WAG Not creating further damage

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munchkin3

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Proud Parent
Jun 6, 2008
2,102
Thank you everyone! Now let's see if I can work with quotes...LOL


I have no issue with her not competing. That would be fine. I'm worried about what her confidence will be like if she does move to a "preteam". I would see it as a lateral move or possibly a move up if we end up at a gym that doesn't have a L2 team. Preteam has been used in part of the belittling process. The girls have been told that they aren't good enough and that maybe they should be moved back to preteam or advanced classes with the little kids (most are older than my DD, but not majority of the L2's). So preteam in general wouldn't be bad and I'd be fine with it at the right gym, however since it has been used as a threat in a way that makes it seem like it is nothing; how does my dd take it. Does she see a move to preteam in a gym that doesn't have a team at her level as being punished? My biggest worry would be that she sees it as current coaches have no confidence in her, we move her and put her in something that she was threatened with previously and thinks we also don't believe in her and possibly that new coaches already don't believe in her. As an adult, I can work through this process that this isn't the case, but how does a 6 y/o work through it? What is there thought process? I know they are resiliant, but having the perception that nobody believes in her is what my first post should have read like, is what my worry is.

There other gyms that do L2. Lots of them in fact. We already travel, so with traveling we have quite a few options...not all good options for us, but options. We also live very close to the state line. The gyms across the state line for the majority seem to start at L3 instead of 2. The gym recommendation we have is for one of them. So that is where I really have to choose and question what is in the best interest of my daughters confidence and self-esteem now - A gym that she could train with the L2 team and just not compete for now or a gym that doesn't have a L2 team and figure out how they would place her and if being moved to "preteam" under above circumstances would be partially damaging too. In the case of a L2 gym, we may find that it is just a resting point for a couple years and then if the other recommended gym is still a great option or somewhere else, move on again. I don't really want to gym hop.


She really likes to compete. She wants to win, but we've really instilled that it is doing your best, you can't control what the judge does. So it has become her wanting to get a higher score at each meet and a game to keep her points. Not competing wouldn't be the end of the world and it surely won't influence this decision. If she can continue, great....if not, that is what it is. Like I said above, preteam has been made out to be lesser and by having the same name, even if different meaning than current gym, it has a negative feeling for her right now. Will she have enough belief in me telling her that it isn't being pulled back?



I wouldn't mind the preteam especially if they were uptraining for 3/4. I think given the chance, it wouldn't take her long to be ready to move on.
Just a quick thought after my New Years celebration.....happy new year BTW!!!! 2015 is going to be great!
Your DD is 6 so there is a lot you can do for her when it comes to switching to whichever program YOU think is right for her. Wether they compete 2, 3 or preteam or whatever.....just don't even focus on it. If you are finished with competition season, then I would just take her to the gym and don't mention level yet....after she adjusts, and makes friends she may not even care because she will learn the new way. You will be surprised at how quickly her self esteem will increase just by being around the right coaches, regardless of what 'level' they are doing......she won't even care.....
But on the chance she might be upset of being 'demoted', I am sure she will understand the situation.....I promise you, after she gets a nice coach, she won't care!

I just recently moved, didn't mention level, didn't tell the coaches anything about what she can do......just took her, said what level she was at at her previous gym......after 3 weeks, I was told what level she will be in.
 
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Muddlethru

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Mar 16, 2011
3,522
Kids are pretty resilient. Should your daughter be disappointed with the gym switch and the ensuing non-competition year, she will get over it; and if the gym has better more caring coaches, she'll be happier. Red flags are warning signs of danger or a problem. What you have is past a red flag.

