For Parents Tough choice :( (very long)

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Gymmonkeymomma

Proud Parent
Mar 7, 2008
1,991
Region 7
Well, I guess I knew this day would come. My oldest has decided to quit gymnastics. A couple of weeks ago, HC decided it was time to have everyone "step up their game". No more lollygagging. Now this gym has been known for having a relaxed atmosphere with focus on personal goals rather than individual or team scores/placement. He pulled me aside the other night and told me that I should expect K to complain about him (which she already had) because he has really been tough on her and pushing her more to get skills that he knows she is capable of doing.

Now, you take a kid for whom most things come easy - school, sports, etc. and you MAKE her try things that are hard and chew her out constantly for not getting it, or not wanting it, or whatever, and what does that spell, diaster!! I Two nights ago I watched DD "hide" in a corner near the strap bar while the rest of the L8s were already starting conditioning. HC wanted her to do more giants. I could tell by the body language it was not going well. I told my friend about HC's plans and said this is going to break her. Sure enough, she stormed out of the gym crying. On the way home she told me she hated gymnastics (never said this before) and wants to quit. I told her that she does not hate gymnastics, she is just upset with HC and emotional, and you cannot make choices until you calm down. I explained that she is not used to this type of coaching but it is the way it should be, you do what you're told not what you feel like doing.

Background - K has been on team since age 7 and watched girls before her refuse to do giants, refuse to front tumble, refuse to do an event at a meet. He holds some girls to different standards, DD being one of them. She does not like that kind of pressure. Last wk one of the other L8's decided to quit and this is one of the girls who has been with my DD on the team since the beginning. Another girl is also planning to leave in Nov. Morale is very bad among the optional gymnasts and I think this more than anything else is causing DD to question herself.

She cried on and off for most of the night. She insisted that things are too hard and she has had enough of being "yelled at by everyone" and is not going to do "it" (gym) anymore. I told her that she needs to give this a chance, and she should at least prove to herself if no one else, what skills she has and how good she is.

I spent most of the next day very upset and talked to the Program Director about it. She asked whether HC had explained to K his reasoning for pushing her and I said of course not, he never does. So she said she would talk to him and tell him he should talk to her about the situation. In the meantime, I decided that I cannot push her if she doesn't want to be pushed. This is something she has to want, no matter how big of a mistake I think she is making by quitting. I decided to let it be her decision but not an immediate one. I told K that I would not enter her in the Magical Classic (Orlando) in Feb. She said "really?" I said yes, really, if your heart is not in this, I am not spending the money to take you to FL. I also told her if you really want to quit I cannot make you continue, however, you are committed to the team to compete in the meets you're already registered in, the 2nd one being on her 13th birthday in Jan. I told her if you want to quit, on Jan 31 you can quit but not before these meets. She said ok, and then asked me about another meet saying how she "really liked that one". She also brought up about Joga (Jersey Optional Gymnastics) where you can be an event specialist. This just proved to me that she really does not hate gymnastics and really doesn't want to quit! So for now, I'm just letting it ride. We have 3 months and I hope during that time, she will come to realize what she really wants.

Tonight, she asked me if HC knows she is leaving. I said I don't know. (In my mind, she's really not leaving yet and secretly hoping it doesn't come to that). She said he has privately spoken with Friend #1 and Friend #2 and doesn't know why he didn't approach her. I wonder what is going through her mind. ..what is it that she wants to tell him....
 
What a tough situation:( I don't have any "been there, done that" advice, as far as wanting to quit gym, but I do have a 12yr old dd (13 in Feb) non-gymnast, and the indecisiveness sounds familiar. From an outsider's point of view, it doesn't sound like she really wants to quit, but rather that she wants gym on *her* terms. I can't say I blame her for that.

I don't know anything about JOGA, but it sounds similar to one of the options we have here. Our girls (age 14+) can be event specialists, and still qualify in our Provincial Stream to Championships in their area of *expertise*. It's designed to keep kids participating in the sport who either don't excel/don't like some events, by letting them enjoy the parts they DO like.

I don't know if JOGA's an option you're willing to explore, but it might provide just what she needs to continue loving her sport, minus the pressure.

I'm sorry you're dealing with this. I know the tween transition has many bumps, and you may find that she's back in her groove by the time her birthday rolls around. It sounds like pulling out of the expensive trip, but having her honour her commitments to team will buy you both some time to figure it all out.

Good luck, and ((hugs)) to you.
 
C

cathiann

Argh! Just typed out a long response and now lost it all! Dang work computer.
Essentially I was saying--I think you're following the wise course of making her stick with it for now and not letting her quit when she's emotional.
I'd talk to the coach too and give him a heads-up that his new coaching style is pushing your DD to quit, not to work harder.
And finally, good luck!! I hope she changes her mind.
 

