Parents Favoritism within your gym

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I noticed the post about favoritism at meets and judges preconceived notions about certain teams. That got me thinking about favoritism within gyms and within levels. There are always a few gymnasts that are obviously the best and the brightest. Just wondering what everyone thought about this and how it effects those kids and the kids that witness it. We personally don't have any problems with this but I have heard other people discussing it. Most of the comments are we pay the same amount that those kids do and our kids are not getting the same attention and are not being groomed as hard. I would just like to put this out there for discussion.
Well, now that you mention it...

Having just finished my boy's first season here, I've been hesitant to jump to any unflattering conclusions about our coaches. To be fair, they're all wonderful people to chat with, and they all say the right things at the right times (to the parents).

Unfortunately, I've observed certain behaviors that seem questionable to me, and lately I've been hearing the same thing from other parents. The part that's on topic here is that some coaches do play favorites. Most disturbing is our highest-ranking coach. It seems like a kid is either on his good side or on his bad side. If on his good side, life is wonderful at the gym. Lots of time and attention, good tips, plenty of TLC. If on his bad side, you might as well sit on the sidelines.

I sort of understand part of it, although I still don't condone the coach's behavior. Sadly, there are a few disciplinary problems, especially amongst the younger boys. They have a tendency to disrupt the class and make it difficult for the others to concentrate on their workout. I can see where this can create a little bias on the part of the coach, but there are other perfectly well-behaved kids who simply haven't won the favor of the man in charge. Maybe it's just a personality preference, hair color, or their basic ability to perform. Whatever the reason, certain kids are consistently getting more and better instruction than others.

I think the reason the buzz over this issue has increased in recent weeks is because the time for deciding who moves up a level and who doesn't is almost here, and the coach is already indicating his probable choices. And guess what -- it looks like the favorites will be moving up, while the ones who received so little attention all season will be left behind. What's wrong with this picture? :mad:

Thankfully, my boy has not been affected by this particular situation (yet), but we don't really know who his coach will be in a few weeks, once the level shuffling takes place.

So, yeah -- I think favoritism exists, and I believe coaches should be above such things. They're the adults, right?

- Harv

p.s. This is the first time I sorta hope a certain coach is not reading the Chalk Board. :p
We've only been at our gym since the end of January but I haven't noticed any favoritism yet.... And I really like the coach we have, but all the coaches seem to be really fair. Maybe we got lucky hopefully. :)
This definitely goes on in our gym, in the compulsory level teams. For example, my dd is not one of the "chosen ones". She and about 4 other girls are a little further down the pack than the other 6. There are 6 of them that just seem to get a different workout every week even though they're on the same team. Gee, do you think they could be scoring higher because they're getting more attention and working more on certain skills than my dd's group? No doubt in my mind. It's frustrating because we all pay the same rate so is it wrong to expect the same kind of coaching?

What I don't appreciate is the way one of dd's coaches will compare her with another teammate. We learn as parents not to do that to our kids. Shouldn't the coaches know this, too? But, the thing that upsets me is when my dd will say "how come the other group got to do ______ and we didn't? (fill in the blank). It's happened on more than one occasion. So, I don't think the coaches realize that the girls see what's going on, they're not stupid. I'm all for rewarding the girls but make it fair and point out the good work in all of them, not just a select few. :(
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This definitely goes on at our gym too and as the parent of a child who often gets less attention, it is frustrating. Our L5s are all in one group but the main coach pays more attention to the better ones and they get to do more uptraining. I try not to stress out about it too much as my dd is the youngest in the group and she's making progress.

I will tell this interesting fact - we had a group of L4s a few years ago and they were divided into the "A" group and the "B" group. You can guess which was which. Now, four years later, all but two of the "A" group have quit gymnastics. As for the "B" group - all are still on team. I just think it is a shame that some coaches fail to realize that talent isn't everything.
While we have a few girls who are natural talents and things come very easy for them, they really don't get special treatment. At our gym, everyone on a given level does the same workout, but they may move on during practices faster.

FOR INSTANCE, this is how beam goes. Everyone does x amount of each skill. At the end of each skill, the gymnast must "show" the coach how they perform that skill. If coach thinks that you've done it correctly AND to the best of your ability, the gymnast moves on the next skill on the list. For those that don't do it correctly, they repeat the skill again 5xs and "show" the skill again. Repeat until they pass the skill and move on. For those that pass on quickly, they can work upskills. So, our Level 5s will work L6 dismounts, backwalkovers, back handsprings, front tucks off the beam, etc... It works as both an incentive to do the skill properly all the time, and to reward those who do. I really like this system! It makes the ones who need to improve a certain element re-do that element until done correctly, while not making the ones who "got it" repeat it or stand around and do nothing while they wait on the gymmie to do it correctly. I've never seen any hard feelings among the girls about who moves on to new skills and who needs to reapeat skills over. They are very supportive of each other.