As far as the coach you describe, my youngest daughter had a dance teacher that caused so much distress to my daughter she was in tears every time she had to take this teacher's class. I spoke to the studio owner who seemed genuinely interested in my daughter's concerns but nothing changed. I think often times studio owners/gym owners/HCs have strong loyalties to the employees/staff. They try to appease parents but do nothing to really improve the situation. This is my personal experience even with current gym. So I personally went up to the teacher. The situation changed instantly. My daughter now really likes this teacher. The 'meanness' could be anywhere from just being strict (and sensitive kids misconstrue the actions), to downright being a really mean person. Then there is the clinical reason (i.e., bipolar etc) that seems to be aggravated by additional stresses in life. As adults we can be more understanding and forgiving of such actions. But children take things personally. So the situation needs to be addressed and remedied. IMO.
 
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Alyssa S.

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Dec 28, 2014
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I don't know, what do you think? Does it seem like a normal level 2/ preteam to you in the description of the coaching? As a gymnastics professional, it would be great to know your thoughts on the likelihood of that.

Without more, it sounds to me like something more than a mere dilemma for this parent. It is thematic (judging by the quantity of similar experiences shared here and elsewhere).

Every coach and parent here seems to agree uniformly that this OP's coach in this gym was ineffective, to say the least. Yet that same coach (and nearly every coach complained of) almost certainly has a counter perspective--e.g., this coach might remember, or misremember, the events differently and, ultimately, deny most or all ineffectiveness on her part.

I'm not offering any great insights, of course, but I would continue the analysis when shopping other gyms (and into the future).

Predictably, after the OP performs her due diligence and leaves this gym, another girl (leaving her former team for the same reason) joins this gym, but only after confirming -- in a meeting ironically with that exact same "ineffective" coach -- that this gym "does not tolerate any abuse. In fact, the only kids we've had quit here were because of crazy overbearing parents (and I'm sure you are not one of 'those parents')." Perhaps that coach learns to be more effective in fact?

Back to the OP. The gym change most likely begins with a "honeymoon" period (and a deep parental need for assurance that--with such limited information--she did what's best for DD).

However, OP cannot be expected merely to "trust the safety-certified coaches because they know what's best; and you are not a coach!"

While there is little doubt that OP wants to trust; experience directs that the trust not be immediate (or blind). Another dilemma.

Complicated. But these thematic situations might actually be aggravated by the paradigm, norms, and presumptions of the gymnastics culture itself....(maybe for another thread/post.)
 

gymdog

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Jul 5, 2007
5,121
[QUOTEgymdog, post: 360034, member: 706"]I don't know, what do you think? Does it seem like a normal level 2/ preteam to you in the description of the coaching? As a gymnastics professional, it would be great to know your thoughts...

Without more, it sounds to me like something more than a mere dilemma for this parent. It is thematic (judging by the quantity of similar experiences shared here and elsewhere).

Every coach and parent here seems to agree uniformly that this OP's coach in this gym was ineffective, to say the least. Yet that same coach (and nearly every coach complained of) almost certainly has a counter perspective--e.g., this coach might remember, or misremember, the events differently and, ultimately, deny most or all ineffectiveness on her part.

I'm not offering any great insights, of course, but I would continue the analysis when shopping other gyms (and into the future).

Predictably, after the OP performs her due diligence and leaves this gym, another girl (leaving her former team for the same reason) joins this gym, but only after confirming -- in a meeting ironically with that exact same "ineffective" coach -- that this gym "does not tolerate any abuse. In fact, the only kids we've had quit here were because of crazy overbearing parents (and I'm sure you are not one of 'those parents')." Perhaps that coach learns to be more effective in fact?

Back to the OP. The gym change most likely begins with a "honeymoon" period (and a deep parental need for assurance that--with such limited information--she did what's best for DD).

However, OP cannot be expected merely to "trust the safety-certified coaches because they know what's best; and you are not a coach!"

While there is little doubt that OP wants to trust; experience directs that the trust not be immediate (or blind). Another dilemma.

Complicated. But these thematic situations might actually be aggravated by the paradigm, norms, and presumptions of the gymnastics culture itself....(maybe for another thread/post.)

