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Old 10-04-2012, 02:11 PM   #1
npmommie
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Sports parents...........another wwyd....re: gymnastics

I am debating having a conversation with dd's gymnastics coach and want some input on if I should or not. so my dd has developed a fear of the vault. she had an accident where her hand placement was off and she whacked her back good. it was bruised. The vault is the level 6 vault if anyone is familiar with gymnastics........anyway since the mishap she has had the fear and is getting spotted and when not spotted wont do it. she has been in tears at the gym i found out. so on Tuesday when I picked her up I could tell something was wrong when she got in the car. she said they worked on vault and she wouldn't do it and got upset. so I asked how the coach was helping her thru this. she said she will only give ONE spot and then tells her to "just go for it". and that is it. nothing
else. no other training technique, just" go for it."
to me it feels ripe for her having an accident, because she is hesitating and when she hesitates she can't make the vault. she could hurt herself. and I know gymnastics is a lot of mental, and the coach told me she has confidence that dd can do this vault. but something about all this is not sitting well with me. would you have a conversation? I was going to suggest more spots until she is confident in her hand placement and a different training technique that I know they do at another gym. until she is confident she will get her hands placed right.
I just don't feel that just telling her to "do it" is good coaching. any opinions?
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Old 10-04-2012, 02:25 PM   #2
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Well, I can kind of see the coaches point. Gymnastics is an individual sport, so the kids have to learn to "do it" themselves. No spotting allowed in competition, so I can see that maybe the coach is thinking that spotting all the time will create a dependence which, when competition time rolls around, will mean that the kid won't be able to do it.

(I wasn't a gymnast, but a figure skater and the training methods are much the same. We were told to "do it" regardless of the fear because that was the only choice. We had to be able to do things without help during competition and if we couldn't master the fear, then we were in big trouble. And you can't even spot in skating.)

Anyway. The coach could also be viewing this as a "make or break it" type thing. Your DD will either learn to deal with the fear, or not. For the coach, it may be the thing that separates her from the other kids and sort of pushes her out of the program. He may be thinking, "If she can't get this, she's never going to progress, so better to find that out now than later." Sounds harsh, but not unrealistic.

IMO, I wouldn't have a conversation with the coach. They've told you the rules (one spot) and that's likely all you're going to get from them. Explaining you DD's position isn't likely to help. They probably deal with kids who fear things all the time and, like I said, if it's a competitive program the coach may just use her "issues" against her to push her out of the program. They'll expect her to deal with it, or not. Sadly, I suspect she'll either have to get over it herself, or maybe find another program.
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Old 10-04-2012, 02:37 PM   #3
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If I were the coach, I would be thinking the same thing as you - that I don't want a scared kid on my equipment because the fear is going to make her fall. I would schedule a private lesson with her, completely spotted at first, just to work on getting over it. She wouldn't vault during class until she'd worked her way back.

But, that's what I'd do as a coach. As a parent, telling the coach what to do is generally frowned upon. So I think you're stuck. Can you maybe get an older student to talk to her about a time when she was scared and got over it?
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Old 10-04-2012, 02:41 PM   #4
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I was a competitive gymnast growing up and the mantra was always "just do it." Even when you were terrified.

Have you been satisfied/happy with the coach til now? If so, you should trust him or her. I would not tell the coach how to do his or her job. Maybe find time for a private lesson or work with one of the older/more advanced gymnasts?

Good luck! She'll get over it - literally and figuratively.
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Old 10-04-2012, 03:28 PM   #5
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Hearing this makes me love our coach. My DD tumbles for cheer and we have an awesome coach. He also wants them to get back at it and try it again, but he is willing to spot them a couple of times then he makes them do it.

Just recently we had a girl who fell during her backhand spring full. She has done this a million times but she freaked and refused to do it again. Even though they told her that she fell during a simple back hand spring, she felt like it was in her full. (Because it is scary to do) anyway, our coach made her run until she finally decided to try it again. He spotted her a couple of times and then she was fine.

You daughter is going to have to get over that fear. They all go through something like this at one time or another but she just needs to get back in there and give it her all. She must be very talented to get to that level so she knows what she is doing.

As far as talking to the coach, I honestly don't see an issue with it. I would approach the coach without your DD around and tell him or her what is going on and how you feel about it and then trust their judgement on how to handle it. If they are willing to spot her a few more times great, if not than your daughter will need to suck it up and try her best. The coach will know what is the best way to handle it.
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Old 10-04-2012, 03:31 PM   #6
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Could you drop her down a level? I'm a sports coach myself (horseback riding) and fear is a pretty common thing (we do jumpers). There comes a point where you're either going to get over the fear and move onward or you're going to stall out at that spot forever. Many stall. If your DD wants to stick with gymnastics she will have to get over this eventually. I like the private lesson idea. I often do that with my students who are lagging or fearful.
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Old 10-04-2012, 03:31 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janepod View Post
I was a competitive gymnast growing up and the mantra was always "just do it." Even when you were terrified.

Have you been satisfied/happy with the coach til now? If so, you should trust him or her. I would not tell the coach how to do his or her job. Maybe find time for a private lesson or work with one of the older/more advanced gymnasts?

Good luck! She'll get over it - literally and figuratively.


Another former gymnast here. Isn't the level 6 vault a front handspring, same as level 5? If your dd already had this vault, then she needs to just go for it. Front handsprings are the easiest "real" vault. If she can't conquer her fear on this one, she's going to have a tough time when she has to do harder vaults like yurchenkos.

