Civil discussion about professionalism, coaches' education, etc

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LOL Geof

You know if you give a mouse a cookie he's going to want a glass of milk...
 
Thanks Geoffrey Taucer!

My current thought stream...

A coach takes a child and makes an athlete out of her. Does a coach forget that the child is a child? This is not a fair question. An athlete is another animal. A child that becomes an athlete is a child athlete. The professional coach knows how to coach a child athlete. Not as a child but as an athlete. Its on different terms.

Do we really want coaches to learn how to coach child athletes by trial and error? By what they pick up from the street? By the random experience they get from bouncing around different gyms? By taking in whatever they can on the fly? By the limited and slanted views of the self taught opinionated experts in one sole gym?

Is the accreditation of a coach parental approval?

If teachers in public schools are disillusioned by administrative restraints does that preclude professionalism in the sports arena?

...when USA Gymnastics decides that it wants more revenue then the windfall of inventing requisites that command a price is imminent. Such as if you want to be a coach then you will have to make an investment in your future. Its just like going to college where tuition is money. Education is money. Paying fees to move from one gymnastics program to another is money. Paying to take tests is money. Its a bank waiting to be owned. Its a lottery USA Gymnastics has won but not redeemed. Its coming. If not under professional auspices then out of pure greed. Its a wonder it hasn't happened already. Multiply 10,000 coaches each times 1000 dollars in required test fees and USA Gymnastics will be 10,000,000 ten million dollars richer tomorrow.

Need I say more? The University won't have to be virtual anymore. They could build it in any state of the union they choose. And make even more money.
 
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First, let me say: I fully believe in giving coaches freedom to experiment, improve, try their own methods, etc. However, I think requiring or at least strongly encouraging a certain level of understanding of biomechanics would really help the sport a lot.

Right now in the USA, there is no formalized system of coaches education beyond safety certification (which is a joke). Required coaches training, such as they have in Canada and (I believe) some european countries would cause the sport to benefit immensely.

SO what's the ideal solution? I'm not sure. If USAG were to decide tomorrow that anybody who wants to coach gymnastics had to pass some sort of test of coaching expertise, then by the day after tomorrow every gym in the country would be cripplingly short-staffed.

Perhaps there's some way to phase in a program like this?
 
Right now in the USA, there is no formalized system of coaches education beyond safety certification (which is a joke). Required coaches training, such as they have in Canada and (I believe) some european countries would cause the sport to benefit immensely.

SO what's the ideal solution? I'm not sure. If USAG were to decide tomorrow that anybody who wants to coach gymnastics had to pass some sort of test of coaching expertise, then by the day after tomorrow every gym in the country would be cripplingly short-staffed.

Perhaps there's some way to phase in a program like this?


Wow that is scary. In the UK I think you are only supposed to coach and support moves that were covered in your coaching course so the higher the course the harder the skills covered. I know there is a minimum coaching level to be able to take gymnasts round on the floor at a competition. Again the harder the level of competition the higher the qualification you need. I don't think you could register a club with BG and get insurance unless you had a high enough qualification either. Obviously there are good coaches and bad coaches despite that.

You could definitely phase in a system of coach education in the US over about 5 years. Maybe start with the headcoaches and work down. We even have 'helper' qualifications. Yes you do learn by doing and others around you passing on their knowledge but I have always learned new things by attending courses too.
 
It wouldn't be hard to phase it in at all. I don't think the process is whats holding implementation back if it's being considered. I think it would cost something, and if gyms don't pay for it directly, they may have to in the way of pay and benefits. Maybe not though. I know some coaches wouldn't go along with it, so there's the loss of those people, which would make coaches rarer, and good ones rarer still. I don't know that gyms in U.S. are willing to give up minimum wage coaches. Though there are plenty that have, I think that's an option plenty of gyms use all too often and would resent giving up.

I don't think coaches would rebel or resent implementation of this. I think the almighty dollar will have the most impact. If gyms start paying more for coaches that walk in with required certs, parents are going to get hit in the wallet. The more they pay, the more say they're going to want. Between that and paper not meaning squat regarding every single aspect of coaching, I think the potential for drama will be as high as it is now or worse.

Frankly, I took biology, physics, anatomy, in high school and college, and have all the current certs. If usag wants me to dump money into whatever they're doing, I'll do it. If they want to break my bank in the process though I will see a change on that hourly wage; otherwise I'll use my degree and get a 'real' job. If there's a disconnect between what the coaches think they're worth and what a gym is willing to compensate.....there could be some dark coaching days for awhile after until it's sorted out. We all know who pay that price, the most vulnerable group in the sport: the athletes.
 
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Another problem is if you had to be educated to be a coach, the gyms would naturally have to pay you more. I see a lot of gyms hiring hire schoolers at min. wage for the rec. and beginner classes. It saves them money, not that I agree with it all the time.
 
