Gymnasts Quitting

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orlyyec

Gymnast
Pretty recently (about three months ago) a new coach came to my gym. Before she came I was pretty happy. Now i feel sick whenever im at gym or about to go. I love my other coach that i had before and still have, just dont have her all the time. Our gym changed a lot. Every day which coach we have rotates, so you never know who you’re gonna get. Whenever im with my nice coach practice goes fine, but when im with the other, practice is horrible. I often get picked on or critized by this coach, which makes me have pannic attacks or just break down. I am just coming back from a big knee injury so i dont have all my skills anymore, and she pushes us really hard. She makes us do pretty hard and scary skills like a whole bar routine for a warmup. (Im a level 8 btw)
Ive been thinking about quitting because many of my teamates have quit, i do not wanna compete anymore at all in gymnastics, and im tired of feeling so stressed and scared over a sport. I will not move gyms because the next closest is far away. I still do love to tumble, and i absolutely adore my teammates. Lastly, im wondering if i should leave bc my friend group goes to my gym and we’re all on the same level so it seems scary to leave them and it feels wrong. Any ideas on what i should do? Ive been thinking about trying dive and cheer.
 
Sometimes taking a break or switching sports is better. I think you should take the opportunity to try the other sports you are interested in. You should not force yourself to stay if you are generally unhappy during practices and it is taking a physical or mental toll on your health, even for your friends. You can still talk to them outside of the gym and plan to hang out.
 
@Mthegymqueen
Thank you so much for the advice! The only reason I’m also second guessing is cause I’m not fully sure I wanna quit, part of me is still attached to the sport.
 
Do you feel it would be worthwhile speaking with your parents and having a meeting with gym management regarding how you are feeling at training - especially in light of the fact that others have left.
Maybe this coach is being unfair or perhaps they have higher expectations and you are not used to that and their communication method comes across as un-caring. Currently the coach and yourself are not on the same wavelength - I think a discussion is in order to try and remedy the situation.
 
I agree that it's a good idea to talk to your parents. If you find it hard, you could try writing down what you want to say.
You're important, and if a coach is making you feel less about yourself then that's a big problem. Perhaps Pineapple_Lump is right that it's just a communication problem, but perhaps not. Either way, I think you should never stay in a situation where somebody is treating you so poorly. Not at gym, not in a relationship, just not at all. Either it gets fixed by talking with the coach, or the gym finding a solution where you get to train with another coach, or you leave, or some other solution. But please don't stay if you feel you're not treated well.

I do hope you can find a way to stay in the sport in a healthier environment, because it sounds like you love the sport.
 
@Pineapple_Lump I could see talking to my coaches and the mean coach herself potentially helping, but I feel like in the long run it really wouldn’t do much. Many other girls who have left have talked to them about it, and the nice coach talks to the mean one about it. This mean coach has told us that she doesn’t care if she’s mean or anything. She shows favoritism towards her old gymnasts on her old team, and yet is still mean to them. I’m thinking of trying out some new sports, and if I like them I’ll make a decision from there.
 
It can be hard to walk away from something that has been a part of your life for a long time and that has given you much joy. Sometimes though, you just know when you are ready to move on. It's empowering enough to realize this but also in taking the next (scarier) step and actually moving on. I'm a huge believer of when one door closes, another one opens. I love that you already have a plan for other sports to try (and gymnasts often do very in diving, cheer and pole vaulting!).

As far as knowing if now is the time...this is harder to figure out. Sounds like you are asking yourself the right questions. It also sounds like you have been consciously considering this for a few months so it's not a rash decision. Can you talk to your parents or another trusted adult in your life? Is the mean coach situation temporary (just for L8)? If the mean coach were to leave tomorrow would that solve all your problems or do you still have some doubts staying in the sport?

I love the advice you've received from others, especially @Pineapple_Lump and their suggestion of involving your parents and a possible meeting with the gym.
 
@NutterButter The mean coach is not temporary. The other coaches apparently really like her so i believe she’s here to stay. She coaches from level 6 up to 10, so I would not get to get away from her. If she were to leave tomorrow though, it would fix a lot of my problems, although not the problem that I don’t feel mentally prepared for comps and all that stress, and I also believe I would still have bad anxiety just from the skills instead of a coach. One more reason I’m tempted to stay at gym is because it definitely keeps me in shape. I love to be strong and feel strong, so by working out at gym it definitely helps that and I’m scared if I leave I will lose lots of strength.
 
That all makes sense. It's a bummer that the mean coach is permanent. If you decide to stay you will have to work out your relationship with them (and this goes back to @Pineapple_Lump suggestion of a meeting). L8 is a big step up in skills and many athletes experience fear and frustration for the first time. This is totally normal. You mentioned you are coming back from a big injury and that alone can make athletes feel frustrated and anxious. Combine that with a new mean coach and a new competition level and I can see why you are questioning the sport.

If you quit, your strength will change but since you already have an idea of other sports to try I think you will be OK. Divers do alot of dry land strength training and cheer requires a certain level of fitness too. You can always add in pilates or crossfit classes too (my DD retired from gymanstics and finds that pilates gives a similar feeling to gymnastics).
 
A new coach can change the dynamics. If you feel you still want to stay, consider doing so. I know it’s not easy. My experience is coaches come and go. You don’t want one coach ruining your sport. Your dream.
 
Any other gyms in the area? I know you don't want to leave your teammates and your other coach, but if you want to stay in the sport you might want to consider your other options.
 
You have added more context and had more great advice. It does sound like somewhat of a messy situation, with a coach coming to the club with gymnasts who clearly work in a different way and have different standards of gymnastics, respect and treatment.

I would advise a meeting regardless of your decision. I know you feel it won't make a difference, and it sounds like you are leaning towards leaving - but if others have raised the same concerns and you also add your voice to the discussion then that only helps in validating the next athlete who has issues but wants to continue the sport they love. It shouldn't have to take many voices for change but sometimes it does.
 

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