For Parents Questions on coaching method being used

littlegirlsdream

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So something that’s has been implemented at DD gym recently is just not sitting well with me. DD is training for level 9, at her gym about 3/4 they way through the season the coaches decided they had enough of their athletes getting visibly upset when practice or meets did not go well. So, They implemented a “pout board” . The intent of this board is that if you, the athlete, shows any amount of frustration, negative emotion or being upset at any point during practice you must write your name on the “pout board” there is no punishment attached to the board other than you have to be embarrassed and have your name up there in the gym until the next day. Well this is horrifying to DD, she is a pretty intense kid and does get upset with herself from time to time. Lately the pressure to never show she is upset seems to be adding considerable stress to her. The kids have to write their name on the board if they give any visible sign of being frustrated, over whelmed or upset. This can include sighs, “angry” faces, body language ..pretty much anything. If the kid writes their name small it’s erased and written in bigger. It seems to me this boards intent is to shame kids into behaving a certain way and it just does not seem healthy to me. Am I wrong in my thought on this? Does any one else have this type of thing at the gyms you go to? Is it reasonable or healthy to expect an athlete to never show frustration? Thoughts please.
 

Aussie_coach

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It seems a bit bizarre. Obviously not a well thought out and rather immature idea, that has come from coaches who are a but frustrated.

Depending on how it is being implemented, it might be worth a word with the owner.

But personally, if I were a gymnast in the class I would take it as a bit of fun. I would have made sure I wrote my name large and proud across the board because getting frustrated isn’t a bad thing. It’s a sign that yiu actually care about what you are doing.
 

MuggleMom

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They should praise the positive instead of pointing out the negative. Make it a good attitude board and it changes the whole vibe in the gym. I would maybe suggest that as they are creating the oppositve effect of what was intended....they are creating a whole host of negative emotions that cant be expressed that are bound to outburst at the least opportune moment. Isnt in your own gym when you are safe to be frustrated?
 

Carabistouille

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But personally, if I were a gymnast in the class I would take it as a bit of fun. I would have made sure I wrote my name large and proud across the board because getting frustrated isn’t a bad thing. It’s a sign that yiu actually care about what you are doing.
That's also what I would do as an adult but as a kid ? No way.

I find it extremely unhealthy.
 

mommyof1

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This sounds like it might be a case of good intentions gone horribly wrong. Teaching kids to recover from disappointment and move on to the next thing is good. Not scolding them is also good. Requiring kids to act like robots and publicly shaming them when they don't, however, is not good.

I can understand the coaches' desire to cut down on the visible drama. My kid was, mostly unbeknownst to me, kind of a drama queen in practice with one particular coach who fed into it. Her new coaches are serious about effort but laid-back about emotions and have totally defused that dynamic, and practice is much more fun for her.
 

PreciousJ

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Nope, not OK. Gymnasts are humans, not robots - they express emotion. Even Olympic-level athletes express emotion when they're upset. I can see the coaches wanted to avoid full-blown meltdowns or a gymnast shutting down mentally, but this isn't the way to do it. As noted, it would be something I'd bring up to the coaches. I'd like to know their reasoning behind the board, do they feel that expression is preventing the gymnasts from performing well? Seems like there's a huge disconnect there.
 

PeanutsMom

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Coming from a parent whose kid was never allowed to show she was scared, frustrated, or upset in her gym, this is not healthy. Bottling all those emotions up does not help a gymnast progress. It shuts them down. Emotions are a good thing. Acknowledging what is causing those emotions is an even better thing. If a gymnast is frustrated or angry, it generally because a skill isn't coming along the way they want it too. So the coaches should take that as a sign that a different approach is needed (drill, a new progression, a spot, etc). This should be the flag that coaches are looking for and a time to use it as an opportunity to help a gymnast grow.
 

Flippin'A

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To add to the great points others have made, I'm not loving the idea that all negative emotion is being thrown under the category of pouting. There's a huge range between being frustrated with yourself, being jealous of a teammate, being annoyed about your assignment, and just plain old being tired, and all of that would be called "pouting" by your description. Some of those things cold be damaging to a team atmosphere and should be discouraged, some just go along with being a type A kid who cares about the sport, and some are being human. And all of them are very, very normal things for a young person to feel. What if a kid is injured, would reacting to that count as pouting? What if they're going through something difficult at home? Still just pouting? It's belittling to tell kids that any negative feelings they have is pouting. I would have a big problem with this if it was happening at my kid's gym.
 

kecks

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This is horrible and abusive. Would never fly in public school - why should it in gymnastics? Consequences that work because they make people feel ashamed of themselves are usually wrong. Emotions of whatever kind should be aknowledged and then worked with in an acceptable (!) manner. Shaming people into not showing them is mean and not healthy at all.
 

Aussie_coach

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That's also what I would do as an adult but as a kid ? No way.