I was waiting for that, 10.0...
I wanted someone else to bring up that point. Coaches deserve more money. They are the reason for the season. They make or break the program. They are the ones on the front lines. They are under fire. They have the responsibility to keep things going so the gym/program stays in business. Coaches are the ones that sell the gym. Coaches should form a UNION. A UNION coach would be the best educated in the field and have an organization behind them to insure they get a fair shake. And the highest compensation possible.

Coaches would immediately get more money once an educational system is instilled and mandatory. You call it a problem. I call it serendipity. Coaches, what are you waiting for? Insist on professionalism. We want the gymnastics coach profession to be esteemed tantamount to being a doctor, lawyer, CEO, or rocket scientist. We want gymnastics coaching to be an UNREAL-real job!

Parents don't trust us. Parents feel they need to do what should be our jobs. Parents expect shortcomings and threaten us if we don't deliver. Its all a bunch of symptoms. We have no regulation over gym hopping. How sad! Lets make ourselves accountable and responsible. Lets watch each other's backs and protect our industry. Lets make sure every program makes the grade and every coach understands how to do that through education, assessment, regulation, and the highest standards in the world.

Look at gymnut1's attitude toward America's barn yard animals loose organization...
Originally Posted by Geoffrey Taucer
Right now in the USA, there is no formalized system of coaches education beyond safety certification (which is a joke).
"Wow that is scary.," responded gymnut1.
It scares me too, gymnut1!!!, responded triptwister.


Here's a snippet I borrowed from a parallel thread called, Do coaches need actual gymnastics experience? ,
that tickles the subject of professionalism...

"I was trained to coach gymnastics by another coach..."
"This site has been extremely useful..."
"U-tube also now has a huge range of video footage to teach how to coach skills"

What's wrong with this picture?
 
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Trip-Having my DD in gymnastics is a luxury not a necessity. I only have a set amount of money to splurge on this luxury. Yes, DD enjoys gymnastics, but if was a choice of having money to; feed her, house her, clothe her or paying for gymnastics which do you think I would choose? If coaches unionized & the price of gymnastics went beyond what my family could afford, my DD would simply would have to find another(cheaper) sport she enjoyed. That is the cold, hard truth. Especially in these tough economic times. The parents are paying & if you price them out of the sport you will have no gymnast. The idea of unionizing coaches is just over the top. JMHO.
 
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Another problem is if you had to be educated to be a coach, the gyms would naturally have to pay you more. I see a lot of gyms hiring hire schoolers at min. wage for the rec. and beginner classes. It saves them money, not that I agree with it all the time.

In the UK volunteer coaches, and low paid coaches still have to have the qualification though....

Coaching isnt a well paid job. Even though a coaching qualification is needed, the coach is in it for more than money.
 
I do understand your point. It would depend on how much education was involved. Yes you obviously have to be in it for more than the money, but in this hard econmeny I am not going to go through all kinds of schooling to make the same wage as I would at Mc Donald's. All I would need to do there is show up on time and flip some burgers in a semi quick manner as a gym coach lets see just some of the things I already deal with, I have to be a therpist, I have to deal with crazy parents, I have to be a babysitter and sometimes the childs only source of disipline, I have to be a medic. I have to cater myself to 100 kids and parents different needs and issues, plus equiptment upkeep, safely spotting etc. Plus a bizliion more things. I don't need $100 an hour, but I make exactly what the workers of Mc Donald's make if not less and when you go to Mc Donalds to eat you don't expect to get steak and lobster. Some people need this to make a living as well, great for all those out there that do it for fun. How would you feel if your full time job bumped you to min. wage and aslo asked you to increase your job duites? That is all I am saying, if you want the best you will have to pay for the best. If you are okay with any one who can pass a background check off the streets coaching your kid then you have to be willing to deal with what you get.
 
A low paid coach? What a silly notion. Where? When? Who would dare? Let me at em!

Coaches if they don't already own the gym should be guaranteed an option to own. Like stock. With dividends and profit sharing. Gymnastics coaching should be one of the highest paying entertainment related industries in the world. Pay the best and you will get the best. When I grow up I want to be either a doctor or a gymnastics coach.
 
It would be fantastic if we coaches could get paid more, but where would the money come from? The immediate effect would be that the price for the gymnasts would skyrocket.

As for having rec classes coached by highschoolers, one of the best rec/low-level team coaches we have (or have ever had) at our gym is 15.
 
I know of many great coaches in the uk who are totally unpaid, some of them are members here. They are fully qualified under the uk system and they coach for the love of the kids and gym.

It isn't all about money.But, the more expensive gym becomes the fewer children that can enjoy it.

One of the problems with working in a non essential position is that you are limited by demand. You could simply price your club out of the market. No clientele, no job.
 
A low paid coach? What a silly notion. Where? When? Who would dare? Let me at em!

Coaches if they don't already own the gym should be guaranteed an option to own. Like stock. With dividends and profit sharing. Gymnastics coaching should be one of the highest paying entertainment related industries in the world. Pay the best and you will get the best. When I grow up I want to be either a doctor or a gymnastics coach.

these things already exist and have been so for the last 20 years. and we pay their health insurance and salaries over $50,000 per year with paid vacations. trip, you need to catch up with what's actually going on in the industry.
 
