Just plain bad coaching? Or am I overreacting?

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Okay, so there's this coach at my gym who I think is very nice and good person overall, but he's just a terrible coach. Yet he coaches level 6+. He used to work with another coach who was pretty good, but she left for college and BAM! The higher levels start falling apart. :( Here are the main issues:

-Doesn't supervise warm up, and when he sticks around, he doesn't make anyone fix their stretches or time them. I think this is the primary cause of the higher levels actually starting to lose their good leg split and general flexibility. There was a girl who had all 3 splits down and now she barely has one. :eek: The worst part is, she hardly even cares anymore.
-Doesn't correct bad form. Will occasionally make comments about staying tight, but that's about as far as he goes.
-Seems to have a problem with doing drills and simply spots the gymnasts over and over again. I have improved SO MUCH thanks to my new coach who does drills all the time.
-Can't seem to get his gymnasts to focus.
-Can't effectively "punish" his gymnasts.
-Doesn't assign enough conditioning, and usually doesn't pay attention or make people start over when they do it sloppily.
-Can't coach dance. Ever.
-Has the lower levels doing skills that are too dangerous.

Even so, he seems to be the main team coach right now. I had him when I first joined team but I hate working out with him now. We never get anything done. As a result, I feel like the team program is crumbling because people are leaving (we have very few kids on team right now), getting frustrated due to skill loss, and parents actually wanting kids to get held back in level 4 because the coaching is just better. It's completely obvious-- the level 4s get 36s and win meets and the other levels get 32s and struggle to place 4th out of 5 gyms. :mad:

If my new coach stops coaching level 5, I will seriously consider switching gyms. I've gotten way stronger and better in just a couple of months of working with her. She has a structured warm up and strength program, and she's great with coaching dance and good form. The dumb thing is that the gymnasts being coached by the other coach have gotten lazy and hate her structure, preferring to just do their own stretch. Which is the dumbest thing!!

What are your opinions?? Thank you for reading my long rant xD

P.S. He claims there is no difference between low bar and high bar kips, and that if you can do one you should be able to do the other and if you can't it's "all in your head". I think he's full of it. For one thing, he never had to do them differently when he was gymnast. Clarify?? :rolleyes:
 
Hi Fishchimes,

Many coaches actually do coach the way you say for higher level gymnasts. Perhaps this coach feels that at level 6 and above you should be mature enough to warm up and stretch properly. When you have a group of very young gymnasts pushing and supervision is essential. But by level 6 generally the kids want to be there and want to do well and should want to warm up and stretch properly. I am not saying this is the right or wrong way to coach older kids, just that it is a way for many coaches.

Punishing gymnasts or making them start over all the time is not always the best way to coach. A good coach will motivate his gymnasts and not need to punish (too often).

I am not saying he isn't a bad coach, he certainly doesn't sound attentive to his job. However, it is not appropriate to judge that he is teaching lower level gymnasts to do skills that are too dangerous. He is a coach and you are a gymnast and has properly coached for many years and would undoubtedly be a better judge of whether it's safe or not. Many coaches wait too long to teach lower level gymnasts higher level skills, this can cause you to think they are dangerous but it may not be the case. If he teaches you to do something you feel unsafe doing then it is appropriate and a good idea to say something.

As for the kips I am sure he understands that they are different. He is saying something a lot of coaches say, the idea is not to tell you lies, it is to make a gymnast feel like they can do it. He says "if you can do a kip on the low bar the you can do it on the high bar" and many gymnasts who were previously thinking "I can't do it" will think "oh well I can do it on the low bar so I must be able to do it on the high bar" and then get it. It is a psychology tactic, because often its just the head that is stopping the child from doing the skill.

If he did do gymnastics then he would have learned to do a variety of kips. A Male gymnast kips on the high bar and on the Parallel bars with very different technique.
 
Many coaches actually do coach the way you say for higher level gymnasts. Perhaps this coach feels that at level 6 and above you should be mature enough to warm up and stretch properly. When you have a group of very young gymnasts pushing and supervision is essential. But by level 6 generally the kids want to be there and want to do well and should want to warm up and stretch properly. I am not saying this is the right or wrong way to coach older kids, just that it is a way for many coaches.

