Quiet Gymnast Lost in Loud Crowd

Subject: Quiet Gymnast Lost in Loud Crowd

Sex: female
Age: 14
Gymnastics Level: 9

Our daughter’s gymnastics career may be over. A hard worker, but quiet, not as extroverted and “loud” as other level 8-9-10 at gym. She’s done well (former state champ), works very hard and overcame a broken wrist in 2010 to complete the season and make elite 8 team for regionals. Not a great showing at regionals, but determined and working hard this summer. This summer, coach chose 5 other girls for a special camp trip; our daughter was not invited. No communication from coach. She found out as the other girls were talking about the trip in the locker room. One of the girls chosen misses as many practices as she attends. Our daughter is heartbroken, wondering what on earth has happened. She knew she earned the trip. Beyond the total lack of communication, it seems that the “fun” girls are grabbing the coach’s attention (remember, ours is well liked, extremely loyal, hard worker, determined, BUT not loud or grabbing the spotlight.) Those girls have their “group.” Our daughter is differently motivated and maybe that’s something the coach has no interest in adjusting his style to accommodate.

Looking for some insights. Thanks.

I am sorry , but I have no insights into what your coach has apparently done.  If I were you, though, I would certainly be talking to the coach and/or owner and finding out why your daughter was not invited.  There may be a perfectly good explanation and there may not be, but I would certainly want to find out what was/is going on.

It does sound as if her coach made a basic error in judgement in not recognizing the potential reaction of other gymnasts to the camp, communicating to the other gymnasts and parents about the camp and just, in general, giving any gymnast more experience opportunities than any other.  All gymnasts are potentially the best on the team, at some time in the future, and to not treat them all equally is generally poor coaching technique.

Parents, in general, always seem to believe coaches have favorites.  Coaches tend to believe they do not have favorites.  The truth is likely somewhere in the middle.   But you and your daughter should be making career judgments more by looking at your daughter’s gymnastics skill learning progress and competition success, than whether you think the coach has favorites.

I think you may be misinterpreting the coach’s perspective.  I personally know of no coach, who prefers loud gymnasts to quiet gymnasts.  I have favorite gymnasts – the ones who are working the hardest that day and are listening carefully to what I have to say and making the corrections that allow them to make progress.  Loud and social gymnasts do not make that process any better or easier.  I would say there is something else going on and that your impression for the coach’s behavior has nothing to do with loud vs. quiet.

So I believe you need to talk to the coach, get his story about the camp, and find out what their plans for your daughter are and what her place in the gym is.  You can only do that by talking directly to the coach.  I suggest you go into the talk without any of your assumptions of fun, loud and social being primary factors and find out what is really going on.

Good luck.

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