Our coaches really do not show favoritism that I've noticed, which is great. At the old gym there was definate favoritsm shown, but it was towards my dd and her best gym bud. I felt bad for the other girls, as it was very obvious who were the coaches' favorites. Coach was always more critical and short tempered with the other girls, while she always had time to joke with my dd. It was very frustrating for another teammate who was my dd & her gym buddy's age -- to watch my dd and friend always get to train up. They were always allowed to practice their kips during L4, because they didn't need spotted, where as the other little girl needed a spot so was not allowed to even try them. It was frustrating to watch.
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Interesting DD has experienced both, being the coaches "pet" & falling out of favor. Believe me, her & I have had to have long discussions about it. Although I've never actually discussed it with other parents or coaches. Her & I both had to learn how to deal with it, together. It was obvious when she was the star of the lower levels, taking 1st AA just about every meet. State champ x 2 yrs. Everyone loved her(coaches & teammates) & she got special attention...she was being groomed to be the gym's "next big thing". Coaches would push her & give her extra turns, let her try newer & bigger skills, etc. Then her fear issues set in. She would balk. Coach tried to be patient for a while. Finally, he just got mad at her, b/c she wasn't doing what he wanted her too. He realized she wouldn't be his next "star" b/c of the fear issues & gave up on her. It became a huge power struggle between the two of them. Coaches & teammates were frustrated with her b/c everyone knew she could easily do the skills perfectly. But no one was more frustrated then DD. Now they have reached an acceptable happy medium. She is still doing well at her pace & he isn't pushing her to be a star anymore...he found a new one to groom. DD is fine with things the way they are now...the pressure to be a "star" wasn't something she wanted. She just loves the sport & wants to continue at her pace. But yes, I do think there is favoritism. The coaches love a talented fearless gymmie who soaks up new skills like a sponge! Who wouldn't??? They want to cultivate that & not have a talented child lose interest. But also I realize that when my DD was having fear didn't have time to be one on one with her during practice. He'd work with her a bit & then leave her to do what she was able too & check back with her. I paid for extra for separate privates to get her the one one she needed. I don't expect that the whole team be held up just b/c my DD was having issues. There are all different abilties, skill levels, talent levels with in a particular level on a team. And a coach must try to keep them all happy & progressing at their own pace. I'm not a coach..but I can see it's a fine line they walk trying to keep all the girls(with vastly different talent levels) moving along & progressing. I give coaches credit. In public schools at least gifted kids or kids with learning issues, get special classes to address special needs. Coaches don't have that option & have to address the the "gifted", the gymmies with "issues" & all the ones in between, all in the same practice session...with parents watching & critiquing them.
Gymjourneymom, I think you summed it up perfectly! It is a very fine line that coaches are walking and I believe they are trying to balance things as best as they can. For someone watching from the side it might look like they are working with one girl more than with another or uptraining one more than the other, but it is usually because the one girl CAN do it and the other maybe not yet.
My DD was never the star of the team nor did she ever have special issues and our coach will work new skills with her when he sees she is trying hard and working hard. Truely at our gym, those who are working hard will get uptraining and attention, not those with the highest scores or more 'promise'.
About the favoritism (btw, I wrote that thread about the judges) occasionally my dd will think that the coach is harder on her than the others, but I try to explain to her that it is probably because she is the highest level, and only level 8 at our gym, so the coach probably expects more from her. Every Friday the coaches pick a gymnast of the week, based on their work ethics, and attitude, something great they did that week or overcoming a fear. They get to take home a trophy until the following Friday. My dd RARELY gets chosen. I don't think it is intentional on the coaches part. Because my daughter is so much older than the others, they probably think it doesn't really matter to her. Our team consists of mostly younger level 4's and 5's, and only 4 optionals. I guess the coaches just like to award the little girls because they are so happy when they are chosen. It does hurt my daughter's feelings though. But I am happy to say that she was chosen about three weeks ago, :)after nearly a year! It sounds like such a small thing, but I honestly couldn't think of anything else.

All the girls support each other and their is absolutely no jealously. My daughter being 15 loves the little girls and they idolize her! She helps them whenever she can and parents are very supportive as well.

I'm sure there are gyms that have a problem with this sort of thing
Kids are not the same and they can't be treated the same. Kids usually see this as favortisim but a lot of the time its not delibrate.

Some kids have something about them which makes them more noticable and just demands attention, there are kids who can work their butts off but look like they are being lazy, kids whose personalities clash with coaches.

