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  1. Heidi
    April 12, 2010 @ 8:50 pm

    The following is a comment thread that has been running on my facebook account in response to this post:
    Liz: Heidi- this is fantastic! I wish everyone could buy into this!

    Me: Thank you Liz. This came at a time when I have been feeling frustrated and discouraged with some things at the gym and it really reminded me to think about the big picture and the things that really matter. I have made some mistakes along the way, said things I should not have said, but in the end I am trying to hold myself and Chloe to a higher standard both personally and with others. She loves gymnastics, and whenever she is done, I still want her to love it! I was not so lucky with how I left soccer after high school and I hope the outcome for her athletic life will be different.

    Jenn: I get it Heidi! There’s a fine line between advocating and shutting your mouth. Being a parent is tough enough and when we want what’s best for our kids, we sometimes come off as being over the top. When your kid is being taunted and tormented by one of her own teammates, it’s hard not to say anything. One of Camryn’s teammates crossed her fingers yesterday and said over and over that she hoped Camryn fell so she could beat her. Well she dismounted wrong and it counted as a fall. Thank God we had a GREAT judge who didn’t count the second fall when she stumbled getting back up to re-do the dismount. She was so shaken and upset and now does not want to go back to the gym because she’s sick of getting bullied 🙁

    Me: Jenn I am so sorry to hear that! I always feel bad when I want to tell Chloe that all that crap gets better or goes away when you are older. But we all know that the truth is even as women some are still so crappy to each other. Chloe and Camryn can buddy up again next season as they will probably be in level 5 together!

    Another Jenn: Wow, I really love this Heidi! Thank you for sharing!

  2. Chelsea
    April 13, 2010 @ 12:19 pm

    Heidi – I loved this. I agree that it came at the perfect time after hearing that some negative things have been said about the gym and the coaches lately. I am starting to feel so frustrated with gymnastics and it reminds me of how much I hated the sport when I quit. Not because of the pressure that anyone put on me, but because of the pressure that I put on myself to excel and win everything. If all parents were able to follow these guidelines, I think the gymnasts (and the coaches!) would feel much more positively about the sport. Thanks for sharing this 🙂

  3. Heidi
    April 13, 2010 @ 12:32 pm

    Chelsea – yes very ironic timing. I feel very sad about whatever is going on at the gym. As usual I am the last to know, so I am not totally sure of the details, but I get the gist from Mike’s e-mail. For me it has been a personal struggle to keep myself, and Chloe focusing on her abilities and progress. I am grateful that she has seemed less discouraged than I have felt for her. It has been hard for her to see so much success in the others around her, yet not feeling like she is seeing any results from what she feels has been hard work at the gym on her part. We keep trying to remind her how hard her first year of level 4 was and then how she had much greater success her second year. We hope that will prove to be the case with level 5 as well.

    I wish as human beings we could be more supportive and less cutting. I am sorry things have been difficult for all of you at the gym. I know in the past I may have been the source of some of that, but I would like to believe that is not the case this time around. I have been making a concerted effort to be positive and stay out of so much of the drama.

  4. Mom/Ingrid
    April 14, 2010 @ 10:33 am

    These points are wonderful advice not only to enable parents to keep things in perspective, but also to pursue being a part of the solution rather than being a part of the problem at the gym. All of this advice and hurtful situations that were shared by parents brings to my mind from the scriptures what I need to be ever mindful of. Philippians 2:3-4 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interest, but also for the interests of others. I need to be intentional about this.

  5. Mark Folger
    April 16, 2010 @ 11:27 am

    Great list. I’ve coached gymnastics for over 30 years and have found the best team parents to be the ones who admit they know very little about gymnastics, and are only interested in knowing enough to appreciate their daughter’s talent. When I say “best” I mean the ones who enjoy the sport the most and create the best environment for their daughter’s success, understanding that success is relative to HER past performance (not what others do).

    Helping Chloe understand that ten years from now she won’t remember what she scored, where she placed or how many medals she won is a great lesson (one I teach my gymnasts). When my former gymnasts visit me, they talk about the people, the friends they made, and the life lessons they learned at the gym and use every day. Those are the things that will still matter in ten years.

    Drama in the gym can be eliminated if a handful of parents choose to model the behaviors from this list. It doesn’t take confrontation or assertiveness. Just lead by example.


  6. Basketball Goals
    June 6, 2010 @ 11:12 am

    Thanks for the good read. I really enjoyed it! I don’t usually comment on blogs but this one really was interesting. I will bookmark for later.