I wouldn't talk to the coach if I were you. If I'm the coach (and I have coached), and mommy is telling me that the gymnast is scared of a front handspring, I'm probably going to think that this one doesn't have much future in the sport. Level 6 is a big accomplishment. I hope your gymmie goes for it. Good luck to her.
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Old 10-04-2012, 03:41 PM   #8
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As a former competitive gymnast, I totally see the coach's point. She can't just spot her until the end of time, and the coach clearly knows she can do it. Sometimes in gymnastics you just gotta throw it until you get over your fear. I get the injury thing - I really do, but there's not much else the coach can do. Coddling her isn't going to do any good.
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Old 10-04-2012, 03:45 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janepod View Post
I was a competitive gymnast growing up and the mantra was always "just do it." Even when you were terrified.

Have you been satisfied/happy with the coach til now? If so, you should trust him or her. I would not tell the coach how to do his or her job. Maybe find time for a private lesson or work with one of the older/more advanced gymnasts?

Good luck! She'll get over it - literally and figuratively.
Quote:
Originally Posted by padams View Post


Another former gymnast here. Isn't the level 6 vault a front handspring, same as level 5? If your dd already had this vault, then she needs to just go for it. Front handsprings are the easiest "real" vault. If she can't conquer her fear on this one, she's going to have a tough time when she has to do harder vaults like yurchenkos.

I wouldn't talk to the coach if I were you. If I'm the coach (and I have coached), and mommy is telling me that the gymnast is scared of a front handspring, I'm probably going to think that this one doesn't have much future in the sport. Level 6 is a big accomplishment. I hope your gymmie goes for it. Good luck to her.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ashley0139 View Post
As a former competitive gymnast, I totally see the coach's point. She can't just spot her until the end of time, and the coach clearly knows she can do it. Sometimes in gymnastics you just gotta throw it until you get over your fear. I get the injury thing - I really do, but there's not much else the coach can do. Coddling her isn't going to do any good.
Competitive gymnasts of the Dis unite! I agree with all of these. I'd not talk to the coach and let him work with his method. Best of luck to her!
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Old 10-04-2012, 04:27 PM   #10
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Wow tough call... Is there anyway she can go back to doing the handspring on the big thick mat instead of the table? Just so she can see for herself that her hands aren't going to miss.

I don't know what I would do, I was a competitive gymnast, a coach and now I'm a gym mom. I get very frustrated when the coaches don't do things the way I would and then I tell DD at home and all the problems with whatever skill go away. (Like her front hip, she was piking way too soon, but they never told her that... it drove me nuts!) But I don't want to be *that* mom so I haven't said anything... yet.

With a fear issue (and I had my fair share of those) she really just has to get over it. I don't think I'd say anything to the coach, but I might offer suggestions to my daughter about how to talk to the coach about it. Maybe she could bring up the vaulting on the big crash pad (like level 4) a few times, or extra mats on the far side of the vault, etc.

What exactly happened? With the new vault tables, I'm having a hard time picturing this accident because the tables are basically made so it's nearly impossible to miss your hands. That makes me concerned about how the equipment was set up.
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Old 10-04-2012, 05:28 PM   #11
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Once a gymnast gets that fear, and refuses to do a trick again, it's really hard to get back to that pre-fall level. My oldest used to do gymnastics (then skating, then rugby!) and a nasty fall on beam ended her career in that sport. She just didn't have the same confidence afterwards. I pretty much made her quit, as it is incredibly dangerous to be an non-confident gymnast. You have to be able to go for it, or you will get hurt!

If she doesn't get over this fear, I'd pull her from the sport. Even with all the new, safer equipment, it's still one of the most dangerous sports out there, and you can't be fearful.
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Old 10-04-2012, 06:18 PM   #12
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I'm the mom of a former level 10 gymnast who was training elite until she grew several inches in one year, thereby ending her gymnastics. Fear defeats many, many talented gymnasts. My daughter's coaches were very much like what you describe. If a girl falls, she gets right up and does it again before she has time to think about it too much. Our coaches would NOT have been at all receptive to a parent speaking about extra spotting to them. They definitely would have looked at it as a parent trying to tell them how to coach and it would not have been received well.

I would try a couple of privates for your daughter but they are costly (or at least they were at our gym). Hopefully, your daughter will learn to work through the fear and let her body do what it has been trained to do. If not, remember that it's not the end of the world. Our whole lives were wrapped up in gymnastics from the time my daughter was 3 but my daughter switched to competitive cheerleading after her growth spurt and is now a college cheerleader at a Division 1 school and having the time of her life. We still love the sport of gymnastics and many of my daughter's former teammates are college gymnasts but cheerleading turned out to be the thing that makes my daughter happy.

Good luck!
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Old 10-05-2012, 08:22 PM   #13
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Thanks for all the input. Yes, she did have this vault, she is an awesome vaulter.........until her mishap. I didnt see it but from what she described it sounded like her hands were not toward the middle of the table shelanded too close so whe she went over the table her back hit the edge coming down.

Anyway, i did talk to the coach and she thinks she will just back off for now, and she may have her come in one on one.
She feels like it will work itself out. She is confident in my dd's ability.
So i felt better after we talked.
I will keep you posted
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Old 10-05-2012, 08:46 PM   #14
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I'm glad that you talked to the coach and that she feels like it will work its self out. She just needs to get back in there as soon as she can for that private lesson. The coach will know just what to do to rebuild her confidence. Good luck to her.
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Old 10-05-2012, 10:39 PM   #15
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My daughter is on her way home right now from the Kellogg's tour and I'm having a pity party that she picked my wife to go with her instead of me.

Lots of good advice here. At level 6 I'm guessing your DD is 9-11? It comes down to trust. If you trust the coach, let it work itself out.

I might ask the coach if there are any suggestions of things to do at home that might help the fear. Or to do a private to get over this.

Don't ask for more spots, if she's going to continue she has to trust the coach and herself to get past this.
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