Some kids get more oppourtunitites because the coaches see that they need them and are ready for them.
I definitely see this with one coach at our gym. I don't know why she was so dead set against my DD moving up to level 5, but she has done a lot to keep DD from practicing those skills. She did sort of favor my DD as a level 4 though, frequently making her the example and such.

When the head coach said it was okay for my DD to compete L5 at the next meet since her L4 season is over, the other coach took me aside and told me that my DD doesnt' know the routines, and she doesn't have time to teach them to her since she is helping other kids work towards sectionals and states! So we put her in a couple private lessons with the head coach, and a private at the "Y" (our "Y" doesn't have particularly good coaching staff, but she never gets enough time on the bars)

I guess we will just have to see how she does. Head coach thinks she will do well on beam and floor, bars are iffy, and vault is a problem, I didn't think about the weight thing though. There's only one kid on the L5's who is lighter than my DD.

I think it would be funny if she did all right and pulled down some good scores. We'll just have to see.

At dd's gym, there are major favortism issues. 4 out of the 10 girls on the top team come from out of town, and therefore don't have parents on the board. Of the other 6 girls, all of them have parents that are either the president, vice president, treasurer, or board member. Because of this, they always get the good attention, and they always seem to get what they want. My dd (we come from out of town) has to beg to do new skills, never gets spotted on anything, and always just seems to get blown off. She went to a camp this summer, and the coaches there were amazed that she hadn't ever done some of the higher leveled stuff. We also went to a class this summer once a week with another really good coach in another town. He had her doing double backs on the floor with single spot, and she was flipping yurchenkos on vault, and doing all of this amazing stuff, and when she would go to practice at her gym, her coaches wouldn't let her do any of those skills. There's even another girl working double backs on floor and everything, but dd can't work them. Why? I have no clue.
DD's gym has no coaches that can spot her on what she's doing now, so how is she ever going to do anything more? My husband went and talked to some of the board members and other parents, and he basically told them that we were going to leave unless something changed. First of all, dd is a freshman in highschool and she want to get a college scholarship, so we need to go USAG so that can happen. Our gym is completely against the whole USAG idea, and they don't seem to want to find any good coaches.
Sorry, i got a little side tracked there, but i do think that favortism is huge in our gym.
I have to agree. I've always said the girls are divided into the "moneymakers" and the "billpayers." The moneymakers are the ones that win the meets for the gym, so they get lots of extra time and attention from the coaches. The billpayers are just there to write tuition checks:(. My daughters have spent time in each of these groups, depending on how they were scoring that year...
That when some coaches kids are in the gym they are allowed extra priviledges. I said SOME though, this is certainly not always the case.
'Fraid I have to agree on the coaches kids least at our gym. The same coach that has been trying to keep my DD from moving up has had her kids advance about 2 levels a year (and she has three kids!) Maybe it's just because she knows how far she can push them, and she doesn't know that with other kids. I always felt that she doesn't get to know the kids well enough (My DD has been with her for 3 years, and if she really got to know her she would know the only way to get results out of her is to have her set goals, and really challenge herself)

Then again, I suppose if there are that many girls on the team, it's hard to get to know them all.

I favor kids who keep my stress levels down and listen well and do what I ask them. I can't stand suckups and tend to be harsh on them but I will always deal with the gymnasts who are facing fear in skills or head issues in a positive manner. However, the ones that who are constantly testing my patience feel my wrath. One of my boys loves teasing another because that kid is super sensitive EMO and gullible as well. That kid is a sneak and fun but he really causes a lot of trouble with EMO-boy.

Burpee pain. I was able to count to 53 today in lots of broken up sessions for when no one was doing anything, not listening, goofing off, etc. There is an infraction of 10, then 20, then 40, then 80, then 160 burpees for certain infractions at times and penalties of 100 for grave actions ( like swinging around something and smacking a kid in the eye or not keeping his hands to himself ). Besides they are not supposed to like burpees so I have no problem of setting a precident that burpees SUCK.

Harv, I only know 2 of the coaches at your gym, err strike that, like 5 but 2 of the boy's coaches. In fact one of them said something to one of the boys I coached last year since he coached him at one point and that boy was very grumbly when that coach left and had some interesting 10yo things to say.

I dunno, many times the coaches kid's suffer the most. Especially if they have an ounce of talent.
in a larger group when we were younger it was more evident-outgoing kids who were more bubbly/able to make the other kids laugh/loved trying new things and demonstrating etc. generally were favoured more by teammates and coaches. However as we got older we realised that personality came second to work ethic, and made a more concious effort to gel as a team and there was less favouritism. Of course there's always going to be a couple of kids who are the best on their team and will therefore be of more interest to the coach but every kid should get the same amount of attention adn everyone should be equal.

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