  7. deb
    August 3, 2010 @ 10:34 am

    Was looking around for a blog site for parent’s of gymnasts and came across this. So true. My daughter has been doing this a long time (going to Level 9) and all are so true. I have been guilty of violating number 17 myself. I am looking for a site that I might get some advice. My 14 year old is entering High School. All of her teammates have quit in the past 4 months, she is the only level 9 left. This is a goal she has been working towards for awhile. Deep down I have wanted her to stop b/c I felt as though she was missing out on a great deal of opportunities outside of the gym. She also has anxiety which has never impacted her in the gym up until now, but it is painful to watch her try to calm herself before setting foot in the gym. Her coach has indicated that she is training, practicing, working hard and becoming a leader for the younger girls and this is the best she has ever seen from her. Now she is saying she wants to stop-soemthing that I have thought would be good for her. But now I am torn about how to support her. I truly want her to be happy and what is best, but now that it has come down to a decision, it is very difficult. This has been her life for 9 years (and subsequently mine). Have other parents been torn and how do we know what the best/right decision, advice, support do we give? So in short I was looking for other’s that might have gone through this and what the outcome was.

  8. Nicole
    November 13, 2011 @ 1:00 pm

    Hello Heidi,

    Thanks for the great post! I am the mother of a young gymnast. She is almost five and on a demanding developmental team. The age for the girls on her team range from 4 years to 9 years old. She is the youngest and smallest one. Even at such a young age, I am already feeling the pressure of the gossip train by the other parents in the gym. It has made me really sad this week. I went searching for advice on the web, because I want to be one of the good parents who create no drama, only fun! Being a parent of a gymnast is so different than begin one of a soccer player or baseball player. I think memorizing this list and keep it close to heart will help in my journey of supporting my gymnast! Thank you!

  9. Heidi
    November 13, 2011 @ 6:03 pm

    Nicole, so glad you found this helpful. I have found it VERY helpful throughout our years with our daughter at the gym she has been there since she was 3, and she is twelve and a level 7 now. I want her to have fun, be healthy, and be a respectful human being. The pressures and clicks of the gymnastics world can be tough, but I believe in dealing correctly with it that it can be character building as well.

  10. John Howard
    August 25, 2014 @ 11:59 am

    I was doing my reading for the day yesterday and ran across an interesting and yet somehow familiar title of an article. I am John Howard of and wrote the above article (and hundreds like it). It is interesting and gratifying to see that parents have and are reading this article and rethinking their attitudes towards their gymnasts and gymnastics. Gymnastics covers and provides lifelong benefits for such a wide range of gymnasts, from Elites and Olympians to gymnasts who gain confidence, learn to be leaders and learn how to make life decisions. The benefits gained from gymnastics by the second category of gymnasts is well worth the investment of time, money and emotion. The primary deciding factor, in whether the investment is worth it, is determined by the coaches your gymnasts spend so much time with every day. Getting your daughters with the best coaches (the ones who understand gymnastics is about life lessons learned) is a parent’s prime responsibility in the sport (and after that) just follow the rules above.

    Thanks for sharing my article with others and feel free to contact me if there are ever any questions I can answer or problems I can help fix. Good luck to all of you in following “the don’t rules” and to all of your gymnasts.

  11. Heidi
    August 25, 2014 @ 12:41 pm

    John, thank you for sharing your site with us! I don’t even remember where I came across the 27 Don’ts but it made an impact on me. I am looking forward to reading other things you have written.

  12. James
    August 26, 2014 @ 4:39 pm

    I agree with most of the comments but I believe that the coaches need to remember these things as well!! It is funny how all the coaches quickly post articles like these. I believe that the coaches and the parents must focus on the goal of producing better individuals through this sport. I am adding my comments to your original statements.

