Anon Coaches reaction after a bad routine/meet

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Anonymous (ef50)

My daughter and her teammates are almost all first year 9s and had their first meet last weekend. Overall the meet was pretty disastrous, everyone fell at least once, with most girls on 2-3 events. Not a single girl hit every routine. After my daughter fell on a dismount the coach was visibly frustrated and walked away from her as she was in tears upset/frustrated with herself. My daughter also mentioned they all got a stern talking to at the end of the meet about how they didn’t perform the way they have been in the gym. I see videos and stories of other coaches hugging or comforting girls after a bad routine, and our girls never get that. The coaches have no problem hugging, high-fiving and showing affection after great routines.

I mentioned my feelings to my teenage daughter and she brushed me off saying “mom we all did bad, you can’t expect them to be nice about it”. She didn’t seem bothered at all about how the coaches reacted.

She loves her coaches, and most of the time I do too, but their reactions and expectations at meets are really bugging me. This isn’t the first time I’ve noticed it either, they’ve had girls quit in the past because they think the coach is mean.

Is this ok/normal behavior?
Nope. Not ok. As both a parent and a coach, this is not acceptable behavior and honestly borders on psychological manipulation. As coaches we HAVE TO UNDERSTAND that everyone has good and bad days, and to expect anything different is not ok. Obviously we want our gymnasts to do THEIR best… but in my eyes… my girls are already being hard enough on themselves for the BOTH of us… they don’t need me to act in any way that will make them feel worse! And again, as a coach, when we behave in a negative way that impacts their ability to let this event go and move FORWARD so that they can get back on track and hit the rest of their routines. Honestly, I am not surprised at all that they had a poor meet across the board bc of how the coach responded. Maybe if the coach had been understanding, caring and loving, they would have been able to leave the mistake on one event and finish strong🤷🏻‍♀️ Maybe I am wrong.. but I will always try and remain as positive as possible for my girls! I am their leader. They need us to SHOW them how we expect them to behave. I can’t be upset and pout, if I expect them to stay positive!
I’ve seen our coaches get frustrated and yell at girls when they pout or won’t shake off a fall and are still visibly upset heading to the next event. But usually in the moment a hug or supportive words should always be the first response.
Our gym had an erratic first meet. Every level was split into athletes who hit but didn’t score well vs. athletes who didn’t hit and scored badly, with 3-4 exceptions across the team. I watched the coaches really carefully because this is not how things went last year and I didn’t know how to react myself, as a parent.

Our coaches stay neutral even when things are going great. I have seen them get excited for level 10s and at elite meets. Everyone else works hard for a “good” or a “great” and maybe a high five.

When it was bad this weekend, the coach-athlete interaction was a quick pull aside and a lot of corrections including shaping. There didn’t seem to be any negative talk or punishment. It was efficient and took emotions out of the situation and the girls seemed to respond well.

I personally would like a lot of jumping up and down and hugging, but my daughter insists that’s for level 2s and NCAA.
As a child I was a figure skater fairly competitively. I switched from a very poor coaching environment (borderline emotionally abusive) to a very good one. My old coach was what you described she’d yell and make a fuss if you messed up. I remember one time shortly after switching by coaches I was at a competition and did horribly…I even fell on footwork. My coach looked at me afterwards and said something along the lines of “well…I guess we’ll also have to do some work on helping you manage your nerves because you are a way better skater than this.” She wasn’t the least bit angry or upset and then we actually worked on managing nerves. 25yrs later I still think of this when I think of awesome coaching. At the time I was so shocked she wasn’t mad I didn’t actually know what to do.
Thanks everyone for the insight. The coach did apologize to all the girls, but still not sitting right with me. Going to keep an eye on things this season.

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