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Gymnast321

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Feb 4, 2022
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I have seen a lot of posts about tough coaches so i just want to share my daughter's experience, they don't allow parents in the gym to watch practice soo I just go off of what my daughter says. she is 12 and in level 5 and very tough and does not cry easily but she seems to be crying at the end of practice every time and she sayys things like this
the coach pushes her and her friends in deep stretches and it hurts a lot
they yell at them when they take breaks at conditioning
the conditioning is intense like 2-minute hollow holds with no breaks and 100 reps of leg lift on bars
the stretching is super intense too like they have each leg on a chair in a split while the coach sits on them
i have seen videos like this on youtube and showed my daughter them and she says that it looks really similar to what her coach does if i get any replies i can post links to the videos for referance. if this is just part of the sport i am fine with it but I just want to know.
 

RTT2

Proud Parent
Oct 9, 2015
854
If your child is crying after most practices, there is a problem. I believe it's a violation of Safe Sport to ban parents from watching practices. Sitting on kids or pushing them down beyond where their bodies are ready to go is terrible coaching. The environment you are describing sounds similar to the first gym my daughter went to. That gym doesn't exist anymore, and the former head coach is on the USAG permanently banned list. I hope you have other gym options in your area.
 

katrid11

Proud Parent
Sep 1, 2020
77
47
Safe Sport requires gyms to provide access to the gym. That can be through video (needs to show all of the gym) or in person.

Gymnasts should not be in tears every day from pain due to conditioning and stretching. That tells me there is something wrong.

Gentle pressure on the back or legs or feet to get the gymnast to improve their flexibility is one thing - I expect that. I know our coaches push on the backs to work to get chest to the floor etc. I know my child uses pads to help improve her splits (legs on the pad and pushing down). But pushing to the point of pain and tears is abusive.

I would spend some time watching in the gym. If the coach rejects that, pull your child and find another gym that day. Then lodge a complaint with USAG.
 
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Aussie_coach

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Jan 4, 2008
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Traditionally stretching in gymnastics has often included being pushed down into splits. That is the way I was taught.

But it’s not the way I teach. I don’t allow any coach in my gym to push a gymnast into a stretch ever.

More recent research indicates, that pushing them down may get an immediate improvement. But actually reduces flexibility in the long term.

As you push the kids into a painful position. The muscle tissues are mildly tearing. When they heal, they heal with scar tissues. Scar tissue is less flexible than regular muscle tissue.

Gravity and good technique may be a slower way to do it. But it will create a real, long term and healthy result.

If you have inflexible gymnasts. Creating incentives for them to stretch regularly at home can be a more effective way to get that result, as it may not be enough for them just to stretch at the gym.

But even then it’s very important to teach them how to stretch safely first. Warm up properly, start with a great real light stretch, work up to bigger stretches like splits, hold when it’s uncomfortable not painful.
 
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