GT said,

"First, let me say: I fully believe in giving coaches freedom to experiment, improve, try their own methods, etc. However, I think requiring or at least strongly encouraging a certain level of understanding of biomechanics would really help the sport a lot.

Right now in the USA, there is no formalized system of coaches education beyond safety certification (which is a joke). Required coaches training, such as they have in Canada and (I believe) some european countries would cause the sport to benefit immensely.

SO what's the ideal solution? I'm not sure. If USAG were to decide tomorrow that anybody who wants to coach gymnastics had to pass some sort of test of coaching expertise, then by the day after tomorrow every gym in the country would be cripplingly short-staffed.

Perhaps there's some way to phase in a program like this?"




...and what about the gyms who are not members of USA Gymnastics - the gyms who are only competing in non-sanctioned "fun" meets?

What about the gyms that don't charge out the wahzoo because the owners and coaches believe that the benefits of gymnastics to a child are worth more than making a big financial profit for the gym and for themselves??

What about the gym who's philosophy is that all kids should be able to benefit from gymnastics - even if the family can't afford it?

What would happen to those gyms? And those coaches - some of whom have more than 27 years of gymnastics experience and 17 years of coaching experience (ranging from mommy & me, preschool, and rec all the way to coaching level 8's who have swept our unsanctioned league all around titles and and first place team trophies for the last 4 years in a row) What happens to those athletes and their families who have been dedicated to gymnastics for so long - when the coaches have to come in one day and say "sorry, but we can't coach you anymore, because we can't afford the education, and you can't afford to pay it for us"
 
In the UK volunteer coaches, and low paid coaches still have to have the qualification though....

Coaching isnt a well paid job. Even though a coaching qualification is needed, the coach is in it for more than money.

Getting rich is never the motivation for coaching lol. What we're talking about in regard to money here is being able to survive on one job. Coaching could not get me through college. I was not willing to work 3 jobs and be a full time student to satisfy a powerful urge to eat. Doesn't mean I love the sport less. Getting back into coaching was largely happy circumstance. The bottom line is that there are plenty of coaches who are educated and experienced in other fields that pay better. I don't expect pity for us as a group, just understanding that we're adults too with the same needs as everyone else. Some of us with families, hoping to buy a house, etc. Sometimes love of a job takes a back seat to creating a compelling future for yourself.

Something like this that cost money in my college years would have been a non option. There's another chunk of coaches lost that may or may not come back.
 
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This is a fun thread considering I'm in the middle of renewing my safety certification and using the new online class. I renewed last time online, but this is completely different. The old class you could just click straight to the end and take the test, this one requires you spend four hours in the course and you can't take the final test until you've seen all of the material. It's kind of a pain, since I really just wanted to take the test and be done, but I can definitely see the value to ensure the information is being appropriately communicated.

As judges we are required to complete so many hours of continued education each year to maintain our rating. Usually we can do it all by attending one conference per year, and this year our state put on a conference that was free to all USAG members. It was bare bones, no included meals, etc., but it was in a gym with experienced presentors and was excellent. I think a minimum number of education hours, with mulitple methods of receiving it (free and paid) would make sense on quite a few levels. As judges we've always wondered why we have to keep our education current, but coaches don't.
 
Getting rich is never the motivation for coaching lol. What we're talking about in regard to money here is being able to survive on one job. Coaching could not get me through college. I was not willing to work 3 jobs and be a full time student to satisfy a powerful urge to eat. Doesn't mean I love the sport less. ... The bottom line is that there are plenty of coaches who are educated and experienced in other fields that pay better. I don't expect pity for us as a group, just understanding that we're adults too with the same needs as everyone else. Some of us with families, hoping to buy a house, etc. Sometimes love of a job takes a back seat to creating a compelling future for yourself.

Something like this that cost money in my college years would have been a non option. There's another chunk of coaches lost that may or may not come back.

The initial cost for certification wouldn't make a huge difference for coaches-- clinics aren't that expensive. (This summer, I got all of my hours for judging through free clinics.) I imagine an education requirement would look something like judges' CPE hours-- it would probably be announced a year before the clinics or tests were enforced. I think a lot of us are talking around the same idea: the problem is that you lose coaches, with or without certification, around/after the college years because they can't support themselves.

Even before we add in the additional factor of coaches' certification, we end up talking in circles about money in general. If you want to keep coaches in the sport, you need to pay them a living wage or make sure their partners have a decent income. If parents aren't willing or able to pay much more than they currently are to ensure that the coaches can support themselves, then many coaches (especially those of us who are single!) simply can't live off a coaching salary. There are a few gyms that pay team coaches a decent salary with health insurance, vacations, etc., but those positions generally don't go to people who are fresh out of college.

Once I return to the US, I don't plan on going back to coaching. It's not because I don't love gymnastics or working with kids, but because I literally can't afford to coach.

Gymnastics isn't all about the money, unless you're the coach who can't afford rent, food, and health insurance.
 

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