Punishing gymnasts or making them start over all the time is not always the best way to coach. A good coach will motivate his gymnasts and not need to punish (too often).

I am not saying he isn't a bad coach, he certainly doesn't sound attentive to his job. However, it is not appropriate to judge that he is teaching lower level gymnasts to do skills that are too dangerous. He is a coach and you are a gymnast and has properly coached for many years and would undoubtedly be a better judge of whether it's safe or not. Many coaches wait too long to teach lower level gymnasts higher level skills, this can cause you to think they are dangerous but it may not be the case. If he teaches you to do something you feel unsafe doing then it is appropriate and a good idea to say something.
I agree that by the time they're level 6 they should want to be there and feel motivated to push themselves. Unfortunately, the gymnasts are not motivated to warm up and stretch properly. They take maybe 10 minutes to do all their stretching and whine the whole way through.

I put punish in quotation marks because I wasn't really talking about full out punishment. Looking back on it I think I used the wrong word; I was looking for a word to describe it and I think the word I was trying to find was discipline. It feels like people can just get away with anything when he's coaching. They don't have to put any effort in or follow the rules.

I'm actually not the one who first thought that the skills he was having the lower levels do are dangerous. The other coaches did. You're right; it is not for me to judge what skills are dangerous, but in this case I didn't do the judging.

I always thought the low bar and high bar kips had very different timing, unless your 4 feet tall and can tap on the low bar. In that case, they're the same.
 
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All I can really say is to let it go with the other kids, that will work itself out, either the kids will start caring or not and they will eventually quite, while it is nice to have a coach motivate you to stretch properly by level 6 if you haven't figured out that it helps prevent injuries and makes your gymnastics better there is something wrong. I remember from level 5 on we were given a list, we came in like 45 minutes before the actual class began and did our warm up, basically alone. The coach would look over every now and then and call you out if you were not working. Then again kids back in my day that did gymnastics were there because they wanted to be not because their parents needed an activity for them as well as discipline and respect was something taught at home by the kid’s parents and brought with them to the gym. It was the coaches job to coach gymnastics and every once in a while regain order but not constantly have to discipline or deal with a child disrespecting them as a matter of fact if we did that you could assure yourself your parents were getting called or talked to and your parents dealt with you and really dealt with you and if it happened repeatedly gymnastics would not be something you would be doing anymore. It isn’t like that anymore, now if I talk to a parent all I get is a "Suzie tell coach 10.0 you're sorry." like the kid is sorry and like they care. Anyways off subject that could be a whole new post. Bottom line if you want to be a good gymnast motivate yourself and forget what the other kids are or are not doing, it isn’t your problem. And on a like note if this coach ever makes you uncomfortable asking you to perform a skill you are not ready for simply say no, I am not ready to do that yet. If it really becomes an issue talk to the owner. And lastly long hand kips are vastly different than a kip on the low bar, everyone knows that. I agree with the other poster who said he probably said that so you wouldn’t psych yourself out.
 
My level 6 up group usually do warm up on their own while I set up equipment and stations. I oversee them but most of the warm up is their responsibility.

By that age and level I expect them to take responsibility for their own actions. If they loose flexibility because they are not stretching properly then they themselves have to wear the consequences of that.
 
I don't know about the rest of it, but my DD is a 5 year old Level 4 and she warms-up and stretches alone. I don't know if I agree with it, but that's what they do. Personally I think, though the team has a 5-11 year old age range, they are new enough to the sport that they need a bit more supervision. The L5/6 team coach seems like she actually stands there and corrects them on their splits. DD isn't always square in her splits, but she has one teammate who is 8yo and will get out of her splits and fix DD. I always thank her!
 
Ds who is 10 always warms up by himself. The age range is from 9 - 16 yrs and they start with warm up and then strength drills every class. The coach will look over once in a while, but the expectation is that they will complete the tasks, correctly and without goofing off, by themselves. They do have stretching at the end of each session which is fully supervised by the coach.
When watching some of them are obviously working harder than others, but this is still the case when the coach watches. I guess at the end of the day they are really only cheating themselves.
 
