For Parents Questions on coaching method being used

littlegirlsdream

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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?
I think that is an excellent idea! It could change the entire focus for the kids I think!
 

gym_dad32608

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These types of posts are always hard. Asymmetric information does not paint a clear picture and most times the responses end up affirming the original poster's biased opinion/view. Just to provide a counter-point, context is important. If we are talking about an upper-level group comprised of mainly teenagers or pre-teens I don't see a significant issue with this. At that level and age the girls should understand this is no longer development gymnastics, this is a significant commitment and I am sure most if not all have larger aspirations such as college or elite. Recognizing a bad attitude impacts not only the individual performance but also the team is an important concept to understand. Sometimes I feel we have let the pendulum swing too far the other way, where every correction is an insult/slight/safe sport violation.

Again not to belittle what you might be feeling just trying to counter balance the discussion.
 
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GYM0M

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I am sorry. I know it’s hard to watch your child have such anxiety about something that is seemingly insignificant. Learning to control negative emotions and frustrations is part of the mental game of upper level gymnastics. I don’t like the method, but it could benefit the gymnasts. My dd would actually prefer this to a tactic of one of her coaches. She get anxious and shuts down when her coach wants to ‘talk’ about her frustrations. Every gymnast is different so different methods will work differently, and truthfully, just about any method that tries to teach teenage age girls to outwardly control their emotions will have pros and cons. I also know that they mostly think we don’t know what we are talking about, but I explain to my dd that you cannot control the actions of others, but you can control your reactions to their actions. I encouraged her to find a neutral expression or ‘tick’ that would allow her to express her frustrations without breeding more negativity. But I sympathize with your feelings and trust me, I know it’s hard.
 

gymgal

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I personally would not have gone about it this way but I also would not have had an issue with it if it was instituted in my dd's gym, especially if the gymnasts could also write down the coach's names and if the emotions were better defined (a simple pout would not be worthy but a crying or an outburst of anger would be). It brings awareness to high emotions and how the can hinder moving forward. It also helps them practice this in a safe environment so that when they are at a competition, they have better control of their emotions. It also teaches them "you do it, you own it". It shouldn't be viewed or presented as a shaming but as increasing awareness and something to work on

As for schools, this is going on in schools across the nation even in older grades - teachers writing names on the board and then adding hash marks for each additional infraction.
 

Carabistouille

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Learning to control negative emotions and frustrations is part of the mental game of upper level gymnastics. I don’t like the method, but it could benefit the gymnasts. My dd would actually prefer this to a tactic of one of her coaches. She get anxious and shuts down when her coach wants to ‘talk’ about her frustrations. Every gymnast is different so different methods will work differently, and truthfully, just about any method that tries to teach teenage age girls to outwardly control their emotions will have pros and cons.
Except talking about your negative emotion is a healthy thing to do and coaches should absolutely encourage it. Obviously it might be hard and some kids might shut down, but coaches should still encourage kids to voice out frustrations in a respectful, constructive manner.

Having kids write their name on a board for "pouting" and - worse - writing the name in bigger letters if they wrote it too small (indicating clear feeling of shame on the kid's side) is not dealing with frustrations. It's basically encouraging kids to bottle up emotions instead of voicing them out and actually dealing with them.
I also fear that it might inconsciously encourage kids not to voice legitimate concerns (injuries, issue with adults' behaviour or just straight out being tired and needing a break).

I do agree, however, that the coaches might be coming from a good place.
 

gymisforeveryone

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Are the coaches giving the gymnasts tools to handle their frustration? Are they just asking them to hide their feelings or are they saying that having frustration, fear, anger, self doubt or disappointment is right and normal and we all have those feelings, but that we should learn to control our actions when we feel that way?

Asking gymnasts to not roll their eyes when given a correction or to not kick or hit mats or equipment or throw things when they fail or watch the coach in the eyes and answer questions even when they are frustrated is RIGHT. It's teaching the gymnasts that they have to respect other people and their environment no matter how bad they are feeling. Having feelings is completely normal, but feelings are "just" feeling and we can ALWAYS control the actions that we take.

BUT, I would have a problem whit telling gymnasts they are not allowed to cry when they are sad or frustrated. The coaches should teach the gymnasts acceptable coping mechanisms and how to handle the negative feelings in a constructive way. Are the coaches having talks with the gymnasts individually, giving them a safe opportunity to tell how they are feeling about X, Y or Z problem? Are the coaches teaching them how to calm themselves when mad, disappointed or frustrated? Are they helping the girls to name their feelings and how to face them?

