The Ten Commandments for Parents

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Geoffrey Taucer

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Saw this in a local newspaper article about swimming, and it definitely struck a chord with me (and I suspect it will strike a similar chord with most competetive coaches).

I'm posting this partially in jest, but I also think there are many parents in this sport who would do well to take this sort of thing to heart.


1. Thou shalt not impose thy ambitions on thy child
2. Thou shalt be supportive no matter what
3. Thou shalt not coach thy child
4. Thou shalt have only positive things to say at a meet
5. Thou shalt acknowledge thy child's fears
6. Thou shalt not criticize the officials
7. Honor thy child's coach
8. Thou shalt be loyal and supportive of thy team
9. Thy child shalt have goals besides winning
10. Thou shalt not expect thy child to become an Olympian
This is great for parents!! I just want to know if there is one for coaches, because after reading posts from coaches here (you guys are great:D). I now see how a good coach deals with parents and gymnasts to help them suceed. I have met a few in my dd's short time in this sport that could certianly use a little dose of reality.
I wonder if #2 was written by a coach. :)

I've seen both parents and coaches who don't deserve support (respect?)--unsafe methods, abusive personalities--but usually that means it's time to find another gym that'll be a better fit.
That's great. My parents and I were just talking about how they can't even stand to sit next to th eother parents at meets because they are so negative and harsh. We even have a joke with one of the coaches-my parents will hold a seminar for the parents about being supportive, etc. and I'll have one for the gymnasts about attitude and"love of the game" type things! :)
I agree with these & think it pertains to baseball/football/basketball as well.... (& any other sports I suppose - those are just ours) I have seen so much happen in all... not so much in gymnastics just yet... we are lucky to have some really great parents/kids in our group!:D
I copied it and fwd'd it to our Compulsory coordinator and Head Coach, both will get a laugh out of it. We have a few parents that it pertains to 100%! One parents who curses when her daughter falls or doesn't get the score she feels she should! It's awful and I feel bad for the gymnast on the way home. :(

Maybe posting these in our competetive lobby will help them understand what's expected!

Thanks for posting it! :)

PS: yes, I've invited both of them to here, not sure if they have signed up or not.
Was just looking through old posts and thought this was worth revisiting. Great post Taucer
Of course I like that! But like the real 10 commandments they are all going to be broken all the time! :p
Sign over the viewing area...

Attention All Employees: Any parent who contracts parentightis must wear the following equipment at all times on the premises and at competitions....Bridle, sleep mask for the eyes, ear plugs. Please note: Severe infections may require a straight jacket and leg restraints to enhance the effectiveness of the equipment mentioned above.

Parents: Symptoms include zealous interest in gymnasts who are not your kids.
I met a lot of parents this summer at Camp Woodward that could stand to read this. That was an interesting experience. I went to camp with my 9 year old because she has food allergies and I wanted her to be able to eat safely (didn't happen even with me there). Most of the other parents that were there were there to micromanage their child and every minute of their time. I felt so out of place because I don't obsess over the gymnastics skills of my child compared to others.

Those were worth bumping up to read again. Thanks.

Just wondering has there ever been the 10 commandments for coaches posted?
I wonder what a coach or gym could do to help encourage some of these (particularly in new parents).

For example, I think I fail at Number 5. It’s not that I don’t want to acknowledge her fears, but when she says something like “it’s really scary doing a flyaway…â€￾ (which she is just starting to train), I want to encourage her to keep trying despite the fear, and it’s hard to know what to say.

As for Number 9, I am doing much better at it this year, and it is 100% thanks to Pickle’s amazing coach who spoke to both of us about our goals for the year (me as the parent and check writer and her as the athlete). NOWHERE in the conversation did winning come up. Achieving skills, learning to handle disappointments without crying, making friends were all discussed.
From: The Ten Commandments for Gymnstics Parents

The Ten Commandments
For Gymnastics Parents

1. Thou shalt not impose your ambitions on the child.
Remember that gymnastics is your child's activity and she will progress at her own speed. It can never be a positive thing when a parent is forcing a child to do a sport that she does not want to do. The best part about gymnastics is that it does not matter whether you finish first or last, rather the wonderful lessons each girl will learn as she strives to do her best.
2. The shalt be supportive no matter what.
There is only one question to ask you child. "Did you have fun?" If meets and practice are not fun, your daughter shound not be forced to practice.
3. Thou shalt not coach your child.
You have taken your child to a professional coach. Do not undermine that coach by trying to coach your child on the side. Your role is to support, love and hug your daughter no matter. The coach is responsible for the technical part of the job. You should not offer advice on technique or skill selection. That is not your area. This will not only serve to confuse your child and prevent that gymnast/coach bond from forming.
4. Thou shalt only have positive things to say at competitions.
If you are going to attend a gymnastics meet you should cheer and applaud but never criticize your daughter or her coach.
5. Thou shalt ackmowledge they child's fears.
It is a normal human reaction for a child to be scared when attempting new skills or competing. Do not yell or belittle your daughter, just assure her that her coach would not have her arrempt the skill or put her in the competition is she was not ready for it.
6. Thou shalt not criticize the judges.
There is much more to judging than you think and each judge has had to pass a test to do what she/he does. There are many routine requirements that the general spectator is completely unaware of that certainly have a factor on the final score. No one is perfect, but it is without question that they know more than you.
7. Honor thy child's coach.
The bond between the coach and gymnast is a special one, and one that contributes to your child's success as well as enjoyment. Do not criticize her coach in her presence because it will only add to the many deistractions she must already deal with during her gymnastics training and performance.
8. Thou shalt not jump from club to club.
The floor exercise carpet always seems bluer at another gym. Every team has its own internal problems, even teams that build champions. Children who switch from gym to gym are often ostracized by teammates they leave behind. Often times, gymnast who do switch teams never do better than they did before they sought the 'bluer carpet'. However one club will not please everyone and you need to find the club where you will fit best.
9. Thou shalt have goals besides winning.
Encourage your daughter to do her best. Giving an honest effort no matter what the outcome is much more important than winning.
10. Thou shalt not expect thy child to become an Olympian.
There are 71,649 athletes participating in competitive gymnastics. There are only 7 spots available for the Olympic Team every four years. Your child's odds of becoming on Olympian are 1 in 149,030. You can understand how difficult it is to become an Olympian becuase the odds are you have never been one yourself even though you, as a child, probably wanted to be. Gymnastics is much more than Olympics! Chances are your daughter's coach was not an Olympian, but still received enough out of gymnastics that they want to pass their love for the sport onto others. Gymnastics teaches so much so many virtures while building self-esteem, life long friendships and much more. Olympians will tell you that these intangibles far outweigh any medals they may have won. Gymnastics builds good people and you should be happy that your child wants to participate.

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