You are here:

Gymnastics/parental interfernce during workouts

Advertisement


Question
COULD YOU PLEASE HELP ME WITH THIS PROBLEM.  WHAT DO I DO ABOUT A PARENT THAT WANTS TO CONTINUALLY COACH HER GRANDAUGHTER FROM THE STANDS.  OR SHE TELLS ME, THE COACH, THAT THE VAULT SETTING IS TOO HIGH AND THE BAR IS TOO FAR APART, AND THEN SHE TELLS EVERY PARENT THAT SHE CAN, THAT I MENTALLY ABUSE HER GRANDAUGHTER BY HAVING HER DO SKILLS AND ROUTINES ON THE WRONG EQUIPMENT SETTING.  NOW I WAS A GYMNAST FOR 20 YRS AND HAVE BEEN A COACH UP THROUGH LEVEL 10 ON AND OFF FOR 20 YRS.  I HAVE NEVER HAD A COMPLAINT LIKE THIS.  BUT MY GREATEST CONCERN IS THAT SHE IS TELLING OTHER PARENTS THAT I PCYCHOLOGICALLY ABUSE HER GRANDAUGHTER BY MAKING HER VAULT ON THE WRONG SETTING OR THAT I ONLY SPEAK NEGATIVELY TO THE CHILD.  WHICH ISN'T TRUE.  BUT THIS IS DAMAGING MY REPUTATION AND AFFECTING MY COACHING ON A DAY TO DAY BASIS.  WHAT CAN I DO?  PLEASE HELP

Answer
Hi Sherri,

Please understand this is my personal opinion only and may even be illegal so check with a lawyer before you even think about it as a possibility... but what would happen if you made the old biddy a plate of chocolate chip cookies using chocolate ExLax? Hmm...

Okay, that WAS a joke, but kind of fun to think about.

Have you actually heard this woman make negative comments yourself or is this feedback from others present? You might want to talk to a lawyer as I believe what she is doing may be construed as slander. You may even want to invite her to a meeting with you and your lawyer and let him/her suggest a change in her verbal attitude.

Maybe you could post a sign in the viewing area to the effect the area is under video and audio surveillance and anything said or done may be recorded. Check with your lawyer.

You may want to invite her and the gymnast to leave and join another club. Even pay for the first month and let someone else deal with the problem.

Do you have a team manual that outlines the behaviors you expect from gymnasts and their parents? Establish a guideline that prohibits negativity, slander, and the creation of rumors. When she breaks those rules you may then have grounds to keep her from entering the facility.

The problem is this is a very touchy subject which can blow up in your face no matter how appropriate and respectful you are in trying to handle it. The bottom line I believe is to get legal advice before you take any action.

Good luck!

Coach Rik

Gymnastics

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


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.

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.