I'm really not sure what you mean for most of this post. I agree that the coach will probably deny it, but I don't think it takes a genius or safety certification to see this is not the right coaching technique for 6 year olds. Just because someone leaves a team doesn't mean someone else will automatically join from another gym. Have you seen many gyms go out of business? I have.
 

Alyssa S.

Member
Former Gymnast
Proud Parent
Judge
Dec 28, 2014
66
I'm really not sure what you mean for most of this post. I agree that the coach will probably deny it, but I don't think it takes a genius or safety certification to see this is not the right coaching technique for 6 year olds. Just because someone leaves a team doesn't mean someone else will automatically join from another gym. Have you seen many gyms go out of business? I have.

Let me know if you have any interest in starting a new thread. I would like to know people's perspectives as to why gyms go out of business based on both specific and general experiences.
 

flippinam

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Coach
Proud Relative
Gymnast
Nov 8, 2014
242
Without more, it sounds to me like something more than a mere dilemma for this parent. It is thematic (judging by the quantity of similar experiences shared here and elsewhere).

Every coach and parent here seems to agree uniformly that this OP's coach in this gym was ineffective, to say the least. Yet that same coach (and nearly every coach complained of) almost certainly has a counter perspective--e.g., this coach might remember, or misremember, the events differently and, ultimately, deny most or all ineffectiveness on her part.

I'm not offering any great insights, of course, but I would continue the analysis when shopping other gyms (and into the future).

Predictably, after the OP performs her due diligence and leaves this gym, another girl (leaving her former team for the same reason) joins this gym, but only after confirming -- in a meeting ironically with that exact same "ineffective" coach -- that this gym "does not tolerate any abuse. In fact, the only kids we've had quit here were because of crazy overbearing parents (and I'm sure you are not one of 'those parents')." Perhaps that coach learns to be more effective in fact?

Back to the OP. The gym change most likely begins with a "honeymoon" period (and a deep parental need for assurance that--with such limited information--she did what's best for DD).

However, OP cannot be expected merely to "trust the safety-certified coaches because they know what's best; and you are not a coach!"

While there is little doubt that OP wants to trust; experience directs that the trust not be immediate (or blind). Another dilemma.

Complicated. But these thematic situations might actually be aggravated by the paradigm, norms, and presumptions of the gymnastics culture itself....(maybe for another thread/post.)
By sharing my experience, I meant to highlight the adverse effects of this coaching technique on children, not show that it is a widespread practice & within the "culture" of gymnastics. It definitely is not. I am almost certain the others who shared their similar experiences did so with the same intention. There are just as many effective coaches out there as there are ineffective coaches like those mentioned here. I'm sure if somebody started a thread about how much they love their or their child's coaches & asked about similar experiences, there would be many responses to testify that. It's also about finding the right fit. The "coach" that OP mentioned is obviously not a good fit for her DD and by the way it sounds, young children in general. The coach that I had the experience with was great with preschoolers but not with older children. Her personality was very different with them than it was with us. Regardless, it was a harmful situation, as it is for the OP's DD. And as gymdog said, there are many gyms that do go out of business. Just in my city, the only other gym in town went out of business due to inappropriate conduct from the HC/owner. The OP can get a good idea of what to expect from prospective new gyms by dropping in to watch a few practices. She can call the gym and ask about coming to watch a practice at some point without giving a specific day. That way, as long as the gym allows it, she can observe a practice without the coaches expecting her to be there. So, she'll see how they truly treat their gymnasts without any "act" to pull her into the gym. Of course if she were to only talk to the HC, all she would hear is positive info to promote his or her gym and denial of any abuse. This is why first hand observation is important.
 

