OT Setting a good example/responsibilities off the clock

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Staff member
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Proud Parent
Club Owner / Manager
Jan 4, 2008
That is.... um.... a major cultural difference, it sounds like.

Between alcohol, tobacco, and weed, I think like 90% of coaches I've met consume a significant amount of at least one of those three.

(The other 10% are vegetarian teetotalers who run 10 miles every morning)
Seriously? I have employed over 80 coaches and none of them have ever shown any evidence of smoking or swearing or taking drugs or running 10 miles a day.

I’ve had 10’s of thousands of gymnasts and we have never seen evidence of things like this with parents or gymnasts either.

Could be the area we are located, but the US sounds rough!
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Proud Parent
Oct 10, 2013
Sydney Australia
That is.... um.... a major cultural difference, it sounds like.

Between alcohol, tobacco, and weed, I think like 90% of coaches I've met consume a significant amount of at least one of those three.

I think alcohol consumption is very common here. It’s deeply culturally embedded as something we do, as soon as we turn 18. In my kid’s club it has a tangible presence. It is given as gifts, sold or raffled as fundraisers, consumed by parents when the team has dinner together during travel competitions - we even have a brewery located on the same property as the gym. I don’t know any coaches who don’t at least drink socially.

Weed and tobacco, on the other hand, are seen as a bit….I don’t know a word that would translate to American. The Australian word is bogan. But basically they are quite dismissively treated as not something somebody interested in sporting achievement would be interested in. I don‘t know any actual smokers under the age of about 45 (The stats say they exist, but they aren’t in sporting circles.)

WRT internet use, Gymnastics Australia has both enforceable policies and guidelines to help clubs develop and implement their own rules. The policy says coaches can’t ‘friend’ parents and children on social media, although there is a carve out for pre-existing relationships (you disclose the relationship to the club, so that everything is upfront).

The guidelines say that coaches and officials should carefully consider their personal social media use to avoid anything that may bring themselves, or gymnastics Australia, reputational harm (that is my paraphrasing of a page full of words). The expectation is very clear that that kids should never be exposed to something like Onlyfans by innocently googling their coach. (Which kids absolutely will do.)


Proud Parent
May 11, 2020
If I found my kids coaches onlyfans, I’d be okay with it. That’s not something you’re really going to take into the gym with you to the kids. However, there’s several gyms we’d never consider due to the very…ahem… upfront feelings on Christianity being the one and only religion and everyone else burning in hell. If you’re willing to associate your name publically like that, who knows what you’re willing to say to kids.

same thing with anyone whose ever eluded to anything regarding race online. If you’ll attach your name to it publically, I definetly don’t want to find out how you’re going to treat an ethnic or religious minority behind glass walls.
Nov 15, 2022
I think its actually important for kids not to "idolize" coaches and think they are above the issues that all people face, and to see them as people.

This is a compelling point. My usual argument for keeping an extremely private personal life is based on the premise that you should be acting as a role model for your students—even when you're off the clock. But perhaps it's untruthful to lead students to believe that we are morally and behaviorally flawless.

When I was 16, one a my "idols" (a baby sitter) revealed to me that she smoked pot. I was devastated by this fact because I was taught that smoking pot was very bad. I felt betrayed. But this feeling of betrayal stemmed from my own ignorance of life's nuances. The adults in my life didn't teach me that good people can do bad things, bad people can do good things, and some "bad" things aren't even that bad. I wish I learned this lesson sooner.


Feb 16, 2021
The culture of my gym sounds very different (USA based). I have never seen any of the coaches consume or gift alcohol, nor talk about or partake in any kind of smoking. This held true as a gymnast and now as a fellow coach. Bear in mind we have no male coaches, and many are women with children of their own.

As far as it actually goes, I think that there indeed is an obligation to uphold a professional manner with people who you strictly know as your student, even in public, as you are representing an organization.