Parents Harsh or reality

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Amandad3

Proud Parent
So my daughter is 8 years old. She has always been the gymnast that takes that little bit longer to get a skill as she wants perfection and normally once she has it it's fantastically executed.

She also lives and breathes gymnastics, she loves to travel with her club and goes to all the events regardless of if she's competing or not.

So recently I've been having feedback that she Is refusing to do certain skills. When questioned they didn't really come back with much beyond she's not doing her flick. This was a massive shock for me as she is a self proclaimed people pleaser.

So this has been going on for weeks. Her doing it with another coach but never her coach, subsequently seeing her left behind on an easier set up.

I was called in yesterday evening and I've now been told that her coach feels that there is a clash of personalities and it's not working for my daughter so she needs to be moved teams. This new team is being set up but I'm assuming its a lower level. They stated it was to protect her mental health but I mean the fact they've spoken to me and not her summarises that statement

My daughter this evening (none the wiser) has had a meltdown. Tears and saying her head feels heavy. It took some time but she's said that her coach expects them to get the skill first time and if not, she moves to the easier set up with no option to try again. I asked her how this makes her feel and she said 'she loses her confidence and shutsdown'. This makes total sense now and I feel she is being massively penalised by moving to a lower level group for the actions of a coach.

I've also spent some time with her over the last few days and not once has she failed to achieve this skill.

What's everyone's thoughts? Obviously emotions are extremely high from my part and I feel I've allowed my daughter to take the flack for a god damn awful way of teaching.

What would your approach be in our situation
 
To me, a coach is someone who is willing to work with athletes, and are patient with them because everyone gets skills at different paces (similar to you daugther, I am a perfectionist who has dealt with many mental blocks, which ends up taking me many months to even years to get new skills). The coach you mentioned above is someone who I would NEVER want to coach me, and seems very insensitive for not letting them try to throw the skills after they are ready to try again, to say that her personality does not work well with her, and for her to not talk to your daughter first about the possibilities of moving her to a lower level is a HUGE red flag for me.

Here are some options that you can try:

1. Try out the lower level to see if she enjoys it (are any of her other teammates going to be in the same practice group? Will she have some of her same coaches from before that she has liked working with?). However, if the coach is the same coach from above, I recommend finding another gym.

or

2. Find a gym where she can still work on her current level and upskills without feeling punished for being scared to try something new.

Hope any of this helps!
 
It definitely sounds like the current team and coach are NOT a good fit, so no matter what moving from that group is likely a good thing. I would ask more questions about the group/team they are moving her to, and also possibly look at other programs in the area.
 
My daughter this evening (none the wiser) has had a meltdown. Tears and saying her head feels heavy. It took some time but she's said that her coach expects them to get the skill first time and if not, she moves to the easier set up with no option to try again. I asked her how this makes her feel and she said 'she loses her confidence and shutsdown'. This makes total sense now and I feel she is being massively penalised by moving to a lower level group for the actions of a coach.

Hi! Your DD sounds like mine to a 'T'! I could easily have written this same post when my DD was young. TLDR - I'm impressed your gym is offering an alternative. TAKE IT! See what the change brings.

Longer version - you've just been given some incredible insight into your 8 year old and have seen what the other side of perfectionism/people pleasing looks like for some kids. Don't get me wrong - your DD (and mine) have so many truly wonderful qualities but there is a tendency for them to shutdown when they feel like they can't control the people pleasing. Perfectionists can be inflexible and I think you are seeing shades of this right now. She is in a situation where she can't practice her skills as she likes and she is shutting down. I'm impressed that the gym is offering an alternative. The other alternatives are for her to remain with this coach and be miserable or leave the gym all together and I don't think you want either of these options.

Things you can do to support your DD....First of all validate her feelings. The loss of confidence, feelings of inadequacy, etc are all very real and uncomfortable. Consider having her work with a therapist to redirect those negative thoughts. Her value/worth should never be tied to how well or quickly she achieves (this applies to the classroom and the gym). There's always going to be someone in her life who she doesn't mesh with (teacher, boss, coach, etc) - arm her with support now. It will have huge payoffs later in life.
 

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