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Cloe Forner

Proud Parent
Nov 30, 2021
41
44
Ok, I have dreaded this one. LOTS and LOTS of mixed answers. My DD is a super hard working, determined, hard headed gal. She knows what she wants and she gets it. She takes everything she does seriously; gymnastics and she coaches gymnastics. She coaches for her gym and they said that she is probably one of their best coaches. Her coach is a narcissist. I am not even joking. She is a good coach, but the way she handles things is quite childish. However it's the only gym we have. I will not be driving 1+ hours for gymnastics every day when I have other children at home. Moral of the story, DDs coach is all over the place. They got into an argument recently (not going to go into details as it was a very long story). DD texted her coach and stated her feelings (she was hurt). The coach replied and did not care how she felt. She basically called my daughter a lier. She then proceeded to say that she will fire my daughter if she ever "speaks this way to her again". So, basically the coach is mad at my DD for staying her feelings and trying to communicate to her. This is NOT ok. I think children should be more than welcome to tell their coaches how they feel (weather that offend the coach or not). She wants to move up to the next level but she really can't take this toxic relationship anymore. What should we do? I don't know if any of you have been in this type of situation, but it sucks. Thank you for all and any of you who read this. I am very proud of my DD for standing up for herself and stating how she feels. This is completely inappropriate behavior from her coach. But I would like to know your opinion as well.
 

Aussie_coach

Staff member
Gold Membership
Coach
Proud Parent
Gymnast
Club Owner / Manager
Jan 4, 2008
3,891
I would chat to the gym owner. There is always more to any story that we feel ourselves because its easy to misinterpret things.

Your DD may have said or done something that had a bigger impact than she was aware of and the coach may have misinterpreted something she said. It may need a good discussion. Its unlikely the coach has the power to fire her, and she may just be blowing off steam. Only the gym owner could make a decision like that.

We all have personality traits as a coach, a gymnast and a person that are both negative and positive and the wrong combination of personality traits together can be a bit explosive.
 

kecks

Member
Mar 20, 2009
246
How old is your kid? If 14 or so I would leave it to her but would also make it very clear to her that the coach's behavior is not okay in any way and that she does not have to put up with it if she does not want to. Teach her about abusive relationships. Also this coach is never a good coach if she is not in control of her own emotions. Coaching is very much a pedagogical occupation and this behavior would never fly in teacher training (at least not here). So it shouldn't in coaching.
 
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Coach Kate

Coach
Fan
Oct 13, 2021
163
31
I would agree that you should talk to the gym owner. Do you know if other parents/gymnasts are having the same concerns? The more incidents you can bring up, the stronger your case is.

I also want to add that if you're in the US and your daughter is a minor, her coach can't be texting or emailing with her 1 on 1. I often have teen athletes email me themselves about missing practice, etc (which is awesome and I love their ownership and responsibility!), but when I respond I always cc their parent, per our gym's policy to be in line with safe sport.
 

Cloe Forner

Proud Parent
Nov 30, 2021
41
44
I would chat to the gym owner. There is always more to any story that we feel ourselves because its easy to misinterpret things.

Your DD may have said or done something that had a bigger impact than she was aware of and the coach may have misinterpreted something she said. It may need a good discussion. Its unlikely the coach has the power to fire her, and she may just be blowing off steam. Only the gym owner could make a decision like that.

We all have personality traits as a coach, a gymnast and a person that are both negative and positive and the wrong combination of personality traits together can be a bit explosive.
I get what you're saying, but the coach was definitely gaslighting my daughter.
 

Cloe Forner

Proud Parent
Nov 30, 2021
41
44
I would agree that you should talk to the gym owner. Do you know if other parents/gymnasts are having the same concerns? The more incidents you can bring up, the stronger your case is.

I also want to add that if you're in the US and your daughter is a minor, her coach can't be texting or emailing with her 1 on 1. I often have teen athletes email me themselves about missing practice, etc (which is awesome and I love their ownership and responsibility!), but when I respond I always cc their parent, per our gym's policy to be in line with safe sport.
I never knew that! I will definitely be looking into this. I haven't heard anyone else dealing with this besides my DD.
 

