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Some news on Geddert himself - suspended

Discussion in 'Women's Artistic Gymnastics (WAG)' started by LindyHopper, Jan 17, 2018.

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  1. I wish that I could love this comment. Us and others leaving our old gym for coaching reasons did not cause them to get rid of that coach but it sure did hit them in the pocketbook. Others have since left the gym after we did.
     
  2. I wish it were that simple, but it isn't. As I've tried to explain before, I don't think it's always totally straightforward to recognize what constitutes abusive coaching, and parents alone cannot set norms for training. Most of us just don't know enough about the sport to be able to judge what's necessary or appropriate. If a child is inattentive or sloppy doing a soccer drill, the ball may go the wrong way. If my daughter is inattentive or sloppy on a beam dismount attempt or my son isn't completely focusing when he's working on a turning skill on high bar, they could suffer life-altering injuries. And the point at which a single bad turn could result in a severe injury comes pretty darn early in gymnastics. We currently have a L4 child out for five weeks. Fractured growth plate in the arm -- because the hands were turned out on a BHS attempt. If my kid isn't paying attention, hell yes, sit him or her or have 'em run laps. And if Bobby double-bounces my kid on the trampoline, I'd like Bobby to have a significant consequence and not just a pat on the head and a gentle admonition that this is not ok, because the next time Bobby does it, my kid could be out for the season. If a gym is going to be safe, it must be a tightly disciplined environment.

    For me, I think the acid test is consistency. Consciously or unconsciously, too many parents start using results as a means to move the needle on what they consider to be acceptable coaching behavior. There's a point at which tight discipline becomes abusive coaching. That point should be in the same place whether your child is on the podium at every meet or in the bottom third of the pack. It should be in the same place regardless of whether your child has gotten four new skills in the last month or lost three.
     
    Aero, AWOL, Flipfloppy and 10 others like this.
  3. @TumbleTimes4 couldn't agree more. I could tell a story about one of DD's friends who drank the kool-aid at the last gym. They have now see the light but so much time wasted and damage was done by a coach that plays mind games with kids. Just needs to stop.
     
    Jard.the.gymnast likes this.
  4. I don’t think the line between tight discipline and abuse is that thin.
    I’m more than happy for my dd gym to be very disciplined as has been pointed out it’s a dangerous sport and not following the rules can have very bad consequences eg injuries.
    To me there is a big difference between discipline and abuse, to me discipline is based on a set of rules based around behaviour eg not double bouncing on the trampoline, not running across the floor beam etc, the rules being the same for everyone.
    It’s abuse when kids are getting shouted at because they have fear, foam thrown at them for not listening, being told they need to lose weight, ridiculing a child, making sarcastic comments about a child.
    A disciplined environment is not detrimental to a child’s self esteem where as an abusive environment is.
     
    LJL07, Aero, LindyHopper and 9 others like this.
  5. Wow! That’s not good for Geddert. Maggie’s coach recognized a problem immediately when she overheard a convo about Nassar.

    I didn’t like Aly pretending to vomit when Gabby won Trials in 2012, nor do I like her using this disaster to brag about being on The NY Times Bestsellers. I also didn’t like the way she was so harsh to Gabby on twitter after her PR fumble………

    HOWEVER I do admire how brave she is being during this case, and not being afraid of what USAG will think. I hope she continues speaking her truth, and reveals everything she witnessed.

    I realize Aly has gone through abuse which may have even started before the 2012 Olympic Trials. I will continue supporting her, and show her the understanding and forgiveness that she denied Gabby.
     
    sce likes this.
  6. Of course there are egregious examples that I would hope we can all agree are abusive, but I am more interested in the more difficult calls. Athlete does skill wrong. Coach corrects. Athlete does skill wrong. Coach corrects. Athlete does skill wrong again and coach gets frustrated and . . . has some sort of reaction. How do we determine whether the reaction is abusive? From the coach's perspective, the athlete isn't listening, is wasting time and turns, and is potentially putting her/himself at risk either of an acute or a repetitive injury. Further, even as a consequence for breaking the rules, I'd expect our personal lines for what is OK and what is not OK will differ. If a kid gets sent out of practice to sit for ten minutes, that's going to be damaging to the kid's self esteem, but it may nonetheless be something where almost all of us would agree that it's the right call. Maybe what you're trying to get at here is personal attacks?