Granny Smith

Proud Parent
Jun 21, 2007
1,444
GMM - I think you are doing the right thing. Making her fulfill her commitments is the right thing to do. It also gives her time to maybe have a "WOW" moment and realize that she still really does love gymnastics. JOGA would be a wonderful option for her. Our gym also offer the USAIGC program, They decided to drop JOGA last yr and just focus on IGC instead. I know your gym does IGC too, can she just focus on that and JOGA. For our gym, IGC is more of the you get the skills on your time frame, not when the coach decides you are going to do them.

It does sound like the optionals are plagued with a bad "quitting virus" and it can be contagious! Hopefully that 3 months will be enough for her to weather it out.

As for coaches holding different girls to different standards, I think it happens everywhere. My dd experiences that on bars all the time. It's hard to help them through it because we don't have any of the answers. The only thing I tell her is that he has higher expectations of her than others. Right now my dd is having to deal with everyone has been told they are doing 9, but she is at least starting at doing 8 again. BUT, she has the same exact skills as the girls who are doing 9 if not more on some events. She's the same age as these girls as well. What HC wants my dd to do on bars at 9 is no where near what the others need. Different standards - different girls. Very, very difficult for me as I have no answers for dd except to go in there and do what you normally do.

I wish you the best of luck and I hope BM "sees the light!"
 

Gymmonkeymomma

Proud Parent
Mar 7, 2008
1,991
Region 7
Thank you for your support :D

Yes, we have an USAIGC program but HC requires that gymnast compete USAG and USAIGC or just USAG but cannot do USAIGC alone. Doesn't make much sense but probably b/c he wants to be "known" for USAG program. JOGA is new this yr, and mostly made up of girls who previously quit (most of Little Monkey's former Level 4 team is now Joga after being "noncompetitive" for 2 yrs.

Granny- tell your DD to hang in there. It stinks about having to compete L8 again with her L9 skills esp when the other girls are allowed to compete 9, but I'm sure she will do great!
 
Sep 9, 2008
451
So sorry that your dd is having to deal with this. I can only say that I have a 14 year old girl, nongymnast, that is just a flutter with indecision and frustration at normal every day life!:rolleyes: I think their little bodies are changing and all the hormones are making them crazy! I commend you with how well you are handling this situation! It is much easier to get angry and say that they have to do what you want them to do. Your dd's gym sounds like it is in a bit of turmoil and that is never easy on anyone. Sounds to me like she wants to reamin a gymnast. HC needs a different approach on how to handle those girls. If everyone is quitting.....he needs to evaluate what is making them all leave. I hope everything works out! She sounds like a very determined and talented gymmie. Good luck to her and to mom as well!
 
Sep 9, 2008
451
GMM - I think you are doing the right thing. Making her fulfill her commitments is the right thing to do. It also gives her time to maybe have a "WOW" moment and realize that she still really does love gymnastics. JOGA would be a wonderful option for her. Our gym also offer the USAIGC program, They decided to drop JOGA last yr and just focus on IGC instead. I know your gym does IGC too, can she just focus on that and JOGA. For our gym, IGC is more of the you get the skills on your time frame, not when the coach decides you are going to do them.

It does sound like the optionals are plagued with a bad "quitting virus" and it can be contagious! Hopefully that 3 months will be enough for her to weather it out.

As for coaches holding different girls to different standards, I think it happens everywhere. My dd experiences that on bars all the time. It's hard to help them through it because we don't have any of the answers. The only thing I tell her is that he has higher expectations of her than others. Right now my dd is having to deal with everyone has been told they are doing 9, but she is at least starting at doing 8 again. BUT, she has the same exact skills as the girls who are doing 9 if not more on some events. She's the same age as these girls as well. What HC wants my dd to do on bars at 9 is no where near what the others need. Different standards - different girls. Very, very difficult for me as I have no answers for dd except to go in there and do what you normally do.

I wish you the best of luck and I hope BM "sees the light!"

Grrrr. Why do these coaches do that? Good luck to your dd too Granny! Tell her to stick with it and SHINE! She'll show all of them!
 
Aug 16, 2007
634
omaha, ne
big hugs to you:( mean mean HC
you are doing the right thing. She should compete those meets through, you are such a great mom:)
Hang in there sweetie... This is just one day in the world of up and down gymnastics emotions.
Emily told me the other day that she hates beam and wishes it were never invented and she would be so good if their wasn't beam. I am like, you don't hate beam, you just hate back walkovers and fear.
 
