Need Advice on Dealing with Two High Strung Coaches for Sports Conflict

Updated on October 15, 2017
S.L. asks from Arvada, CO
17 answers

My dd just started 9th grade and is as busy as ever juggling school sponsored competitive cheer and gymnastics. The problem is, we have a major conflict coming up. The cheer team has a competition (for the national bid) and the gymnastics team has their regional meet on the same day. Both teams need her because she competes at a high level in gymnastics and many teammates are out with injuries. Also, she has a crack at getting to state and competing there. The cheer team needs her as a flyer, plus she's their star tumbler.
The cheer competition is more than 2 hours away from the gym meet - although it's conceivable that we might be able to drive there in time assuming there's no traffic and assuming the gym meet didn't go over in time - but that's really a long shot.
The coaches are both hired by the school, but apparently they dislike each other. Any suggestions on what to do?
My kid is really afraid to bring this conflict up with either one of them.

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answers from Santa Fe on

It's hard but she just has to pick one and not worry about it. So one team does worse in the will go on. These are high school competitions...not life or death. No need to make a big deal about it. Just be matter of fact with the coach. The coach will get over it.



answers from Anchorage on

She is going to have to decide which is more important to her and then stick to her guns if pushed by the coach she is having to bale on. Sometimes we all have got make tough choices. Or if you really think you could make both you could tell the couch of the first completion you may need to leave slightly early, but she may be required to be to the second on at a certain time or be unable to compete so if the second comp is more important to her I would just do that one.

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answers from Wausau on

In my opinion, your daughter is of the age where she has a responsibility to herself and others when it comes to activities. The time for trying a little of everything as young kids do is coming to an end, because she isn't able to meet all of her obligations to both sets of teammates. She needs to choose only 1 competitive activity at a time, without overlap.

My suggestion is that your daughter make a decision this week about dropping either cheer or gymnastics, and putting all of her focus on the one she enjoys the most. She can notify one coach or the other on Monday that she is done.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I have a different idea from all of the good ideas below, just a different way to handle it:

I think your daughter could write a well-thought mature email to both coaches at once (both on one email), telling them "in the interest of full disclosure" that she is facing this conflict and asking for any input or guidance that either can offer to her. She can of course make it clear that she is giving the matter her own thoughtful consideration but say that - out of respect for both of them - she wanted to ask for any possible advice.

Ultimately, this decision might be what chooses her ONE future activity - as posts below say too, your daughter really cannot continue this balancing act (no pun intended) forever.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

She's too young to have this much pressure. Look what she's doing to her body... physically and mentally.

I don't mean to sound rude but.... Although I'm sure she's very good... she's not irreplaceable. One or both of the teams will adjust and be ok without her on the team.

We went through cheer all the way through varsity when my daughter was captain. It can be brutal with all the practice, developing routines and dealing with drama. I don't know about gymnastics because my daughter focused on cheer.

I realize there are some sports where you can dually be on teams due to the seasons. This is not one of those. I am surprised she's allowed to be on both. That does not happen at our schools.

The coaches personal issues with each other is hearsay and not a part of this or anyone's business.

You daughter needs to make a choice. I don't think it's realistic to think of each of these as long term sport or professional career.. possibly a scholarship but it's a long shot. Her health is not worth the risk of long term damage.

I have a neighbor who pushed the daughter in soccer and track and by 11th grade, she was out of all of it due to injuries and surgeries during her growth period.

I would first and foremost think of her health now and future.

At 9th grade... this is a lot of pressure on top of maintaining grades and having a social life.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Admittedly, I don't know much about competitive gymnastics and cheering, but I believe I am sensible enough to understand that two such demanding competitions on the same day would be too taxing for almost anyone.

After all, both involve warm-ups and stretching, etc. And then there's the drive, which sounds like it could be stressful and hectic. Then there's the timing. These types of events can often experience delays (equipment issues, injury to a competitor requiring immediate attention of medical personnel and a "time-out" from the competition to allow for emergency care, or any one of a number of problems that can arise). And, both are physically demanding. That's a lot for a young body to be pushed to in the space of a few hours.

Since your daughter is now in high school, this really should be something that she brings up with her coaches. It's time to learn that skill. Sure, have her send an email if that's more comfortable.

I believe that part of devoting oneself to anything (a sport, a skill, theater, vocal performances, playing an instrument) is recognizing one's limits. Also it's important, when committing to performing or competing, to appreciate that some things just won't be possible.

That young talented gymnast who won the gold medal at the last Olympics (I forget her name, Laurie maybe?) was on Dancing With The Stars last season. She revealed in interviews and talks with her professional partner how hard it had been to devote herself entirely to gymnastics. She didn't regret it, but she said how she had never been on a date, didn't go to any proms or school dances, and hadn't gone out to movies and things with her friends because every waking hour was spent at the gym. The lesson she learned was that she could do one thing well, but not everything else.

Now, the person who just wants to play the piano for her own enjoyment, or the person who just wants to work out at a gym, or who likes to take tap dancing classes for fun can do all the other things - the vacations, the school activities, outings with friends, etc.