Cloe Forner

Proud Parent
Nov 30, 2021
41
44
How old is your kid? If 14 or so I would leave it to her but would also make it very clear to her that the coach's behavior is not okay in any way and that she does not have to put up with it if she does not want to. Teach her about abusive relationships. Also this coach is never a good coach if she is not in control of her own emotions. Coaching is very much a pedagogical occupation and this behavior would never fly in teacher training (at least not here). So it shouldn't in coaching.
DD is 16. This is most definitely a learning experience and I know she was hurt by her coaches' words.
 

cmg

Proud Parent
Jul 2, 2018
143
63
Your story sounds very familiar in that a former coach was very similar in our gym. We also had nowhere else to go and we had to just deal with it. My daughter did confront her coach once, but she talked to in person after practice. It was really hard for her, and she was scared to death. I completely agree that teens especially teenage girls, need to voice their opinion. However, they must do it respectfully no matter how horrible the adult is. I don't know your daughter at all, but as Aussie coach said there are always two sides to an interaction. I don't think they should have been texting. You can say a lot worse things in a text than in person. I know that my daughter as she was growing up could use very strong language to other people texting. I feel like some kids these days think its ok to insult people and makes them cool the worse the slam is towards the other person. Afterall just look at our current leaders text slams to each other all the time.

If this is your only gym, you and your daughter will have to find a way to work positively with the coach. You may not like her as a person, but you have to figure out a way to find a working relationship. In many ways this is no different than having a supervisor you don't like, but you still have to work for them. I suggest a meeting with the owner, coach and you and your daughter after practice and when there is no rush to get out the door. That way you have two other people not involved in the incident (you and the owner) and you can get both perspectives out in the open and figure out a solution. Good luck, these are difficult issues for a teenager to deal with.
 

kecks

Member
Mar 20, 2009
246
You may not like her as a person, but you have to figure out a way to find a working relationship. In many ways this is no different than having a supervisor you don't like, but you still have to work for them.
In my opinion a sport is not worth this, especially not for a minor. Never ever. This is not your supervisor, this is your coach. He or she has (!) to be someone who is looking out for you as a person first and formost. This one does not sound like someone i would trust doing that for any kid.
 
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cmg

Proud Parent
Jul 2, 2018
143
63
In my opinion a sport is not worth this, especially not for a minor. Never ever. This is not your supervisor, this is your coach. He or she has (!) to be someone who is looking out for you as a person first and formost. This one does not sound like someone i would trust doing that for any kid.
Totally agree with your statement above, but the reality from my perspective is there are very few of these types of coaches available in gymnastics. At 16 and totally invested in the sport it would have to be my daughter's decision to quit or not. Plus, you have not gotten the other side of the story yet. I am not defending the coach's behavior. A discussion needs to take place and then a decision to stay or go. If it was my daughter, she would not quit gymnastics over this and she didn't.
 

JPC13

Proud Parent
Mar 25, 2022
180
In my opinion a sport is not worth this, especially not for a minor. Never ever. This is not your supervisor, this is your coach. He or she has (!) to be someone who is looking out for you as a person first and formost. This one does not sound like someone i would trust doing that for any kid.
Unfortunately, occasional bad behavior by coaches is part of sports. If every kid quit every time a coach said something crappy to them nobody would play any sports at all.

The reality is, even good coaches do things that I wouldn't appreciate happening to my kid. When you spend 10,20, 30 hours a week with a group of people, someone is going to do something uncool every now and then.

The real question is where does "normal" stop and where does "Maggie Haney screaming in your face" begin?
 

kecks

Member
Mar 20, 2009
246
Unfortunately, occasional bad behavior by coaches is part of sports. If every kid quit every time a coach said something crappy to them nobody would play any sports at all.

The reality is, even good coaches do things that I wouldn't appreciate happening to my kid. When you spend 10,20, 30 hours a week with a group of people, someone is going to do something uncool every now and then.

