Parents General Issues/Questions

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After addressing issues we have with the gym our daughter trains at we wanted to reach out and ask other parents what a good gym looks like.

Our daughter trains at a gym in the southeastern United States where there are only three competitive gyms within an hour drive of us. The gym she is at has two coaches for all the girls: one coach who is the primary trainer and most motivated coach works with all the girls at some point during the week but primarily focuses on Gold, Silver and Bronze and another who in our opinion is disinterested with coaching based on his own engagement with the girls and lack of overall feedback provided works with the Optionals.

Recently we have lost several Optionals and the feedback they have provided on their reasoning is that after going to guest practice at other gyms in their hometowns or where they vacationed they felt really behind and a lack of quality training overall. Conditioning was also an issue where outside gyms seemed to be more focused on training programs or systems to ensure everyone was in the shape they needed to be in.

Our daughter trains full time, five days a week and private lessons every so often. We are planning on moving to the Midwest in about a year or so and know the opportunities for her will open up more then compared to what they are now. It hasn’t been a question I’ve ever asked or heard asked to this point but felt it was something I should have done years ago.

Our daughters overall goal is to be an Olympic athlete and/or recruited to compete collegiately as many gymnasts dream of. With that in mind, how does her goal impact the quality a gym has for her?

What makes a good gym?
What makes a good coach?
Do you address nepotism in a gym setting if you feel as a parent it is negatively impacting gymnasts and even coaches?
What is a healthy training schedule?
How hard/tough are your coaches on the gymnasts in your gym?

Thank you for your insights and help. I greatly appreciate it.
 
Yes, ideally a good gym is filled with great coaches who are enthusiastic, passionate, great with detail, committed, creative, energetic and caring.

But it’s not usually the reality. Super talented and driven people can generally earn more money doing something else.
 
Our daughters overall goal is to be an Olympic athlete and/or recruited to compete collegiately as many gymnasts dream of. With that in mind, how does her goal impact the quality a gym has for her?

What makes a good gym?
What makes a good coach?
Do you address nepotism in a gym setting if you feel as a parent it is negatively impacting gymnasts and even coaches?
What is a healthy training schedule?
How hard/tough are your coaches on the gymnasts in your gym?

Thank you for your insights and help. I greatly appreciate it.
Aw man, you can get a wide range of responses to this based upon everyone opinion. Bottom line, what makes a good gym is a gym that works for YOUR FAMILY and YOUR VIEWPOINT. Everyone is different, some are adamant on not sacrificing family time, others are adamant of "whatever it takes" to get there. There are gyms that fall all along this spectrum. Finding the one that fits with your family and maybe more importantly, your gymnast is most important. Because if you are in an environment that works for you, then you and your gymnast will thrive and enjoy the journey. So I encourage you to take a moment and think about, things like how far are you willing to go to support your gymnasts goals? Things like traveling 2+ hours a day? Planning family events around gym schedule? Investing large sums of $ for coaches fees, trips, competitions? Potential injuries and all the ancillary medical support of PT, Ortho, Massage therapy that WILL happen? Answering questions like this, as a family, will help you find the "good gym" for you.

More specific to some of your questions and more my opinion:
  • Nepotism: That's very specific case scenario you lay out. I have never seen nepotism in any the gyms I have been involved with. Either way your response should be very tailored to the context in which it is occurring.
  • Training schedule: Again, depends on what works for you and family. You mention Olympic/College desires. At that type of level, you are looking at minimum 20 hours a week, probably closer to 25 hours for a training schedule. Its how they train during that time that makes it healthy or not. SIDE NOTE: If your daughter(s) is 10-11 and hasn't been pegged for elite route then Olympics is probably unrealistic goal. College, goal should be L10 by 8-9th grade (general rule, certainly exceptions)
  • Good coach: The one that resonates with your daughter. Mine responds well in business type coach, here is your assignments, go do them, quickly and orderly, I will give feedback as needed. Others prefer, more emotional/personal type connection. Everyone has different styles.
Good luck!
 
How old is your daughter? What level is she currently competing?
 

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