If they are doing all that, and some gymnasts still show disrespect in their behavior, then I think the board thing is ok. But otherwise, no.
 

mommyof1

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A big problem with the board is that it's a one-size-fits-all approach, and usually one-size-fits-all really means one size fits none. Some kids need to talk through their feelings. Some, like mine, need coaches who just say "you're frustrated, OK, now do this other thing," and talking through it just makes it worse. Some kids might be motivated to keep their names off the board, but most either won't care or will be stressed out by the whole thing.

The only time this sort of thing works is when it's all done in good fun as a gentle reminder, and the kids are in on the joke. At my daughter's previous gym, the rule was that if you left your grips lying around they got hung at the top of the rope and you had to climb up and get them. It was a silly tradition more than a punishment, and even my very high-strung kid enjoyed it.
 

GymDadWA

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My suspicion is that the idea behind the board is to give the gymnast a couple of minutes to walk away and take a time out before trying again, instead of getting frustrated and just doing skills while frustrated or angry which can be physically dangerous. Instead of just making them sit down it lets them walk away and come back.

If it wasn't their name and instead a drawing or adding to some kind of community art project maybe that would have the same effect without "shaming" them. Like add a ribbon to the time out tree or something.
 

GymMUMAus

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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?

100% agree with this and think it is worthwhile suggesting this to the gym. All students, at school or in the gym, need to learn how to work through frustration in a positive way. There is ample research to suggest that shame and/or forcing kids to bottle up their emotions is not healthy. Also, feeling frustration when you're working towards difficult skills is completely normal. Learning how to work through the frustration in a positive way and keep on going is a key ingredient of success.
 

Flippin'A

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As for schools, this is going on in schools across the nation even in older grades - teachers writing names on the board and then adding hash marks for each additional infraction.
Except this isn't being used for misbehavior. Implying that a child is "misbehaving" because they are frustrated or having a bad day is damaging, and shaming them for it will likely just lead most kids to bottling it up. I don't love shame as a form of reprimand in the classroom either, but to intentionally shame a kid (which is absolutely going to be the end result if you force them to write their name down where the whole gym can see) for just having normal human emotions will just lead the kids to feel anxious and bottle everything up.

Obviously we can't know the whole story from one perspective. If the issues were things like eye rolling, cheating on assignments, goofing around, or being unsafe in some way, I wouldn't feel quite so strongly about it. But based on what the original poster said it's being used when kids are feeling anything negative even if they're just having a tough day or frustrated with themselves. In my mind that's damaging.
 
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ReluctantGymMom

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I’m conflicted on this because on one hand my kid is a perfectionist - and if she can’t be perfect, she’ll sabotage what she’s doing to make it “funny fails”. She does not want people to see her struggle and she has perfected putting on a completely blank face instead of showing any emotion (this used to drive her old coach crazy, she’d be screaming at her and telling her she was terrible and she would just stare at her blankly and go back to whatever she was doing). She’s not the kind of kid who is going to end up on this board, she just doesn’t show emotions that way - and if she did, she’d be mad about it and try not to get on it again.

So for our personal circumstance I’d be like “eh, probably not great but whatever”.

On the other hand, we had a girl in her group who cried and complained constantly. Every day, every event. She told the girls horror stories about how they were going to get injured and my daughter was spending more time trying to get her to stop crying than actually practicing. Out of sheer frustration I would have put her on a board like this because her attitude just seeped over onto the other girls and made practice miserable. The coaches were nice and encouraging but I swear someone needed to just say listen stop crying or go home at some point.
Is this a great idea? No but I can understand the frustration
 

Learning Parent GB

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I'm interested in the coach who is nice and encouraging but screams at a gymnast and tells them they're terrible.
 

ReluctantGymMom

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@Learning Parent GB The screaming coach at poster’s old gym…gonna assume encouraging coach at new gym.
Yep we moved gyms. Several people have filed reports against her, at least two girls are in therapy for PTSD. We moved to a gym ridiculously far away and everything about it is inconvenient but the coaches are amazing with the kids.
 

Learning Parent GB

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Yep we moved gyms. Several people have filed reports against her, at least two girls are in therapy for PTSD. We moved to a gym ridiculously far away and everything about it is inconvenient but the coaches are amazing with the kids.
Sorry, I must have skim read. I'm so pleased for you that you have found somewhere new.