the process of our coach. It does sound like it will be hugely beneficial on the long run. I have watched my daughter getting stronger from all her strength this summer, and I can 100 percent say there would be NO way in h*** she would be able to pull off what she was doing now on those d*** bars if she hadn't had all this conditioning! !! o_O:confused:;)
 
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I can see where you would be upset. Your DD did well at L4.
However, you need to trust in the new HC. It sounds like he has a clear plan with conditioning being Step 1.
Has he explained his move-up requirements? I'm assuming he will expect the girls to have 100% of the levels' skills several months before competing, as opposed to the "skill chasing." And will he compete all levels? Score out?
As for your DD, it's not like she's being singled out to repeat. Her whole team is repeating. They will work progressions, skills, and routines together. A good coach will make sure everyone is working skills appropriate for their level.
Try to trust in the process now and reevaluate after the meet season.
 
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I can see where you would be upset. Your DD did well at L4.
However, you need to trust in the new HC. It sounds like he has a clear plan with conditioning being Step 1.
Has he explained his move-up requirements? I'm assuming he will expect the girls to have 100% of the levels' skills several months before competing, as opposed to the "skill chasing." And will he compete all levels? Score out?
As for your DD, it's not like she's being singled out to repeat. Her whole team is repeating. They will work progressions, skills, and routines together. A good coach will make sure everyone is working skills appropriate for their level.
Try to trust in the process now and reevaluate after the meet season.
I agree with all of this. Also, I think how you approach it will help shape her attitude. If you are positive about her building up her basics and using this year to get used to the gym's changes and uptrain for level 5 then she should hopefully see it as a positive too.
 
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8 weeks is not long to improve basics, bars and conditioning. If those were lacking before then 8 months would be more realistic. Give them a chance. Repeating will not hurt especially if sound work is being laid down for harder skills and higher levels. Put your faith in this new HC and see where they take your dd in 12 months.
 
I personally think this coach is making a huge mistake. To go into a new gym and take over as head coach then repeat all gymnasts and stop all skill development to focus on basics is not really the best way to jump into the situation.

In the long run it is probably exactly what the gymnasts need to reach their full potential, however, if many of them quit or leave in the short term, they won't be around to see those pay offs.

Smarter to introduce changes gradually and work the. Through the program while developing a positive relationship with the gymnasts and staff and getting to know their motivations and goals and earning their trust first.

Gymnastics clubs are a business and they do need to make money to stay open. Kids are kids and won't realise that this is a better way to approach their training. And parents are usually clueless about the sport and won't see the benefits either. This is why you must gain their trust first.
 
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As everyone else is saying, it takes years to build a good program. The new HC has a group of girls to start with, and he needs to rebuild them to his way of coaching. It is a very difficult process for the kids, I've lived it......it's very difficult for the parents too.

It's very hard on the coaches too!! Coaches can get very affected when the overwhelming majority of parents and team members are 'unhappy' with them.....they too feel inadequate or like they made a mistake taking the job!.........give this person your support. Tell other parents to support as well. Sometimes some confidence not only can give a positive vibe, but can improve communication between kids, coaches AND parents.....maybe by understanding better where the new program is headed, you will feel better.

Your DD is 9 so it is a blip on the screen. Explain to your DD that this IS hard for both her and the new coach, and that the best way to get through it, is to listen and learn the new coaches way.......the quicker the better. Don't be negative and self defeating.
 
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I personally think this coach is making a huge mistake. To go into a new gym and take over as head coach then repeat all gymnasts and stop all skill development to focus on basics is not really the best way to jump into the situation.

In the long run it is probably exactly what the gymnasts need to reach their full potential, however, if many of them quit or leave in the short term, they won't be around to see those pay offs.

Smarter to introduce changes gradually and work the. Through the program while developing a positive relationship with the gymnasts and staff and getting to know their motivations and goals and earning their trust first.

Gymnastics clubs are a business and they do need to make money to stay open. Kids are kids and won't realise that this is a better way to approach their training. And parents are usually clueless about the sport and won't see the benefits either. This is why you must gain their trust first.
Not all coaches take this approach, some come in and level the ground and re build.......I would do it your way.......but I have found over the years, that the really good coaches will just re-do it quickly, and immadeiately.....those that leave, leave, those that stay, are getting the best of them......like pulling a bandaid off.
 
I think that focusing on strength and basics is a great thing. Another year at level four is no big deal IMO. She will likely win a lot, get a lot stronger, and I am guessing that the coach is thinking of moving 4-6 or 4-7 with them. The confidence and strength that she gains this year can really make a huge difference as she moves into optionals. I agree with the PP that the best way for this to work is for the HC to talk to your DD personally. I really feel that the coach/ athlete relationship needs to be strong and there needs to be a level of trust there. With an open dialogue between them this will help this develop. Also, if he talks to her, he can address her concerns right to your DD. Hang in there and give it time. :)
 
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Basics and strength is key. And they are up training.

We changed gyms and the difference in coaching was/is amazing. Basically the difference between your 2 coaches. And they bumped my girl back a level. She needed it.

Gymnastics is not a sprint, it's a marathon. I think the new coach is taking the right approach and sounds great.
 
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Basics and strength is key. And they are up training.

We changed gyms and the difference in coaching was/is amazing. Basically the difference between your 2 coaches. And they bumped my girl back a level. She needed it.

Gymnastics is not a sprint, it's a marathon. I think the new coach is taking the right approach and sounds great.
 
I wouldn't be thrilled, but, if he's already said they will be uptraining, that's a good thing in my book. If she moved up, she'd be focusing on L5, and "some" uptraining. A really good season of L4, and more uptraining. Is it possible he's the kind of coach who likes solid L4s so they can almost just score out of 5 and hit L7? We have a gym in our area where the girls repeat 3 and 4 (even with 37s) but then jump to L7. More chance to really get the skills before they're being competed. Not that i know that's what that coach is doing, but it sounds like he's aimed that way.
 
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