N

nettyinpa

GMM ~ I agree with what everyone is saying. Making her stick it out the final few months may make her realize she does still love it and wants to stick with it. On the otherhand, it will also help you to accept it if she does say "I quit" after the 3 months is up. At least you know she gave it one last try. Her coach really needs to be aware of what he's doing. I think every kid is different and pushing them doesn't always get them to try harder. The kids probably figure they're already trying their hardest, what more do they expect? Sounds like the right decision will be made in the end. I hope that she sticks with it! :)
 
That's quite a story. I think you handled it well, and I've taken some mental notes. That's a tough spot for K. But as she'll have to learn soon enough, sometimes we just have to suck it up. This is especially true when she enters the workforce and has to endure a lifetime of management directed change. Just another one of those 'life lessons' Gymnastic offers. "Change" for many is first seen as a negative. Learning to embrace change can be just as challenging for some. Stepping up, and rebeliously taking her place in the spotlight may be just the thing. ("He wants a Giant? I'll show him I can do a Giant!!" i.e Put HC is his place though actions. )

I'm wondering what the motivation is for the coach to "step up" the program more then usual though? Perhaps the coach is also out of his element, meaning, he's not used to being so strident. If this is the case, then it's also a learning process for HC as well. And this too will take time, trial and error. He'll may also be searching to find balance between drill instructor and coach? Just a thought your DD may want to consider.

Thanks for keeping us in the loop.
 

bogwoppit

Gold Membership
Feb 26, 2007
16,879
Gosh that is tough, it does sound like the coach is not a good fit for her right now. I agree with trying to get her to finish what she has started. I also know that my oldest has also gone the JOGA type route, she can be an event specialist and train less hours. NOt due to fears, but injury. This is really working well for her and she is enjoying gym more without feeling that she cannot get it together in time for the first mee.

She is at a tough age and this is why so many girls quit in their early teen, so many changes, physically, emotionally and mentally. It doesn't take a lot to push them over the edge.

Try to resist letting gym become a big issue at home, she is vulnerable and life is hard enough with the coach in her face all the time, without her parents being heavy.

Sending you both a big (((HUG)))) as I know this is terribly hard for you. Hoping the coach can step it back a little bit until your DD can get her head around it. Maybe he will get it better if he realises how close the the wall he has pushed her.
 

Tumblequeensmom

Proud Parent
Feb 19, 2007
1,451
Oh Bog... you KNOW how much I feel for you!!! I definitely believe you're doing the right thing. Coaching styles can be so influential on our daughters! Sometimes it's cultural thing, sometimes it can be that the owners want "better" scores... who knows. You only care about what works for your daughter!

The thing is... and I've learned this both here on this website as well as talking to Katy since that "fateful" decision... your daughter has probably already been thinking about quitting for a while before she worked up the nerve, heart, whatever, to tell you about it. Same thing happened with Katy. The push to get those harder skills just became too overwhelming... pressure, pressure, pressure, until she finally cracked. Add school pressure on top of it and it just became too much.

BUT. . . like you, I knew Katy didn't HATE gymnastics....... so I quickly found a really good prep optional program for her. She was a bit nervous about going to a new gym, new coaches, new friends.... but I have to say, she's the happiest she's been in a L O N G time re: gymnastics.

I had such a tough time dealing with her quitting... but I didn't really let her see that. To me, it was much more than just "her" sport... no matter how much we say it's gotta be "theirs"... we all get caught up in it b/c it's just so much darn fun for us as well!!

She no longer has the pressure to get that back tumbling back before the first competition... and just last night, she decided to try a new move on the bars and got it! "gee. mom, it was so easy after I did it!" The only problem I still have (and yes, it's my problem again, so I don't talk to her about it!), is that she probably won't learn a heck of a lot more regarding skill advancement. But then, I have to remind myself that we were never trying for a college scholarship or Olympics anyway!!!

Sorry for the long message.... everything does work out in the end.

Funny thing... we were supposed to go to the Magical Meet as well.... and I said the same thing to Katy before she made that final decision. But once she was "done" with the J.O. program... she was DONE!!!

Good luck!
 
Even though it does not ease the situation for you, I don't think your HC is necessarily mean. Competive climate changes so coaches/gyms make changes to their objectives. Sometimes it is not the coaches' own choice. I think the fact that he went out of his way to give you the headup says something about him (at least towards you guys). Like it or not, coaches don't always share their everyday lesson plans with the parents -- especially one that is likely to cause pain.
 