The real question is where does "normal" stop and where does "Maggie Haney screaming in your face" begin?
A Coach gaslighting a kid is pretty drastic in my opinion and a very much red flag. You know it when you see it.
 

sw2017

New Member
Aug 1, 2022
14
29
Ok, I have dreaded this one. LOTS and LOTS of mixed answers. My DD is a super hard working, determined, hard headed gal. She knows what she wants and she gets it. She takes everything she does seriously; gymnastics and she coaches gymnastics. She coaches for her gym and they said that she is probably one of their best coaches. Her coach is a narcissist. I am not even joking. She is a good coach, but the way she handles things is quite childish. However it's the only gym we have. I will not be driving 1+ hours for gymnastics every day when I have other children at home. Moral of the story, DDs coach is all over the place. They got into an argument recently (not going to go into details as it was a very long story). DD texted her coach and stated her feelings (she was hurt). The coach replied and did not care how she felt. She basically called my daughter a lier. She then proceeded to say that she will fire my daughter if she ever "speaks this way to her again". So, basically the coach is mad at my DD for staying her feelings and trying to communicate to her. This is NOT ok. I think children should be more than welcome to tell their coaches how they feel (weather that offend the coach or not). She wants to move up to the next level but she really can't take this toxic relationship anymore. What should we do? I don't know if any of you have been in this type of situation, but it sucks. Thank you for all and any of you who read this. I am very proud of my DD for standing up for herself and stating how she feels. This is completely inappropriate behavior from her coach. But I would like to know your opinion as well.
I’m so sorry your daughter is experiencing negativity from her coach. I obviously don’t know all of the details, but it sounds like a big red flag to me. I would talk to the coach directly, or even bring this up to the gym owner.
 

ReluctantGymMom

Proud Parent
May 11, 2020
289
32
In my opinion a sport is not worth this, especially not for a minor. Never ever. This is not your supervisor, this is your coach. He or she has (!) to be someone who is looking out for you as a person first and formost. This one does not sound like someone i would trust doing that for any kid.
But the coach IS in fact her supervisor - OPs daughter works there.

I know some terrible coaches, so it’s entirely possible this is on the coach but I also know that 1) teens don’t make smart choices when texting, especially not to an adult, 2) the coach is her superior in their workplace and may have gotten annoyed that a 16 year old employee was casually texting her about what she’d done wrong.

This is a good time to teach your daughter that there are ****ty bosses in this world and most of them don’t like to be confronted with what they did wrong, ESPECIALLY by someone much younger than them. They will instantly get defensive. This is a thing she’s going to encounter everywhere, so she needs to either find a way to get along with her or quit working there.

Her impression of your daughter while working is going to mesh into her impression of her as a gymnast, so battling it out at work is really counter productive to her gymnastics
 

kecks

Member
Mar 20, 2009
246
****ty boss means band with other employees to get rid off this person (probably really difficult in the US? I don't know) or leave this workplace behind. Never worth staying unless you really, really, really need this hell of job and there is no alternative anywhere. Toxic boss means toxic workplace. Especially for a teenager not acceptable at least to me.
 

Caesarea

New Member
Aug 11, 2022
19
United States of America
Disclaimer: Without knowing the details, I cannot claim to know whether or not her coach/supervisor is abusive or is gaslighting her. IF, and I say IF, she is in an ABUSIVE environment, you need to REPORT the abuse. This response does not constitute legal or medical advice.

What did she tell her coach in the text?

(I do agree that with her being coached by the same person she works under, there's going to be some scope of relationship, boundaries and authority issues -- awkward because you're in different positions in the same environment.)

She is 16. As long as she is not being abused (not getting along or disliking your supervisor and being abused are two totally different things), and she is not actively having mental health problems because of her coach/supervisor, she should make the decision. That being said, she needs to know that gaslighting is NOT okay, and know how to deal with supervisors that she doesn't like and keep her own sanity and health intact. This may involve quitting her sport/job if needed, or working/training somewhere else.

Has she considered stopping training/competing and continuing on only as a coach? I think the athlete-coach/employee-supervisor discrepancy in relational roles is not helping her situation.
 

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