Coaches Dealing with cliqueyness

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Does anyone have any advice for handling cliquey girls in a gymnastics class?

I have a group with eight 6 and 7 year old recreational gymnasts in which three of the girls are good friends outside of gym. The three friends are often seen whispering to each other, presumably about the other girls. It has gotten to the point that the parents of one the other girls has approached me to say that they're daughter wasn't enjoying gymnastics very much because she felt that she was being picked on. The three friends have been known to talk when I'm talking, and therefore often miss instructions. They also do not listen at all to the coach in training who helps me.

Any sugestions for how to deal with this situation would be very much appreciated.

Well i guess the 1,2,3 your out rule would apply here. Once is a warning, 2 is a 5min sit out, and 3 is lets sit you out, and have a chat, and if you giving attitude lets call a parent.
At the end of the day your grounds are
1- Other kids feel that they are being picked on
2- There is no room for not listening to instructions its rude, it can be dangerous, and you need to show respect

If i were you i would introduce this rule to everyone at the start of the class..jsut sit them down tell them this is the rule, and it will be enforced..and it must be, it can't be an empty threat. However when you use it, it must have good grounds...don't use it on just anything apply it sparingly and when it trully deserved.

By introcuding it to the whole class it won't single anyone or group out, and everyone is/will be aware of it.

It probably won't work right of the bat, as the kids will probably test it, so do make sure you show them that you are not joking and this is for their safety more then anything.

Hope that is of some help
I would also go the way Valentin suggests. Introducing the new rule at the beginning of class, lay down the law and then hand out consequences from there. Girls can be very cliquish, it is a minor form of bullying, but very hurtful, great that you are aware and that you want to make it stop.

Maybe also work on some partner conditioning, splitting the threesome up every time, making them work with other girls in the group. Award stickers to the girls with the best conditioning results, this will encourage the trio to form new links with girls outside of the trio.

"Divide and conquer" is a great motto of famous warlords, works with kids too!
Seperate them if they are talking. Put one on each end of the line and the third in the middle so they can't talk. Do lots of diffierent activities with partners and small groups and partner these girls up with different kids so they start to mingle more. Do group activities and games to help build relationships in the whole class.

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