JessMom

Proud Parent
Mar 6, 2009
479
Just wanted to send out mommy ((((((((((((((HUGS)))))))))))))))) I have a 12 year old, 13 in Jan- it is NOT an easy age. We went through the same thing but with dance not gymnastics. In the end I bullied my daughter into trying another school for the summer - one that was more "fun' . She put up a hell of a fight but went and really enjoyed herself. Now she's taking classes there and remembering why she enjoyed it so much. My hope is that she'll challenge herself again - but she just reached a point where she wanted that to be easy and fun . . . I doubt that helps . . . but I do think this age can suck the life out of a mom
 
N

NOG

A tough situation! I love your approach, you have a great handle on it. Good job Mom! Sending you lots of fairies that it all works out in the best way for your dd. Good luck working through it.
 

mariposa

Proud Parent
Proud Parent
Sep 25, 2007
3,528
I have no advice for you, but think you handled it perfectly. Great job mom!!!!
 

gymjourneymom

Proud Parent
Mar 9, 2008
1,330
GMM, 1st I need to give you & your DD (((HUGS))). I want you to know I totally know every feeling & emotion you are feeling right now. So much of your post could be a post from me. Especially 'coach changing his style, stepping up the game, friends quitting, DD complaining about the pressure being too much' and the biggy...'DD being held to a different standard.' So much of this is EXACTLY what my DD has been experiencing for so long now. This time last year her coach stepped up the game & was sooo hard on my DD. She has talent but, struggles with fear issues. He pushed & pushed. And she balked & balked more. It became a power struggle between the 2 of them. Finally...he gave up on her, started to totally ignore her. Nice training techniques huh? Abuse her, then ignore her. I swear some coaches have no idea how to deal with the fear issues of teenage gymnasts. I feel my DD's coach & your DD's handled these girls totally wrong! The worst thing for fear issues is stress!!! Don't they think these girls are already stressing themselves? Do these girls WANT to spend so many hours in the gym, only to be behind their teammates in skills & levels? No, of course not! So why abuse them & stress them more? They are already beating themselves up inside & not telling us! That is what a fear issue is. The manifestation of stress & pressure. I was actually happy when HC started ignoring my DD, at least he wasn't stressing her out more. I got her privates with a SUPPORTIVE & ENCOURAGING coach & that is what got her through last season. She went on to be state floor & vault champ...HC NEVER even congratulated her:(.

I can understand you wanting your DD to fulfil her committments. But please keep a close eye on her mental state. As Tumblequeensmom said, by the time these girls actually work up the nerve to TELL us they are ready to quit, so much has happened to them mentally & emotionally. Many do not really want to give up the sport. But they know when they've had enough mentally. The gymnastics life can be 'cult like' and sometimes we all need a reality check. It hit me last year when I realized I was paying someone to verbally & mentally abuse my child! I'm actually ashamed that I let him do that to her & I will NEVER let him treat her like that again.

If your DD is going to continue at this gym(even just to fufil her meet comittment) she needs some positive influence. Is there a supportive coach that she could do privates with? Can you talk to HC & tell him to back off? Imagine being forced to go to a job everyday that (after thinking long & hard) you've decided to quit. Knowing that the boss is going to yell at you constantly, for something that you are unable to do. And the boss is not giving you the proper tools to be able to do the job. How would you feel? Hopeless? Stressed? As you describe DD's situation right now, it's not healthy mentally. A child with fear issues isn't going to "get over them" by being yelled at & stressed. It's only going to make it worse. She needs positive encouragement & support! Please watch the vids by Doc Ali on coaching through fear(I've posted the link several times). That is the type of coaching these girls need...supportive & encouraging!!!

Sorry this is so long, but I feel very passionate about this topic. I think many people say "don't let her quit", without really knowing the unhealthy stress these young girls are under. I think quitting can be the right thing in some cases. Going to highschool or prep-op are also great choices for some. Gymnastics is a journey...some journey down different roads and I think we as parents need to be supportive of that. JMHO. Best wishes to you & your DD. Please feel free to PM. (((hugs)))
 

Tumblequeensmom

Proud Parent
Feb 19, 2007
1,451
I also have to correct myself here.... Bog, I KNOW it wasn't your daughter wanting to quit... GMM... I kNOW it was yours! As soon as I clicked send, I realized that I had typed it wrong in my reply. but every time I tried to "edit" my comment, the website acted like I wasn't a registered user, so I didn't have the option to either "reply" or "edit" my comment!!
 

Tumblequeensmom

Proud Parent
Feb 19, 2007
1,451
This time last year her coach stepped up the game & was sooo hard on my DD. She has talent but, struggles with fear issues. He pushed & pushed. And she balked & balked more. It became a power struggle between the 2 of them. Finally...he gave up on her, started to totally ignore her. Nice training techniques huh? Abuse her, then ignore her. I swear some coaches have no idea how to deal with the fear issues of teenage gymnasts. I feel my DD's coach & your DD's handled these girls totally wrong! The worst thing for fear issues is stress!!! Don't they think these girls are already stressing themselves? Do these girls WANT to spend so many hours in the gym, only to be behind their teammates in skills & levels? No, of course not! So why abuse them & stress them more? They are already beating themselves up inside & not telling us! That is what a fear issue is. (((hugs)))

.. could've been written by me as well. Gee... do all of these coaches come from the same place?!?!
 
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