I find it extremely unhealthy.
As a kid, and especially as a teen, I would have made it into a game and made sure I got my name on the board as often as possible. Anything to be the centre of attention.
 
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bogwoppit

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Two of my kids would have really struggled with this, the other would ignore it. Not my idea of encouraging change in behaviours. Reward the good is my motto.
 

mommyof1

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This is horrible and abusive. Would never fly in public school - why should it in gymnastics? Consequences that work because they make people feel ashamed of themselves are usually wrong.
Unfortunately, a lot of public schools handle discipline through shame in the early grades. The popular red/yellow/green card system is one example. My kid never once got a yellow card but lived in fear of it.
 

raenndrops

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Unfortunately, a lot of public schools handle discipline through shame in the early grades. The popular red/yellow/green card system is one example. My kid never once got a yellow card but lived in fear of it.
Years ago, ONE classroom in my local elementary school ADDED 2 additional colors because of 1 child. He could easily be on the RED card before lunch until she added orange between green and yellow and added purple after red. Several days when he got back to the child care, he had the dreaded purple mark in his agenda. :(
 

MuggleMom

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Unfortunately, a lot of public schools handle discipline through shame in the early grades. The popular red/yellow/green card system is one example. My kid never once got a yellow card but lived in fear of it.

In 1st grade we got our "duck put in a bucket" I once didnt hear the teacher call us in from recess and they put my duck in the first bucket and I cried the rest of the day. I'm 40 years old and this memory is burned into my brain as one of the most traumatic events of elementary school. I mean I turned out all right and all lol but yeah schools definitely use forms of public shaming in terms of punishment/reward systems. I have noticed a bigger push towards rewards systems though which is good.

But a gym isnt school either, you dont have 20-30 kids to 1 adult ratio with differentiated learning and different levels of motivation. You have small groups of highly motivated individuals. I don't think you need to rule with an iron fist in gym (despite some gyms doing just that) so a reward positive behavior approach would be easier to use here.

I would think this is an attempt to change behavior gone wrong as opposed to some ploy to "get control" in some abusive way, but either way I would talk to the gym and say hey I get what youre trying to do but I worry it will have the opposite effect of what you intend.
 

littlegirlsdream

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It seems a bit bizarre. Obviously not a well thought out and rather immature idea, that has come from coaches who are a but frustrated.

Depending on how it is being implemented, it might be worth a word with the owner.

But personally, if I were a gymnast in the class I would take it as a bit of fun. I would have made sure I wrote my name large and proud across the board because getting frustrated isn’t a bad thing. It’s a sign that yiu actually care about what you are doing.
That would be a better way to respond but my fortunately an already frustrated and upset 12 A type personality 12 year old does not find it funny at all.
 
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littlegirlsdream

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I mean, you could work on teaching kids strategies to work through frustration, which happens to everyone. Or you could do...this. Are the coaches then pouting about drama?
That’s a good point! The thing I do not get is they are asking children to control/ignore or hide their negative emotions and most grown adults I know can not. Also, they themselves aren’t controlling their emotions. Most of these kids are straight A students in school, never had a name on the board, rarely in trouble…now they are. Not to mention in equalities happen. So one kid one day they might make an exception for which is of course making things work. The focus has become so much about this stupid board for the kids it seems to be literally sucking the fun out of the sport for them. The other thing is there is a lot of literature out there about how this method in schools often actually produces the opposite result of what you are trying to accomplish . It’s really not working.
I have spoke to the owner, which is also DD coach AND the person that implemented this plan.
 

littlegirlsdream

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In 1st grade we got our "duck put in a bucket" I once didnt hear the teacher call us in from recess and they put my duck in the first bucket and I cried the rest of the day. I'm 40 years old and this memory is burned into my brain as one of the most traumatic events of elementary school. I mean I turned out all right and all lol but yeah schools definitely use forms of public shaming in terms of punishment/reward systems. I have noticed a bigger push towards rewards systems though which is good.

But a gym isnt school either, you dont have 20-30 kids to 1 adult ratio with differentiated learning and different levels of motivation. You have small groups of highly motivated individuals. I don't think you need to rule with an iron fist in gym (despite some gyms doing just that) so a reward positive behavior approach would be easier to use here.

I would think this is an attempt to change behavior gone wrong as opposed to some ploy to "get control" in some abusive way, but either way I would talk to the gym and say hey I get what youre trying to do but I worry it will have the opposite effect of what you intend.
I absolutely agree that this, in the mind of the coach, did not originate as a crazy idea meant to harshly control. BUT, I have already voiced my concerns in regards to the effects it’s having on my kid. It’s been implemented now for a couple months. DD is not often on this board BUT lives in fear of it all the time. I have told her to just not worry about it and who cares if she gets her name on it. But SHE cares very much. So add frustration from just coming back from
An injury and already being “behind” where she thinks she should be to an extremely passionate and driven kid …your going to get some
Visible frustration. I will talk again to the coach about it. I appreciate everyone’s insight.