    There's also the interesting effect of filtering in gymnastics, right? Lots of kids at the bottom, who eventually learn that gym is not the sport for them for various reasons, and for some, it's going to be the highly disciplined environment. The ones who stick it out are more likely than not the ones who do listen, who do try hard every turn, who do make an effort to push through fears and blocks, who will work through some routine pain. Yet at most gyms, the higher up a kid gets, the more demanding the coaching is because the coaches expect more and have more at stake in success -- and let's not forget, so do the athletes!

    The single most damaging thing that has happened to either of mine in gym was a period when one of the coaches repeatedly accused one of not trying and not caring. The child in question WAS trying and DID care, but the coach could not see that. It became a vicious circle, because the child became increasingly tentative and frustrated, which made the coach increasingly negative. It completely shut down that child's progress on that event, but I think it would have been hard to make the argument that it was abusive, although we found it troubling. (We did eventually successfully make the argument that it was not productive.) I'm also reminded that previous threads have discussed the phenomenon of coaches shouting, and usually someone will chime in and say that what's said is far more important than the volume level.

    If there is going to be cultural change, a lot of hard thought about how to draw these lines needs to happen, but also we need to remember that coaches are only human, and children, especially teenagers, can be hella frustrating. (I sometimes feel like I want to hand our boys' coach a Valium on those days when he finishes coaching preteam and transitions immediately to an evening with his upper optionals. I couldn't do it. No way.)
     
    Aero, LindyHopper, EGPtriumph and 2 others like this.
  7. We have only ever had 1 coach that had to be let go for how she treated gymnasts... She would be "snotty" sometimes when giving corrections... nothing too bad that I heard while sitting in the gym near the Floor. Then one day, we had the Optionals doing their floor routines 2x in a row, then running laps around the floor while the next girl went (to build endurance). After 1 girl was done, she went to the coach to ask for any corrections she could make before her next set of turns... and the coach said she was "too disgusted to talk to her because it was so bad!" And she went on to make similar comments to 3 of the 6 girls in the group. The first girl talked to HC right after practice (the offending coach had left immediately at the end) about that and other things the coach had said / done in the recent past. Then, HC talked to a few of the other girls. HC had thought she had heard some things and had noticed that certain girls were taking extended bathroom breaks when assigned to work with that coach in the previous week (my OG included). The following practice, that coach was gone and was never mentioned again (except in private by girls happy she was gone).
     
  8. I'm glad you got rid of her. That's terrible! Good for the head coach.
     
    Aero, NY Dad, duyetanh and 4 others like this.
  9. I guess I don’t like it when it’s said there is a thin line between discipline and abuse as all too often people excuse abuse as being tough coaching.
    At my dd gym the coaches are not allowed to shout unless there is immediate risk of harm eg my dd was completing a tumbling pass on the floor and a new to team girl nearly ran in my dd line and the coach shouted for that girl to stop and apparently it was so out of the norm the whole gym stopped. Once the girl stopped and my dd had finished her tumbling pass the coach went and spoke to the girl, no more shouting at as the risk had passed but spoke to her and explained then spoke to my dd to check she wasn’t shaken up.
    I accept coaches get frustrated and aren’t perfect and might sometimes be a bit snappy, or show their frustration.
    I guess I’m so use to my dd gym where they don’t allow shouting and they always finish the session on a positive note saying what they have done well, that I don’t think I would let my dd be in any other type of gym.
     
