"Punishment" for not making a skill

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Aug 15, 2008
My coach will sometimes make us climb rope if we don't do something, but it seems different then the above posters! It's just with us older girls who are usually being lazy on vault or something and just keep running past it, so after a few times he'll tell us if we don't at least go over the vault, we'll have to climb the rope. And then who ever it was will usually do their vault. And if she doesn't then she climbs two ropes or whatever the coach assigned, but it's never too hard. I consider it more motivational in this situation, opposed to a consequence. I don't think this method should be used on younger girls though, and not for something like not making a kip! Maybe if she wasn't trying, but if she truly was trying then she should never have to do such a large amount of sit ups.

All Chalked Up

Mar 15, 2010
No way! Sometimes girls I train with (especially those who just got their kips) get tired or have a bad day on bars and can't make a kip. Like Dunno said, 1000 sit ups won't make a kip. And conditiong shouldn't be dreaded! It's an essential, not nesscerily has to be liked but not dreaded.
This reminds me of a lot of stuff that has happened in my gym in the past. One time a girl had to do 300 pushups on top of our normal conditioning, maybe about 100 pushups because she missed her vault. Did this help? She has never missed her vault again, but her arms must of been so sore!


I HATE WHEN PEOPLE DO THIS! (remedial work or extra exercises for the child to do in order to gain strength and awareness is another story). If an entire group isn't behaving or the child isn't showing any interest at all, I offer conditioning/exercises or just sit down, but I try to make it a choice and be very even with it.

There's a lot of people working with kids who are more comfortable with adults (and no I don't think this has a lot to do with being a parent, I'm certainly not and won't have school age children for awhile), and I get that, but you need to learn some coping skills. Some coaches are getting way overinvested and take a child not making corrections personally. it's ridiculous. I can always tell the coaches who are "above" rec classes but also don't want to learn about kids or realize how LITTLE some of these kids are or how high the expectations are. Yeah, it's team gymnastics, expectations should be high, but we need to have some sense of scale here. People just boggle my mind sometimes. I can't post in the parent forum but I read that thread with the limbers in preteam and it horrified me enough I felt sick.

I try very hard NOT to single anyone out. And to find something positive the child is doing as often as possible. If the child is not strong, weaker than the rest of the group - so what? Watch that child during conditioning, push them a little to "fight" with encouragement, and tell them how proud you are of each gain in strength they make and what your next goal for them is. I mainly coach girls, although I sometimes work with boys, and I know things can get a little different with them - they tend to not take things nearly as personally and often take a lot "more" in order to listen as a group. But I'm just going to talk about girls here.

Finally, coaches and instructors need to recognize the difference between behavior and safety issues and not being able to do gymnastics. There are consequences for behavior and safety issues, but you can't punish a child for not being able to do something in gymnastics. It's silly. Attitude issues may be a gray area, and this is where some discretion has to be exercised based on individual personality, but in general my feelings towards attitude issues are that you can never control a child and how they're going to approach this sport, you can only put an environment in place that will hopefully encourage them to make their best of their time in the gym. If despite best efforts they clearly don't want to be there, then there are natural consequences: progress will stall, you won't get to move on to the next skill/drill that other can work on, and so on. We should be trying to teach kids life skills here and part of that is accepting a system of natural consequences and accepting that we may see a child struggle before they succeed, whether due to attitude or developmental ability.

I just love this post so much! I caught myself previously stating just what you said, "There's a lot of people working with kids who are more comfortable with adults..." As a teacher, I know that I HAD to study child psychology in order to obtain my degree. I am not so sure that coaching is a profession that mandates that same policy. This to me is unfortunate. I don't think coaches, at least not the ones I have come across, purposely want to abuse emotionally or whatever the children in their charge, but I do believe not understanding how the mind of a child works actually causes them to fall prey to doing just that at times.
Little DD was beginning to make little comments here and there about certain things said to her at gym. I posted before about her having to do extra cond. due to missing a skill at a meet. She is only 7 and has not connected the extra cond. to the factor that she missed the skill as a tactic to NOT miss it next time. She has missed that same skill at every meet, so all I can say is that extra cond. tactic is certainly not working at least NOT for her. I never want her to associate anything negative with her gymnastics. If she tells herself, "I missed this... at...then I better work harder at..." That serves more of a purpose to the development of her psyche than, "I missed... at... I know when I get back to gym I have to do... Man I hate....coach/skill/cond./ME!"
I couldn't bare the latter so I had to find a gym that was better suited to her needs and I was so fortunate to find her new gym. Little DD is loving IT so much!! She begs to know when she is going back every day! And I watched their conditioning, Boy they could whip a muscle man into shape! It's tough!! Yesterday she asked if she had practice today, Sunday. When I told her no, she said then I can't wait for Tuesday! I am so happy to see all of that excitement. At seven, she was getting too down on herself for missing that darn squat on. I never want any child let alone my own learn to beat themselves up. At every meet, she LOOKED so happy, yet her comments started almost a month ago. I thought she was doing well; I am glad I did not NOT listen to what she was trying to tell me. She misses her old teammates, but her new ones and her new coaches are so great!! We got so lucky!!!:D:)
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yelling...hoping maybe that coach could hear me...or that maybe, if by some random stroke of luck, a coach who uses conditioning as punishment might read this and change tactics.

Some coaches have become so used to outwardly "getting their point across" that I don't think they SEE the negativity they are putting out. It's unfortunate when you realize the children are the ones forced to bear that 'wrath'. Harsh word? Every child associates verbal comments differently. Little DD was also told that if she doesn't make her squat on at her next meet, she will go back to level 4. ????? Is all I have for that comment. What was the coach hoping to get from my DD with such a comment? DD is very polite; she'd never say anything inappropriate unlike what I was 'thinking' when she mentioned it to me. She also said, " Don't tell me... You are going to say he was only trying to help me." Okay, what role have I played in all of this. Kid thinks I may condone this behavior from her coach. Absolutely NOT!!
All adults involved play a part in helping that child learn to cope with all they hear. But there are situations like at gym that parents are not privy to. Having a son with anxiety has caused me to be ultra sensitive with him as well as my other two children and those that I teach as well.
I hope you are able though Sheplaysinthechalk to reach as many coaches on here as you possibly can. I would hate to be a child in today's world. We all need to advocate for all children!
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