    1. Don’t compare your gymnast’s progress with that of other gymnasts.(every gymnast should be treated the same as their parents are paying the same).
    2. Don’t become overly ego-involved with your gymnast’s success or lack of it. (see above)
    3. Don’t take judge’s scores too seriously, especially at the lower levels.
    4. Don’t forget the need for fun in gymnastics.(****This is where most coaches forget about the fun part)
    5. Don’t stand for unacceptable behavior from your gymnast (or coach) during practice or competitions.
    6. Don’t participate in gossip about anyone in the gymnastics community.( I have been guilty of this)
    7. Don’t interfere with coaches and their coaching duties during practice or competitions.
    8. Don’t pressure your gymnast regarding skills or competition.
    9. Don’t set unrealistic goals for your gymnast.
    10.Don’t predicate your love or attention on your gymnast’s competitive success.
    11. Don’t base your own ego or self-esteem on the success of your gymnast’s progress or competitive success (This is a big one for coaches! Every child put their time and effort into the sport and should not be ignored because another gymnast make them look good).
    12. Don’t lose your long-term perspective about the importance of your gymnast’s participation in the sport.
    13. Don’t let yourself care too deeply about your gymnast’s competition results.
    14. Don’t undercut your gymnast’s confidence in their coaches or coaching (True!).
    15. Don’t show any negative emotions while watching your gymnast practice or compete.
    16. Don’t try to make your gymnast talk with you immediately after a gymnastics meet, especially if they performed poorly.
    17. Don’t do or say anything to make your child feel guilty for the time and money you are spending on their gymnastics or any sacrifices you feel are making for them to participate in the sport.
    18. Don’t badmouth your gymnast’s coaches, your gym or other gymnasts in front of your gymnast.
    19. Don’t attempt to coach your gymnast yourself (Coaches should remember this about other coaches, gyms, parents, etc.).
    20. Don’t alienate your gymnast’s coaches.
    21. Don’t predicate your support for your gymnast’s participation in the sport on any expectation of a monetary return like receiving a college scholarship.
    22. Don’t try to recreate your own career or live out your own sports dreams through your gymnast.
    23. Don’t do anything to make enemies with other gymnast’s parents.
    24. Don’t expect anything more from your gymnast except their best effort (This is SO important)!.
    25. Don’t ever do or say anything that will cause your gymnast to think less of you (remember you are a coach).
    26. Don’t use sarcasm, threaten or use fear to try to motivate your gymnast (this goes back to 4 and violates the USAG code of ethics).
    27. Don’t expect anything more from gymnastics than physical fitness, life skills and fun for your gymnast (So true!).
    28. Remember that this is a sport and it is way for young children to get physical fitness, socialize, and be part of team. A bad coach can impact a child’s present and future through bulling or tearing down their self confidence and self esteem. A great coach builds self confidence, self esteem, and life skills.

  13. Heidi
    August 26, 2014 @ 5:18 pm

    James, I do agree that many of these are good points for coaches to keep in mind. If you read the author, John Howard’s, comment below he states, “The primary deciding factor, in whether the investment is worth it, is determined by the coaches your gymnasts spend so much time with every day.” This couldn’t be more true. You need a healthy environment both at home and at the gym as coaches and parents both play such a large role in a gymnasts life.

  14. James
    August 28, 2014 @ 9:45 am

    Heidi, So very true!

  15. Johanna Jones
    September 13, 2014 @ 11:53 am

    When is a good age to start your child? I had my daughter in lessons around age 4 and I just didn’t feel like she made any progress with anything. I felt like it was play time for her.

  16. Heidi
    September 13, 2014 @ 5:58 pm

    Johanna, I think all kids are different, and playtime is good! I started my daughter at 3 and she loved it from the start. Not only is she still doing it herself, but she coaches little ones now. If your daughter is engaged in the activities of the class she is taking (this would apply to anything) then I say go for it. If she is distracted, disruptive or inattentive then maybe she is uninterested or not yet ready. That is something you as her mom have to answer for yourself. We were never looking to raise an Olympic gymnast so we did not buy in to the worries and pressures of pushing our daughter too hard at a young age, but again that is not the right choice for everyone, it just was for us.

  17. noname here
    September 24, 2014 @ 11:00 pm

    I dont want to be rude, but when you are poor and have no job want your kid off the streets in a sport and can not afford it, but she wants it with all her heart, what you do? Let her know how hard you have to push to get the money to pay the training.
    My kid have her feet on the ground.

  18. Heidi
    September 25, 2014 @ 10:02 am

    I don’t believe you are being rude. I agree that getting kids into sports is a great way to keep them occupied. I know that at some gyms there is scholarship money available for families that need assistance. While I think it is important for our children to know the monetary cost of things, the point being made is that we shouldn’t throw that in their faces during discussions about performance. It is not about the results but about the effort they show and we shouldn’t push for results because of the monetary cost.