  10. I find that in thinking about categories and distinctions, it's not the easy cases that help us figure things out. It's the hard ones. I've personally seen a few coaches who shout a lot who are very supportive of their athletes, and coaches who never raised their voices but were downright mean. I've also seen situations where things went completely off the rails in the middle of a meet/practice but everyone was smiling at the end. My goal here is not to justify abuse. It's to figure out how to define and identify it. I think we need to do better than the Potter Stewart "I know it when I see it" definition.
     
    Aero, azara, M2Abi and 3 others like this.
  11. I agree that I have no issues with shouting. DD has two coaches who do not yell unless there is a safety issue, and one who yells often to make a point (usually infused with humor.) They are all supportive and in no way abusive. I agree with those who say what is said is the important part. The old, abusive-ish gym...no one ever shouted. But the kids would always come out saying they had been "yelled at" for this or that. Because it wasn't about the volume, but the message.

    For me the determination would be, to take all the things the coaches say to my kid over a day or week, or month. If you were to take them all as a sum and look at them, what would the takeaway be? That she sucks and is and not good enough? Or that she's capable and strong?

    But I know there is one coach at our current gym that DD loves but some other kids are scared of. He doesn't yell, and is not mean. But (it took me a while to piece this together) the kids who have an issue with him have families who are never sarcastic or silly. Their parents are very soft spoken and gentle all the time. They have no idea what to do when he tries to infuse some humor and they take it as an insult. So there's a big split in how the kids feel about him, even though he treats them all the same. It's so hard to come up with hard and fast rules, because everyone has different thresholds.

    I always asked the parents at the old gym. What would you do if your child's schoolteacher treated them this way? (The truth is they'd be breaking down the principal's door.) They never actually would answer that one.
     
    EGPtriumph and BachFlyer like this.
  12. Emotional abuse is hard to quantify. It can also be inconsistent. My Dd had a hard time with 2 assistant coaches, some other girls did too. But done girls on the team were treated completely differently. The coaches had clear favorites, not just apparently they said it out loud to the girls. There was a lot of passive aggressive bahavior too. I am
    On my phone or I would write a lot more of the saga. Both adults seemed to be acting like children. HC started watching for as much as she could a d making recommendations for different coaching behavior but it was too little too late, This sort of behavior may not be criminal but USAG could do training in child development, professional bahavior, defining emotional abuse and how to avoid it etc. the gym felt stuck too, as they were short in California aches but the kids suffered. Both coaches quit, as they did not enjoy coaching.
     
  13. I agree that with shouting what is said is worse than the volume however I still wouldn’t like my dd in an environment where shouting is the norm, I have no problem if a coach has to shout to be heard eg a football coach on the side lines of a pitch as they need to shout to be heard, but in a gymnastics environment the coaches are so close the majority of the time there is no need to shout and I think shouting at child only stood a meter or two from you is very intimidating.
    How would you feel if every time your boss told you what to do they shouted? I personally wouldn’t like it. (Again shouting to be heard in a noisy environment is not what I’m talking about)
    If I wouldn’t like to be treated that way why would it be acceptable for me to allow my dd to be treated that way.
     
    Aero, LindyHopper, EGPtriumph and 2 others like this.
  14. If a coach gives a correction and gymnast doesn't do it and this happens repeatedly, my thought would be that the gymnast isn't doing this on purpose, but is not understanding what needs to be done to fix the problem. At that point, coach is probably frustrated as is the gymnast, so this would be a good time to "coach" the skill in a different way. Perhaps that means scaling back to a progression, taking a break, using video of gymnast for feedback, etc. I am not a coach but this happens in education all the time and as one poster mentioned earlier, most people would not accept a teacher berating, shouting, and punishing a student who is having trouble reading (or learning in general) yet strangely many adults are ok with it in youth sports.
     
    Aero, FreckleGirls, aerials and 8 others like this.
  15. Both of these paragraphs are such common sense ways of looking at the issue. Love it.
     
    Aero and sce like this.
  16. I think that in situations like Geddert, there is a cult of personality, where people believe the coach can do no wrong, or at the very least is justified in doing whatever he or she does.