windydays

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Proud Parent
May 4, 2014
156
I know I'm jumping in a little late, but I felt the need to offer my personal experience. Leave & don't look back. I had a coach like that, and I almost quit because of her. Thankfully she moved out of state because there are no other clubs in my area, so I had to deal with it or quit. But after three years of her being my coach, I still have issues trusting my current coaches, who are great. Every time I had an injury, she accused me of faking it, and now, I have a complex that all coaches think I'm faking. I feel guilty any time I have to be out for an injury. I know my coaches know I'm not faking, but I always end up pushing myself until I'm physically unable to continue because I'm afraid to tell them. That coach also killed my self-confidence. Any time I said anything, she either turned my words around to make it sound like I had said something wrong or accused me of being stupid. I became so self conscious because of her and am often afraid to speak up in any situation. The effects from her have been lasting. The coach's belittling will hurt her confidence much more than moving back to preteam. I was much older than her (12-15) when I had that coach and it still harmed me. I can't even imagine being six years old and having to go through that.

This is so sad. I am sorry you had to go through that. Thank you for sharing your experience with us.
 
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Alyssa S.

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Dec 28, 2014
66
That could be another interesting topic regarding the search for a new gym: how do we define good coaching? What are the general qualities and specific examples that non-gymnastics coaches (e.g., customers) hope to find? How might those customer views be similar to the owner/coaches views?
 

GYM0M

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Jul 23, 2013
1,381
Dear OP: the title you have this thread says it all! Anytime you associate 'damage' with a 6 year old's self esteem is not acceptable.

HOWEVER, in response to the 'theme of gymnastics culture and coaching,' coaching in ALL sports is an art and not a science. There's no one size fits all for children. While, yes, the experiences listed in this thread are ineffective and unfortunate, SOME of these coaches may go on to become great effective coaches. Many are young, really young, and are still sorting through life experiences. Some have different life aspirations and some may be harboring resentment if they did not achieve their goals for gymnastics or life itself. Some may be bipolar, depressed, anxious, aggravated, or just not quite right! The point is that everyone makes mistakes and the good coaches learn from theirs. If there's a gymnastics coach out there with ABSOLUTELY NOTHING left to learn because they know literally everything about gymnastics, children, adolescents, teenagers, parents, & life then let me know who and where they are located! I could really use their help!

But OP, not your job to hang around and watch this coach try to mature. Not at the expense of your 6 year old or your 12 year old or your 20 year old.
 

Committed

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Dec 31, 2012
3,183
OP- I had my DD switch gyms when she was turning 6yo. She was competing old level 3 (new 2) at a rec gym. Honestly, she was really upset that I was moving her. She loved competing and loved her coaches. She ended up going to a very reputable gym a little further away and had to join the pre team as they started competing at new 3 (just switched over systems). Not to mention, she got injured just before the last-chance tryouts at the new gym.
So, she spent quite a bit of time on the pre team (no meets for a year and a half!). However, DD ended up skipping L3 and competed L4 the next season (as a 7yo).

After the first month at the 'new' gym, she fell in love with it and did not want to go back. I'd also found out that her beloved coaches both left within a month of DD leaving. It was a bit humbling for her to go onto a pre team, but she did enjoy being the best one in her group. Plus, she was able to gain new skills and confidence.

Good luck to your DD!
 

mommyof1

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Jan 31, 2012
2,508
The car
Get out ASAP. Your daughter will get over any "demotion" to preteam as soon as she is in a healthy environment having fun.

Just a few weeks ago we moved my daughter (almost 8 years old, training L3/L4 at old gym) to a new gym that doesn't have a group that is a precise fit for her skills and doesn't accept transfers onto the competitive team during the competitive season. The only place for her at the new gym was L2 preteam, which means she is now working on easier skills and training less than she previously was. We explained to her some of the reasons behind the move, and she is fully on board with the move as necessary to keep her progressing and enjoying gymnastics in the long run. She loves her new gym and her new group, even though she doesn't get to practice all the exciting new skills she acquired just prior to the move. And as a mom, I don't see the move as holding her back--what really held her back was the fact that I didn't move her earlier.
 

rosettasmom

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Apr 18, 2012
129
An example of my due diligence. I spent a good amount of time at a few different gyms by myself watching practice. Most have enough rec going that I wasn't even noticed. I knew who the compulsory coaches were within seconds and spent a few different days at different times, watching how they coached. Call me a CGM, but this is MY dd and I will go to the ends of the earth to protect her. I bet I'm not the only parent who goes to this extent to ensure that we aren't jumping into the frying pan so to speak.
 