  19. Roseanne
    October 19, 2014 @ 5:00 am

    I think the list is helpful in many ways but also a bit unrealistic. Gymnastics is a very tough sport that requires many sacrifices from both the gymnasts and their families. Rigorous gym training schedules have meant goodbye to family holidays, birthdays, and chances to hang out, goof around and have fun together. After 8 years that adds up to a lot of missed opportunities. So parents have a right to confer and challenge aspects of the sport that don’t feel right. Coaches may fail to see the gymnast as a ‘whole person’ and tend to think short term, so I don’t think parents should just blindly hand over their child to the coach without questioning what they are doing at times, anyhow that might impact on their child’s physical and emotional wellbeing. If we get labelled as stirrers and trouble makers, so be it!

    Whilst the sport has many positive aspects, the very nature of the sport can be negative compared to other sports (they are marked by deduction). Asking parents and coaches not to compare gymnasts is disingenuous when the nature of the sport demands that gymnasts are compared against each other all the time – in team selection, in training and in competitions.

    The long term effects on the growing body and risk of permanent injury are important for gymnasts and their parents to consider when contemplating their continuation in the sport at senior level, so weighing up the potential gains versus the sacrifices is part of the equation. I would like this sport to be an investment in my child’s active future – not the end to it (as it was for my friend).
    So is it realistic to ask parents not to do these comparisons and consider the results of competitions to determine if it is ‘worth it’?.
    We are at a crossroads with a level seven gymnast who is struggling to balance the demands of her sport with other things. She wants to continue, admittedly mainly for social reasons (her team-mates are the centre of her social world), but this now means giving up another sport in which she is doing really well and enjoys. She is torn and stressed and anxious about disappointing both sets of coaches who are pressuring her. A niggling injury is now interfering with all other activities and the hours of training are impacting negatively on academic work. I want her to be able to enjoy doing normal kids things without guilt, but always there are sideways glances if she arrives late or misses training and this feeling that gymnastics always has to come first. Why?.
    Parents should have the opportunity to question, again, without guilt whether the sport is ‘worth’ the sacrifices, the child’s happiness is paramount (both short and long term) , and like it or not, their performance at competition is a part of that equation.
    So many blogs are about ‘my child wants to quit – how do I get them to continue’. Am I alone out there in feeling ‘this is all too much, it can’t be good for these kids, how do I get my child out’ ??. At times I feel I have lost her to a cult!!

  20. The List of Don’t For Gymnastic Parents | Gymnastics News Network.
    November 12, 2014 @ 12:01 pm

    […] Here are the 27 things parents of gymnasts should avoid doing so they don’t interfere with…READ MORE […]

  21. Sabrina
    January 17, 2015 @ 9:28 am

    I think this is a great list to start with and build off of. It is a reminder to those who live through their children and put unrealistic pressure on them. I am not going to say I am guilty of breaking several of those rules because I elaborated on them! My daughter is 9 and spends 20 hours a week in the gym with someone other than me. This person is responsible for the safety of my child, her confidence, her work ethics, her state of mind, her physical well being, and her personality development. I want to know EXACTLY what the coach does. Not in terms of skills-that is not my area of expertise and I don’t claim for it to be. But when I am investing thousands of dollars a year, and my daughter is being shaped by someone other than me, I want to be kept informed! We expect that from a school so why should this be any different?! I also expect to be able to talk to coaches about her and find out what the goals are for her without being made to feel like I am being an interfering mom and ignored. Now, having said all of that, it doesn’t mean that I should be rude to the coaches and there are many that are. I am not going to say my daughter is the best and deserves more attention and have an attitude about it, but I espect coaches to be fair and not play favorites. I do talk to my daughter about her coaches and what a good coach should be like. If she is going to survive in this world (with or without gymnastics), she needs to know how to choose people who bring out the best in her without demeaning and belittling her. I will not apologize for this. BUT I do not interfere with the skill side of it. We are at a new gym due to relocation and I spoke with the new coach before moving. I made it clear in a very nice way that MY job is her state of mind. MY job is to make sure that she feels secure and safe physically AND emotionally. I am looking for him to teach her the skills she needs to learn and keep me in informed of her progress and goals for her. Thankfully he felt the same way I did. Trust me when I say that it was all VERY friendly but I am giving you the gyst of it. We basically interviewed each other. The last gym burned us so much that I NEEDED to stand up for my daughter (and me) before it turns bad. It is no different than me interviewing a school. When I ask him how she is doing, he asks me how I think she is doing. So far I always answer the same: I see her confidence building, new friends are becoming good friends and she is coming out of her shell. THAT is what makes me happy. THAT is what she needed. She still loves gymnastics So he is definitely do something right

  22. Heidi
    January 17, 2015 @ 10:07 am

    You are an awesome mom Sabrina! I totally get where you are coming from. We just recently had some issues come up at the gym that I wouldn’t have known about (because my daughter didn’t tell me) but her coach was sure to get in touch with me and let me know so we could work on a plan of action TOGETHER! I am not in the gym often as I trust them to do their part and communicate with me as needed. I was so thrilled that they did, thus keeping my trust in tact.