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Low bar kips and high bar kips do have a very different timing. Your high bar kip generally comes from a jump to high bar and you have the upwards power of the swing, while the low bar kip has the forwards power of the glide swing. I wasn't saying the kips were the same, just that the coach is saying they are the same to help gymnasts feel more confident to do them.

Again I wouldn't always take what other coaches say about a coach teaching skills that are too difficult. Each coach has a different view of what is safe and what is not. Some coaches feel it is safer to wait and teach a skill later after there is a lot of strength and preparation. Some coaches feel its safer to teach earlier while the gymnast is smaller and less frightened. Some coaches teach only drills first and then work up to a skill, other coaches teach the whole skill first and then work out the kinks with drills. There is no right or wrong way to do it. A lot of the time the kids are trying the skills anyway at home on their backyard trampolines, in which case its safer to teach them to do it correctly now, rather than wait until they hurt themselves.

Discipline is definitely a better word. Some coaches do this very naturally and others struggle with this. Each child responds differently to different coaching styles. It seems like you are quite a dedicated gymnast yourself though, so you may find you do better under this coach than some of these other girls who don't want to put the effort in.
 
Another thing I forgot to mention in my first post:

In my group, the coach doesn't actually time us, but we have a leader each practice who counts. Sometimes we get people who go too fast or painfully slow but since the coach is sitting right there for most of it (although she often does go do other stuff for part of it), she corrects us.

The main problem I had with everyone just doing their own thing for stretch was that I'd still be doing splits or whatever and everyone else had just speeded through. Then everyone would be waiting for me (or not, sometimes).

His warm up wouldn't be a problem if he had gymnasts who were mature enough to understand stretching. Unfortunately even the ones who seem like they're pretty focused don't stretch for very long.
 
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I don't think independent stretching is a problem but with kids under a certain age it needs to be supervised. Mine do stretch on their own (kind of - preliminary stretching) but that just means we're not yelling out each stretch in order. They know the stretches and someone is always watching, as well as the older girls doing the stretches to model for the younger (as young as about 7). But then there is usually some directed activity, we do a more directed stretch for flexibility (as opposed to warm up) at the end.

When I was a teenager we weren't very supervised in our stretching (fine) although there was always oversplits/shoulder stretch that was completely coach guided. Maybe we'd be given the assignment to do but with everyone starting at the same time it'd be pretty obvious what the timing was even if the coach wasn't explicitly timing.

So, if he is really not supervising, I can see how it becomes a problem. The kids may not even realize they're rushing or skipping things, and they also may be doing things incorrectly (positions, etc) at this level. Also, they are going to follow the coach's cues - if the coach is acting disinterested, the kids are going to pick up on that very fast. We can't just say "well they SHOULD be mature enough to do this or that, they KNOW how to stretch." That is probably true in a well-run environment where there is a good balance, but if the coach is disinterested and not putting in the effort the kids probably aren't going to meet it.
 
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Motivation

When my daughter was 8 years old, basically when she started gymnastics, she said to me, "Daddy, if you cheat on conditioning, you're only cheating yourself." I am not sure where she got this idea. She might have gotten it from a coach or her cousin who was an elite gymnast. But it has been a hallmark of her work ethic throughout her six years in gymnastics. she has always been driven by the notion that if you don't work hard, you won't get better. ' It has paid off.

I think that young gymnasts can acquire this kind of thinking and self-motivation or inspiration by watching older, truely committed and motivated gymnasts. They will see that success comes with hard work.

I've told my daughter in the past when she was training for TOPs, "We don't know how talented you are. All we can control is how hard you work. We have no room to complain if we're beat by someone who out-conditioned us." Any girl who has this mindset can only get better in gymnastics. And if she has this kind of mentality later in life, she'll succeed there, too.

Julio Garcia
Jamy Garcia's dad
 
I agree with you, Tuduri. I think it's important for older girls to be role models for the younger ones. If the "big girls" goof and off and don't work, often the younger ones will think it's okay to do it too. Unfortunately, this is often the case at my gym.
 

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