Sunday, November 28, 2010

Q & A Gym Mom to Gym Mom / Coach

This was a great question I got from one of my readers, it could have been written by me 10 years ago!  I decided to reprint it (with permission) because I think so many of us as parents have been in this spot ourselves.

Thanks for the great question.  

Hi !
Here is my situation.  L is my gymnast.  Always has been very good motor skills, very, very physical and utterly fearless. She tried gymnastics starting last spring.  It was a class where the parent was the spotter, which made me more relaxed.  It also meant I could help her to remain focused.  I didn't really have to say much to do that, but I think my just being there did.  This fall they decided to move her up to a new level because she is ability wise beyond that class she was in.  but this has meant a new coach and parents are not on the floor. The new coach has a much quieter personality and L is not as engaged.  Also the sequences that they are supposed to remember are long and seem to be more than I would reasonably expect a 3 year old to retain.  Ex:  crawl through the tunnel to the incline, do a straddle roll, run to the tumble track, jump on each of the dots, forward roll into the ball pit, slide out.  She seems unable to remember the sequence so she might do tunnel, skip the straddle, jump the track and go down the slide.  Also they are working on their own and not spotted until they get to the beam or the Uneven Bars.  Also the warm up routine varies weekly in this class and L definitely craves routine. She had the warm-up down cold in her old class and this one keeps changing up. Do you think it would be pushy to bring these concerns to the owner (who was also L's former coach?)  I know that her present coach is new to the gym and I don't want to cause any problems but I want my daughter to be safe and confident.
Thanks and sorry for being so long winded! :-)  L

Hi L,
I love your email!  I guess first things first:  pre-school gymnastics always looks a lot like herding cats to me no matter who is coaching!  It is never as chaotic in reality as it LOOKS.  Both of my older daughters have done pre-school classes, I coach kids 6 and older.  
The first think I would do is to ask the new coach if you could talk to her privately, (away from the other parents) after class, and explain your concerns in terms of your daughters age possibly being an issue.  Not that that is the whole picture but people (coaches) are more receptive to “helping” your child than feeling like you are criticizing them and their job.  Being new her coach may just be trying to find her groove.
“L seems to be having a problem remembering what she is supposed to be doing in the circuit, and in warm-ups. I am wondering how we can help her with that.”  
Maybe your daughter can be put between two older kids who she can watch for reminders, which is something I tell my gymnasts to do, watch the person in front of you for clues and if I have kids with attention problems I put them behind a kid I know will remember the instructions.  Our warm ups and conditioning are always the same, and after about the second week I start asking the kids “what do we do next?”  Sometimes I have kids who have a hard time paying attention or tend to slack be my leaders and demonstrators that added incentive can bring miraculous results.
If after your chat you do not see any changes, I would absolutely talk to the gym owner.  Don’t ever let the fear of being labeled a “Pushy Gym Mom” keep you from advocating (respectfully) for your child.   We are all labeled that from the moment we submit payment for the class!  ; )
 I hope this helps!  Please keep me posted.

Powered by Blogger