  23. Sabrina
    January 17, 2015 @ 11:25 am


  24. Leanne
    October 20, 2015 @ 9:17 am

    I would like to add one thing to the list and that is this. Don’t spend to much time ‘motivating’ your gymnast to go to the gym or pay attention. If you are having to ‘motivate’ them on a regular basis then perhaps it is time to re-evaluate their love for the sport (i.e. are they doing it for them or you). Maybe time to take some time off and let them try something else.

  25. patti
    April 9, 2016 @ 10:48 am

    Wish i would have read this 22 years ago when my daughter was competing. Parents of gymnasts today i emplore you to read this and take it seriously.

  26. Emily
    May 21, 2016 @ 2:50 pm

    Thank you for so much for making this. I have finished artistic gymnastics now, but have moved onto tranpoline and tumbling! I really feel the need to show this to my mom after the last meet I just had! I love my parents but unfortunately they told me before the last competition I had, that having fun with my friends is not what they pay for. They said I should have more fun winning first place than watching and cheering on all my teammates. After I had a not so successful meet, my mom ignored me for the ride home. My parents still don’t understand, and I don’t have the nerve to show them this blog, but I really appreciate knowing that I’m not the only one out there that feels this way. I hope one day they can just look back upon that moment and know that although they payed a lot for the sport, the whole point wasn’t just to win, it was to learn great life lessons, and make wonderful friends, and learn how to cooperate with a team 🙂 thank you again!

  27. Heidi
    May 25, 2016 @ 1:06 pm

    Emily, I am so sorry you have felt this way about your parents. I know I have made many of those mistakes myself as a parent and I try each day to be sure I am working to create a positive environment for my daughter. She has now completed her final competition and is hanging up her grips. It was a tough moment for her but she has taken so many awesome life lessons and traits away from her years a competitive gymnast. Hang in there, the sport will fade, the life long lesson will not. 🙂

  28. Leila Sidhu
    August 12, 2016 @ 12:32 pm

    I’m a gymnast myself and all I have to say I’d that my parents go against all of those rules.

  29. 27 Dont’s… | GSG USAG
    September 1, 2016 @ 12:41 am

  30. paula
    September 1, 2016 @ 12:45 am

    Beautifully written this should be passed out for every youth sport league.

  31. For the love of gymnastics
    January 23, 2017 @ 1:56 am

    I am so glad I read this article! I was son frustrated hearing the parents at this last competition when they scored so much higher than my son as he is a sole team member. He had just received all new routines less than a week before competition and actually forgot parts of all his routines. While another team member from who is a level below my son continues to make it a competition who goal is to pass up my sons level to be better than him . So my son basically has no team mates. Also the other boys family member is a coach so he has exclusive use tonrexeive free private lessons in the gym to excel quicker. the entire process had me just wanting to pull my so. Due to the pure unnecessary stress it is causing and completely forgot about his long term goals with gymnastics. Due to the self esteem Crushing gym members are causing on him
    after competition. I ask myself is it really worth it ? Can he just do recreational gymnastics and compete when he is older so he can just enjoy the sport again ?
    To bring a child to competition after competition to never receive any recognition also can be harmful over the years. I don’t want him receiving medals for getting lower scores as getting s medal for non achievement is harmful as well. But when team mates come back with medals and it’s questioned to him “did you get medals , how did you score” and time again he has to say answer no I didn’t get any etc.. I feel is creating a harmful environment as well. If there were other gyms with larger teams with upper levels so he could develop better teammates I believe would create a healthier environment.
    Also there are other competors down on the floor suringncompetition saying things like , ” you will never win , no one ever beats us, we’re the best .” ..(i.e.: gyms from Tampa And Sarasota Florida)
    Over all I think all gymnastic parents should read this article and agree to Try and follow these 27 ideas as they could save a lot of heartache. because most competitive gymnastic parents out there are destroying the sport for other gymnasts and parents!! Bragging and going crazy waiting the couple minutes for a score to log it in your journal it obnoxious!
    the bragging gymnasts and their rude comments is almost a form of bullying that should only be tolerated so long by Usag before disciplinary action is taken against the gymnasts being so hurtful.
    Thank you to all that have destroyed it for my son!!
    Who has said for over a year that he hates gymnastics now, – but while he was at another gym he atleast loved no matter how he scored because he had supportive teammates that he does not have anymore . We are now pulling from the sport .

