Hello and thank you in advance for reading and advising
My daughter has been a level 10 gymnast since she was young and has qualified to nationals every year, except one. At regionals she and her teammate qualified to nationals again. DD's older sister also qualified as an alternate after coming back from an injury. My DD consistently scores 37 plus AA's every meet.
Jr DD scores above 9 for first place: Her one coach (she has 2) tells her he is disappointed in her performance (especially on vault) and both her teammates performances (above). He proceeds to vent his frustration about my daughters and teammate to another level 9 gymnast at practice yesterday who is competing tomorrow at regionals (more stress for this poor kid to perform perfectly) Gym owner, to my knowledge, has no clue he is doing this, but knows his personality. However, this coach has been talking down to our girls since he came to our gym a few years ago. We as parents always thought it was just a dry sense of humor and that he was kidding with them. The comments he made this weekend were ridiculous and uncalled for in my opinion. He uttered not one word of "good job" etc. or any form of positive reassurance/affirmation of a meet well executed by them. In fact, after vault (last event), he tells DD's teammate that she just screwed up her chances of qualifying before he even checked the score/standings. After the dust settled, it turns out she could have fallen 3 times on beam and still qualified. He was totally unaware of their placement.
Yes, he has tons of coaching experience and he is great at teaching technique and getting the girls where they need to be athletically and for colleges to be aware of their talent, but he also is very manipulative and plays mental mind games with these "kids" (ages 12 to 16) and this weekend it has finally come to a boiling point with my daughter-and the parents. We the parents know we have not been advocating properly, but feel like we are in a "Catch 22" with these coaches. Our daughters beg us not to say anything to them, because the girls tell us the coaches will be miserable and mean and take it out on them at practice. We, as parents are at a loss and quite heartbroken that all their hard work seems to account for nothing and the fun is totally sucked out of this sport for them. We feel like we are perpetuating this viscous cycle by not advocating for them and enabling the coaches to mentally/emotionally abuse our girls, but know if we do try to fix this, the girls will bear the brunt of it. The situation has gotten so bad, the gymnasts are entertaining the idea of exploring other gyms. I am concerned that if we approach the gym owner, this will make everything worse for the girls especially now that colleges are looking at them and I don't want to ruin any chances of them obtaining a scholarship, but more importantly, I don't want them to pay the price of mental abuse for doing their best and achieving great things. Pushing them to do well is one thing, but this is just nuts, right???
This morning, I gave my daughters permission to talk back to him and defend themselves if he should say anything demeaning to them again and if he has a problem with it to come talk to me and I will straighten him out. The problem here is that he will turn this around and say she is being disrespectful by talking back to him (another one of his mind games-this happens when they answer regular questions he asks/so bizarre and it drives me crazy!) My girls are never disrespectful to authoritative figures and up until this point have maintained composure with great mental strength, imho, dealing with his continual negative comments to them. They are not 5 year olds and have a voice in this 2 way street-there is give and take in this coach/gymnast relationship that he clearly does not acknowledge.
There are no other gyms we would feel comfortable sending our daughters to, and where there is
good coaching, it is hours away and just not a viable solution.
Any words of advice would be greatly appreciated at this time. Thanks for letting me vent.
Edited To remove identifying information.