    In many other situations, I think the coach thinks that he or she is a great coach, and if the gymnast would just "listen" or "try harder" the correction would be made. Where in all reality, @EGPtriumph 's post above SHOULD be what happens. If the gymnast isnt getting it, try a different approach.

    I remember back in college, my voice teacher would give a correction repeatedly, and I would try to make it, but wasn't really sure how to. Then I would sing in the voice department's master class, and when the other members of the voice faculty would give feedback, it was usually the EXACT SAME correction, but it was worded differently, and everything my voice teacher had been saying finally clicked, and I was more able to make the correction.

    Not all coaches are this way, but some need to make sure their egos don't get in the way. If a gymnast isn't getting it, don't assume the gymnast isn't listening or isn't trying. Assume that you, as the coach, may not be conveying it in a way that gymnast can process it. Approach the correction from another direction, try a different method. The coach has the practical knowledge to do that. The gymnast is waiting to be guided.

    A coach/gymnast relationship should be a partnership (albeit one where the coach has more experience and gymnastics wisdom), not a dictatorship.
     
    l.c.o, stillhoping, Aero and 12 others like this.
  17. Yeah, for real... WHAT?! :eek: Squat-ons are dangerous, as is the jump to the high bar, but they are not at all physically difficult to execute; it is way more of a mental thing. This being said, the squat-on jump to high bar should be trivially easy for gymnasts who train tewnty four hours a week. The fact that Level 4 kids are training twenty four hours a week is a whole other topic of conversation; absolutely gratuitous!

    I do feel that abuse can be a faded line in many situations and to many people, rather than a solid line. However, I will say that all of the scenarios you posted are not effective coaching decisions or strategies. What I have found over the years is that most questionable or unclear coaching decisions regarding harsh consequences like these are simply not worth it; they do not accomplish what is intended, and can make the athletes very resentful of their coach. :( I feel very sad for any athletes who may be in this position.

    Simply put, this gym owner/head coach does not deserve to own a gym. A gym owner has to do what's best for their business, and what's best for the kids and athletes in their program. In owning a gymnastics gym, these two things are one in the same. The worst part about it is she didn't have the backbone to stick by her original decision to fire him.

    Disgusting. :mad:

    Absolutely! Nobody can be perfect 100% of the time; I tell my girls this almost daily. Many of them are hard on themselves when they don't do as well as they would have liked, and I have to ground them. it's part of their personalities and it is part of the sport, honestly. I just make sure they know that my expectations are not impossible, and so neither should their expectations of themselves be impossible.

    I wouldn't accept Valium, but I would gladly accept a hearty amount of alcohol. :p :D
     
    BachFlyer, M2Abi, duyetanh and 4 others like this.
  18. The abusive coaches will never go away as long as families are okay with it. We saw a former teammate of DD at a meet this past weekend. She left this season for greener pastures and they are quite happy. Gymnast wouldn't have moved to L6 at DD's gym and is one at new gym. The bars coach has intentionally pushed the gymnast off of the bars into a pit. The former teammate corrected her parent and explained that he pushed her off onto a mat. Gymnast and parent talked about it as if it were a source of pride in how tough the bars coach is.

    I wasn't impressed. A push at the wrong moment could lead to a serious injury fall.

    Now, I will full well admit that DD's beam coaches will heckle and have the team heckle while they are running beam routines. But, only with the higher level girls and no one ever touches them. And, they do need to practice being cool in the noisy meet environment. But, no one at a meet is going to push a kid off of the bars.

    Given that former teammate is and was scoring in the 7s at L6, whatever purpose the coach had doesn't even seem to be working. But, boy are they happy they moved to this gym.

    I just shook my head and kept my mouth shut. This sport is dangerous enough without coaches adding to the danger.
     
  19. Heckle - interrupt with derisive or aggressive comments or abuse.

    Are they just making a lot of noise or making specific comments? How does your dd feel about the heckling?
     
    sce likes this.
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