  32. Heidi
    January 23, 2017 @ 11:25 am

    I am so sorry to hear about your experience. Finding the right gym and atmosphere can really make a huge difference in your child’s experience.

  33. Ted
    July 5, 2017 @ 1:51 pm

    We have a gymnast that does not want to compete anymore and wants to quit, she is torn with loosing her friends at the gym. She has done very well at meets and State and now just wants to walk away.
    She is a 12 year old USAG level 8.
    Any thoughts?

  34. Heidi
    July 10, 2017 @ 7:13 pm

    That is always a tough question. Chances are she will lose the bonds she has created at the gym, not intentionally, but she will no longer be there with them. It is hard to maintain “sports bound” relationships when the sport is no longer a connecting factor. I would definitely explore why she wants to quit. There might be something else to it that can be resolved and allow her to continue.

  35. Steve Kephart
    August 29, 2017 @ 4:07 pm

    Another one. Don’t go out in the gym and give advice or tell other kids how to do a skill or tell the coach so and so didn’t do all conditioning. Keep your mouth shut and stay in observation area

  36. L Klebesadel
    October 24, 2017 @ 7:08 pm

    Words of wisdom to live by..❤️

  37. Lexi Moore
    February 21, 2018 @ 6:19 pm

    Very true. I loved this so much, I’ll make sure I’m aware of these

  38. Arlene
    March 11, 2018 @ 2:05 pm

    One thing I would add is, if your gymnast feels discouraged and wants to quit, explain to them that they owe it to themselves and their team to finish the season. This happened with our gymnast and I explained this to her and not only was she happy she finished, she also continued in the years after. At the age of 29, she now says these were the happiest of her childhood memories.

  39. Chris
    April 4, 2018 @ 5:32 am

    I am an exgymnast, the parent of a gymnast and a coach. I have struggled on different points at different times in my life as well as my daughter.
    We have both taken decisions separately to quit the same gym this year.

    In my younger days of being a gymnast I apparently showed promise but my parents like many others struggled to make ends meet and we put up with a lot of nonsense sometimes phsyical from other kids who were well off. My parents didn’t drive and very often unless my coach got involved with organising transport the others would not offer even if asked and sometimes ‘forget to pick us up’ on the way to comp.

    I am almost 50 now so this was quite sometime ago. Anyway after my parents were not in a position to help fund my gym career after I was selected to train in a performance pathway I did eventually drop out after taking some time to help coach the little ones.

    In my late teens I took up coaching again and did trampolining in the evening ending up having an accident and no more gym for me at that time.

    Fast forward to 3/4 years ago my daughter after not being interested in gym for years and not for me trying, I know….. decided she wanted to do gym. So I enrolled her in the best club around or so I thought.

    Initially she went into a 2hr general class and flew. Then she started talking about wanting to do comp and loved watching the older girls practice their floor routines. Now I know that coaches like to identify their own potential in gymnasts but I decided to let them know my daughter was interested and could they have a look at her. She was about 8 yrs then and tall for her age , which they did and offered her a 3 month trial in a squad training 4hrs per week. After the first week they confirmed her place and wondered why they had not noticed her before….

    For me spending that time back in the emvironment was all it took and I volunteered as a assistant coach. I was placed in her group which was ok at that level. The kids and the parents liked me and it was all good. My daughter would work with the other coaches where possible and there were no problems.. In her first competition she medalled in one piece and she scored so well overall she jumped two levels. However the gym owner/manager, not her coach said she would not be moving her but gave no reason other than she was still new.

    Time went on, her friends all moved up following the competition results and she stayed with our group. She kept working and I know she was frustrated the new kids in the group were only 6.yrs old and her old peer group trained on different nights but she carried on as did I.