Midwestmommy

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Aug 22, 2013
497
Midwest
It would be pretty simple for me. I work my rear off to earn a living, and I would not spend my hard-earned money for someone to call my daughter (or have her watch an adult call another kid) a sloppy pig. That would be game over for me. Any coach who calls kids that is one themselves, professionally speaking, in my humble opinion.
 

alr83

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Jun 24, 2014
22
Thank you everyone! I've heard back from one gym and they are more than happy to have us come in and watch practice and she can come in for an evaluation. I've let them know that I first want to watch a practice or two just to get a feel for coaching styles and that I think that they may fit with her instead of getting her involved right away. They look good on paper, now to just see if they DO what they SAY/WRITE. Now to just get the exact times and get over there....Not looking forward for the drive, but I can see it all being worth it. It isn't that much longer in time to get there, but it is twice the distance in a different direction that we typically don't go. This week may actually show me what the winter drive will be like...yuck!

I think it is very unfortunate with our situation. The gym as a whole is good, it is just one person who is dragging our perception down. We would be in for a gym switch at some point down the road if she really wanted to continue and truly be competitive- I thought that was down the road. I'll be talking to current HC this week and see what happens.

Sounds like with others experiences that there are good gyms, gyms with some bad overall philosophies and then the gyms that one coach is ruining it.

Thank you to those who have shared your experiences- those who have had direct contact with these types of coaches and showing that the lasting effects aren't what I want for my daughter and those who have made the decision as a parent and basically gone before to reassure that initially it is hard but it is worth it in the long run.
 

emma m

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Gymnast
Dec 19, 2014
39
21
I would definitely say that you should switch gyms ASAP! A 6 year old should never be yelled at like that and if you keep her in an environment like that, her self-esteem really could get damaged and it will be hard to work it back up. Even if she will be on preteam, its better than keeping her with an abusive coach and just explain to her that eventually she will move up and compete. I've seen way too mant cases of a child staying with a bad coach and developing bad self-esteem and loosing their confidence, actually, there is one very popular case of this on the show "Dance Moms". Abby(the teacher) kept beating down and insulting Chloe (one of the dancers) and eventually it got to the point where she was so beaten down she just didn't want to try anymore. Obviously this happened over many years, but as soon as she got away from Abby her confidence rebuilt. Now this may be a bad example, but I really do think it will be in your DD's best interest to switch gyms!
 
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gracyomalley

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Aug 5, 2013
944
Just a word of encouragement - DD best friend switched from a gym that competed old 4 (new 3) to one that started comp at old 5 (new 4). After competing a few meets as a successful 6 year old L4. She then had to do 9+ months of "non-competing team" (basically pre-team but 8-12 hours a week working old 5/new 4 skills). She initially didn't understand why her mom switched her - but now, at almost 12 she is a successful L9 and happy. She cleaned up a lot of skills that were poorly taught and was in a better environment emotionally. She's super talented, but the premise holds that if its the best thing to do, as parent we generally need to just make the decisions and be consistent - our kids trust us to know what's best for them.

DD was also forced to change gyms this spring due to coaching behavior and unethical practices. She tried to understand (although she loved the coach and assumed that she could not do gymnastics without her) but essentially fell apart gymnastically and quit for 3 months, only starting now to get back to loving it and working toward her potential. However, she's 12 and has told me many times in the last few months that she is very glad I moved her and that she now understands why. If I can get through "making" a 11 year old L7 champion that unhappy, you will be fine explaining to your 6 year old that you are doing what's best for her!! Good luck!
 
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