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My 12 y/o daughter is a very talented level 9 gymnast. She was training at a very well known facility on our area, with very good coaches but recently quit gymnastics just over a month ago after complaining of feeling severely burned out.  At the beginning of the summer the gym she was at lost one of their level 9/10 bar/vault coaches which left the other 9/10 bar/vault coach responsible for a very large 9/10 team. Needless to say her summer training on those two events produced NO new skills. the mentality of the majority of the coaches at this gym  is intense, and cold, and the girls are extremely competitive.  my daughter had no friends and in spite of being one of the most talented gymnasts in the gym (this is from the coaches, not me) she hated going everyday. she began to get injuries, and stomach problems and loads of anxiety surrounding gym everyday.  and the only reason she dragged herself to gym everyday is because she has an amazing rapport with her floor/beam coach.  finally,  about a month ago the situation/environment had deteriorated so badly at gym that she said "mom, I can't do gymnastics anymore,  I have absolutely no passion for the sport anymore." we fully supported her decision and emailed her coaches explaining her decision and parted ways amicably. her beam/floor coach was devastated and called her begging her to come back, even as just an event specialist on her events. my daughter said she loved her very much and was grateful,  but that her passion was dead and she couldn't tolerate the negative environment any more. for a few weeks she tried dance and circus arts, and finally her friend from another gym asked her to come tryout at another fun.  reluctantly my daughter agreed... and loved it. she told me that maybe she wasn't broken, but that instead the environment she was in was broken. she loves the new coaches, is having fun again and has the SUPPORT of teammates, something she hadn't had for a long time.  the problem is, her old coaches discovered that she is trying at a new gym & they begged her to please come back and work one on one with them to give them a chance to make it better. the bar/vault coach even talked to all the girls about their attitudes and told them they needed to change, and mentioned my daughter several times in his speech saying that they needed to create a better environment.  So.... two weeks ago my daughter had quit the sport for good, and now she's back in it, choosing between two gyms. The new gym has an amazing environment,  and good coaching but not as good as the old gym. the old gym has a toxic environment with better coaching,  but the bar/vault is overwhelmed right now so my daughter (& others) have really plateaued on those events,  so much so that my daughter had considered never doing bars/vault again until she tried at the new gym.  The decision therein: Go to the new gym with great environment, which seems to have re-ignited my daughter's passion for gym and in doing so disappoint her former coaches,  or trust that the old gym really does want to change things and go back? ????? Help. she is only 12 and i know she needs my help on this but I don't know  how to guide her.

Answer
Hello Erin,

You wrote,

"...(My daughter) recently quit gymnastics just over a month ago after complaining of feeling severely burned out."

"...summer training on those two events produced NO new skills."

"...my daughter had no friends..."

"...she hated going everyday."

"mom, I can't do gymnastics anymore,  I have absolutely no passion for the sport anymore."

"...her passion was dead and she couldn't tolerate the negative environment any more."

Hmm..., and now...

"The new gym has an amazing environment,  and good coaching..."

"Go to the new gym with great environment, which seems to have re-ignited my daughter's passion for gym and in doing so disappoint her former coaches,  or trust that the old gym really does want to change things and go back? ?????"

Do you really need to ask? My opinion says, you always go with quality of life.

Regards,

Coach Rik

Gymnastics

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Rik Feeney

Expertise

I can answer questions regarding all levels of the sport of women's gymnastics, the business of gymnastics, and the marketing of gymnastics programs.

Experience

I am the author of "Gymnastics: A Guide for Parents and Athletes" currently being published by McGraw-Hill. I am also a ghostwriter and co-author of the Gymcert series of books "Levels 1-3 Gymnastics Coaches Certifications Manuals" for recreational gymnasts, and the "Levels 4 - 6 Skills and Drills" books as well as Safety Basics for Gymnastics Instructors. I have written several other books on the sport of gymnastics for Richardson Publishing, the latest of which is titled, "Back Handsprings: The Secret Techniques." Oh, and by the way, I was a competitive gymnast through high school and college (Temple University), gymnastics club owner for 10 years, and women's gymnastics coach for 30 years working with gymnasts at all competitive levels

Organizations
USA Gymnastics National Writer's union Florida Writer's Association

Publications
USA Gymnastics magazine Technique magazine International Gymnast magazine several newspaper articles

Education/Credentials
Temple University - Health Physical Education, Recreation & Dance Norwich University - Bachelors of Arts in Writing & Literature

Awards and Honors
Several state and national level gymnastics champions in different systems of competition.

Past/Present clients
Gymnasts, coaches, and club owners nation-wide.

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