    Eventually 6 months after that comp she was moved one level up. I was informed that I would be moving with her and that the reason for the delay was they had wanted me to stay with the original group but they could now accommodate me too. I have never heard of holiding a child back for this reason before, and thought how selfish the club was for doing this. If they had spoken to me I could have arranged something but they did not give me the option. I explained that we were not a package deal and even suggested that we do not continue in the same group but this was not an option for them so I moved groups with her again.

    She continued to excel and her teammates who initially were happy that she rejoined them started to not be so happy. She then did what I can only describe as dumbed down her skills for a while bit then she realised this was not the way to go. Looking back I should have left then or did something but I didn’t I was so wrapped up in being a coach again and was working on and paying for my WAG Level 1 qualification.

    Again another coach went on mat leave and I was left with the group to run on my own. We trained, we went to comp, we won and then the club restructure.
    Any girls over 10yrs were moved up a group and the younger ones moved into full WAG even of they had not competed. A lot of families left the gym.
    My daughter at that point asked me what more did she need to do to show she was dedicated, lived and breathed gym and wanted to go as high as she could. I didn’t know how to answer her. I was lost myself at some of the upcoming changes however when I queried them I was told I need to be seen supporting club change, positive outlook to parents and tough luck that I have a gymnast at club. Which I get to a certain point.

    Again we were moved to the same group as it suited the club, no senior coach again for the group. I was there to be mentored not lead, the kids were there to learn skills that I wasn’t yet comfortable teaching and the kids saw me as my daughter’s mother, a caretaker looking after the group.

    Finally a new coach came in and I was excited again. He was a hit with the girls and the Mums and brought in another gymnast from his old club who became good friends with my daughter. Initially it was great, then it changed, I felt constantly undermined, no respect from the team bar 2 newer kids I lost confidence in myself. The parents view was they saw me as pushing my own child however this was so far from the truth. We never discussed gym outside nor did I coach her privately as it did not work we would fight. She was not given the same floortime to practice her routine and was expected to train the same level of skills as the others because they were not ready and it would seem unfair. Again I should have made the mature decision to leave the group but I didn’t want to put my coaching career at risk, selfish I know.. He did not want to be seen as giving my daughter any particular attention so he pretty much ignored here during the sessions as I had been advised to do which was not good for her/us. Eventually a situation arose which ended up in a parent entering the gym and screaming at me and at my daughter over floor routines and no one stepped into help or support me. I made a complaint to the club and one of the other owners who was away a lot took it seriously and the situation was dealt with properly however it did have a detrimental effect and the damage was done in the kids eyes – if it was ok for their parents to treat me like this then it was ok for them.

    At this time I handed in my notice to but this owner asked me not to. He said I was a great coach, and that I just needed a different group and they should have done this a lot time ago. So I stayed. By then I was doing my WAG Level 2 and was given my own group of The youngest Development gymnasts (WAG babies) to begin their experience in the WAG world which I love.
    My daughter who loves tumbling was invited to step in for a competition in something called TeamGym which she loved, they won gold and was invited to join this squad.. By now she was training 5 times a week between this and women’s 4 piece. She competed 6 TG comp and the team took gold in all six. She competed in 1 4piece and took 4th overall in her age group, none of her team mates medalled or performed well.

    Then the club had another restructure and told her to choose between disciplines. Advised by the Head coach that she would follow a performance pathway in TeamGym and additional hours she jumped at the chance. We were both happy. But you guessed it not for long.
    4 months later the club again went through another restructure again focussing on the younger ones for development and cut the TeamGym hours and put a cap on their skill level. My daughter is 12 she is the youngest in the TeamGym group who’s are all 14/15 +. The next group down is 10 years but because they don’t have any others in age for her to compete with that’s it for her. Dropping her training to 2x2hr per week. What a blow.

    We took the decision to look around and see what else was out there. Each Gymclub she did an assessment with offered her a place with them for different disciplines.

    Happy to say beginning this week she joins an elite tumbling squat (Fig level) so we shall see where this takes her.

    I’m so proud of her for keeping going, she has never lost her good heart and her sportsmanship.

    For me one more spin on the wheel of fortune, one of the owners, the one who didn’t move my daughter up because of me has decided to revamp the women’s program again and she wants to take the WAG babies again as she misses it so I now have no group. I decided It was time for me to leave too so fresh starts all round.

    During this time I have also been building up recreational classes in my own hometown for kids that don’t have the same advantages or as many choices, we are about to relaunch the club, with a new name, more classes, an affordable club kit and a new display squad just for starters. It took me a long time to get back here and I’m excited again about the future and I’m going to be sticking as closely as I can to those rules above as well as encouraging my colleagues, my gymnasts and their parents to do the same.

