For Coaches Sorry, I need to vent

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Ok. I've been coaching at the YMCA for almost 2 years now, and competing for 7. Our levels go: girls level 1-4, then pretema, then team 3 and so on. So a little girl (6 yo) showed up for team 3-5 practice last week. We asked what level she was and she thought she was a level 2. Assuming the class was a mistake, we let her work out with the team girls and then approached the parent afterword. Well this girl who can barely do a cartwheel, has no idea what a round-off is, and can't even get up onto the bar by herslef is indeed on team 3. I talked to our program director and she said they are trying to 'build a team' by 'bumping' kids up. Now since she is 10 years my senior with much more experience, I smiled an said alright. But it is completely against what I've learned from the sport. This particular kid is not mature enough for a team practice, nor skilled enough for the level. I don't think it's fair to let kids struggle so much. Nor is it a good idea to push kids up before they are ready. I have seen too many breakdowns and burnouts, mainly of my teammates, to know this firsthand. Alright thanks for listening. And I know, if I can do it so much better, I should just get my own gym when I grow up. And I also mean no disrespect and if anyone knows where she might be coming from, feel free to let me know.


Do you have minimum requirements for what a kid has to be able to do to move up? If so, it sounds like the kid won't pass them. I would talk to the program director and state how behind she is compared to other kids - how you would have to set up separate drills for her and spend extra time on her which means the other kids get neglected. It's also not fair to the kid to be in a situation that's too hard for her - she's going to watch all the other kids getting new skills while she's still struggling with the basics.


It's not jut your gym. Our rec program feeds our team program, and once the kids reach level 3 and 4 in rec we start looking at them for team. Lately, however, the compulsory coaches have been randonmly picking kids from the rec program--one of them was a level 2 and didn't have any skills. Then, the coaches came back and complained that we hadn't taught her anything yet---well, she was only a level 2 and we wouldn't have recommended her for team yet! Sometimes I really wonder what goes through the minds of coaches (even coaches who are extremely experienced).

Try talking with the coach and getting together with the director of the program and the head coach to set guidelines when selecting kids for team and even preteam. Two of the most important guidelines that I look for are hard work and maturity--is the child willing to work hard--I expect hard work more than dedication and i rely on it more as well. Also, with maturity will come hard work and dedication.


We do have minimum requirements, but there are several kids who I know for a fact would not pass these. I tried talking a bit to the director, and she insists that these girls will improve over time. Problem: I coach team 3's and 4's together and it is difficulty, for example, to try to teach routines, backhandsprings, while working on a kickover (a schoolage level 2 skill at our gym). Maybe it will get better, but right now I'm just working overtime.

Thanks though for the responses.


Feb 22, 2007
Well, you're learning the harsh reality of the gymnastics world. It's why I've essentially walked away. I got tired of working for idiots and jacka$$es who were always pushing kids to levels where they shouldn't be and rushing them through the system. They all talked basics and technique, but I've worked for one who practiced what they preach. That one became my best friend and if the gym had not gone under, we'd still be working together today.

Instead, I've ventured out and tried my best to find a situation where I could develop kids that way that I want, but it doesn't exist. If it's not some retard coach being problematic, then it's a retard owner.

The fact of the matter is that most coaches in the gymnastics community have limited intelligence and little ambition to gain any. While many have degrees, book smarts does not equate to common sense. As it is said, common sense is not always so common.

While I completely understand and sympathize with your struggle, your efforts will more than likely be listened to and then fall on deaf ears. So, why bother? I've been there, done that, and made a lot of enemies in the process.

You just have to accept the fact that your head coach/program director, etc. is a jacka$$ and that's not uncommon in this profession. Unfortunately, if you want to do it the right way, you pretty much have to open your own gym. I'm poor, so that isn't happening.

That's why I've walked away. I know that I'll never reach my potential as a coach nor will I ever be able to help my athletes to the very best of my abilities so that they can reach their potential. My approach will always be compromised in some fashion. So, what's the use?

I wish you well. Good Luck.


Yes, but see I need a job as I am heading off to college next year, and this one best fits with my schedule. My mom has made it clear already that the day I quit (working and gymnastics) she will stand outside theY with a banner complaining about how much they rip you off, and then she is burning down the building. My parents have said it's a nice place for kids, but horrible for their parents.
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