    There is so much more I haven’t said and yes there are 2 sides to every story, I have tried to be as open about what happened without writing every single situation that arose there, I still keep in contact with some of the other coaches at the club. They gave me the opportunity to get back into coaching and then things changed. I have so many if only’s but lessons learned and we move on.
    Kids really only require love, acceptance, trust and belief in their abilities to succeed and be the best at whatever they chose in life. That way they learn to treat others in the same way and so on.
    I believe parents should help create opportunities then it’s up to the child to make it work for them.
    Unfortunately the club didn’t have my child’s best interests at heart, so it was not right for us.
    I now hope that my daughter is able to fly as high as she wants to go in her new club while I continuing coaching somewhere else.

  40. Heidi
    April 4, 2018 @ 9:27 am

    That is quite the story! Your daughter certainly had to learn grit and follow through the had way. Hopefully you will both look upon this as a journey and see that each thing (good or bad) led you to another experience and new lessons learned. Thank you for sharing.

  41. Dying Inside
    August 7, 2018 @ 9:47 pm

    I need a support group for parents who, generally followed most of the 27 rules, but when the senior year L10 came around, broke every rule. My dd is that senior L10. I, admittedly, am that awful mom. I don’t know how to fix it. I’ve heard it’s like a death in the family and you have to go through the grieving process. I think that is true. But I’ve got to find a way to get through those phases without affecting my daughter and our relationship. She is a strong qualifier for L3 college gymnastics. We (me) have done so much over the summer to get to this point. Setting up trips for Sept. Doing professional videos and websites. Developing close relationships with all the coaches. And all was fine. Then dd, who is very frustrated right now because she’s had to battle injuries, has just about completely come to the conclusion she’s not going to do college. I am so devastated. And I recognize I’m in the wrong. It’s her life, not mine. I shouldn’t live through her. But, here it is. Reality. I think what bothers me so much is that her entire high school years, she had injuries. Yet she achieved Team Captain 3 years, made it to L10 despite the injuries, stayed and continued and battled back when any other kid would have quit. And here she is, at the finish line, with a chance to get the rewards of all her hard work. She would be able to compete finally. She would be on that podium, receiving the joy and rewards she didn’t get during high school. It’s like she’s at the finish line and a pot of gold is one step away and she won’t take it. So, thinking this way, you can imagine how it is hard for me to accept and be a good parent. Anyone know others that have gone through this? I’m drowning and I’m going to end up with her hating me.

  42. Heidi
    August 8, 2018 @ 11:32 am

    I am so sorry you are struggling. It is so hard as parents to give and give and give and then have your child seemingly give it all up and go another way. You have to decide as her mom how hard to push and if it’s worth it. I know with my daughter she knew herself better than anyone and I let her compete after an injury that left most parents thinking I shouldn’t, but she wanted to finish, and she did. With dignity and grace she was able to finish competing through her senior year, not at the level she would have wanted, but with everything she had left. It was so hard for her to walk away, but she did it on her terms, which in the end I felt was important because ultimately she has to live with her decisions and outcome. She is permanently damaged from the many years of pounding on her body, and is uncomfortable every day, not because of the last bad injury, but because of the years of pounding. I know that hind site would have had me pulling back with her, but I also know that she wouldn’t change it. She coaches now. She loves the sport, she just can’t do it herself anymore.

  43. The Playground Ninja Kid
    December 15, 2018 @ 9:23 am

    Nice read, not just for gymnastics parents, but for all parents of kids in sports. Someone should come up with a list of don’ts for parents when their child wants to quit the sport. Why is there so much pressure on kids? Why is it not enough to just want kids to have fun in sport, then stop when it’s not fun for them anymore? Parents want it more for themselves than for their kids.

  44. Heidi
    December 18, 2018 @ 4:26 pm

    That is so true! Why do we push them so hard? It would be great if parents could step back and reason out if it is really for them or for their kids.

  45. Alexis
    July 6, 2021 @ 12:33 am

    I find the gym moms at my gym to be saying things they shouldn’t

    “I’m so excited for state!”
    I have heard some mom’s say this, It bugs me for some reason.
    I feel the Parent should be their for support and to be their for if they need someone to lean on.
    Anything more and it becomes to much pressure
    As a gymnast we already have a lot of pressure
    To have pressure from parents as well, It makes it 10x worse
    Involve in as little as possible

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