It sounds like your daughter needs to evaluate her devotion to both sports and decide whether she wants to just participate in both, or excel at one. And help her figure out which one she enjoys, which she could possibly get scholarships for or continue in college, and which one she sees herself in.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

As a former competitive cheer coach, I am surprised that her coaches are allowing her to do both sports. That would be a no go in my program. Both sports take a lot of dedication and practice and since the seasons are contemporaneous there will be many conflicts. She needs to pick which one is more important to her and commit to that one. Both teams will suffer because of her duplicity. Both need her skills which speaks to her abilities, but its not fair to either to not be able to depend on her as a constant member. I'm sure the cheer routine was choreographed to show her skills and will suffer if she isn't there. The transitions and interplay between stunt groups will suffer too. She shouldn't be concerned with the relationship between the coaches. Each coach will probably ask her to make a decision on where her heart is. It's ok if she listens to it.


As a former competitive cheer coach, I am surprised that her coaches are allowing her to do both sports. That would be a no go in my program. Both sports take a lot of dedication and practice and since the seasons are contemporaneous there will be many conflicts. She needs to pick which one is more important to her and commit to that one. Both teams will suffer because of her duplicity. Both need her skills which speaks to her abilities, but its not fair to either to not be able to depend on her as a constant member. I'm sure the cheer routine was choreographed to show her skills and will suffer if she isn't there. The transitions and interplay between stunt groups will suffer too. She shouldn't be concerned with the relationship between the coaches. Each coach will probably ask her to make a decision on where her heart is. It's ok if she listens to it.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I agree with those who say that your daughter has to take the reins here and speak up for herself. It's time for you, Mom, to back away. She needs to talk to her teachers about assignments, and she needs deal with her own coaches. You can brainstorm or help her rehearse a little, but she's got to do it herself. Your job is to encourage her to express herself and not to do this for her.

She also, as Chacha says, needs to learn those hard lessons about choices. She has willingly taken on 2 sports whose seasons overlap. So this situation could have been predicted from the get-go.

What's not her problem is the antipathy between two coaches who (if your assessment is accurate and thorough, and not just based on a teen's perspective) aren't professional enough to shield the kids from their disdain for each other. However, it's also possible that both coaches are asking their athletes to make choices and decisions, and the teens don't like that. So rather than say, "I have to make a choice and I don't want to," the teens may, in their age-appropriate immaturity and inexperience, say that the coaches themselves have a conflict. Or maybe it's a little of both.

So, I do like Chacha's suggestion that your daughter write them an email and explain her position as clearly as she can. She can ask for their input of what factors she should consider and weigh more heavily than others. She just might get some very well reasoned responses. She might also, in the process of writing, sort out her own priorities much better than they are right now.

And while this seems earth shattering right now, it IS high school and she needs to see that not everyone gets an opportunity to do either of these things, let alone both.

I do think it's a bad idea to be stressed out at one event, wondering if it will end on time, and then drive 2 hours in traffic and on a deadline, to try to make it to another event. That is telling your daughter that she doesn't need to take care of herself, that she can compete in 2 strenuous events on one day and then be tempted to speed on the highway. You really don't want to get her thinking that way for when she's old enough to drive herself or with other kids. That's how kids get killed on the road - too much speed and too much distraction. I'd nip that in the bud right now.

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answers from Chicago on

I would strongly suggest not trying to go to one then rush to the other. No one will have a good day. This problem is for your daughter to handle. High school is when we need to guide our children through the harder parts of life. I'm surprised she was able to be on two sports during the same season at this level. At my boys' high school, an athlete had to get special permission, signed off by coaches of both sports in order to do so because of conflicts with practices and meets. You say both teams need her. Well, which one does she want to prioritize? Does she love the gymnastics and want to go to state in that? Is her true passion cheer? When she's older and looks back, which one will she think she was glad she pursued or which one will she regret not pursuing? It seems clear she cannot do both without consulting with both coaches and examining her preference. Maybe there is a way and maybe there is not. If she approaches the coaches, maybe her answer will emerge.

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answers from San Francisco on

I don't know what the coaches not liking each other has to do with it. Your daughter cannot be in two places at once so she needs to choose which one is her priority.
High school sports require full time commitment. Balancing more than one commitment per season is just not realistic, as you are clearly finding out. I've been there, done that with three kids already. My BFF's daughter just took a leave of absence from gymnastics (something she's done for years) because she made the tennis team and there was no way to do both. She will return to gymnastics when tennis is over.
It's hard for kids to take responsibility for their activities when their parents have always handled every conflict for them but this is a big part of growing up. Your daughter can and should be able to start making decisions and advocating for herself.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

I think you have to look at the one that gives you the most in return, not financially of course, but the most that works for her future.

We don't put our kids in activities and spend hundreds of dollars per month if we don't have an ultimate ideal of what it can do for our kiddos. Like dance, it builds their core muscles, it helps them develop grace and balance, but it also gives them a skill that "might" lead into scholarships for college or even further in a career. In gymnastics and cheer they can achieve much and do a lot with those skills.

We have a very very long list that spans over 50 years of people that graduated high school and went on to use the skills they'd learned while being a dancer or gymnast at the studio/gym where I work. I'll share a few of our stories from the last 3-4 years.

Two of our past graduates went to college on full scholarships for their tumbling. One is a stuntman in California, he's been in prime time TV shows too and puts together stunt shows for a major theme park as a second job. The other is a professional performer in a show in Cirque style show in Las Vegas.

We have 6 graduates that are in their freshman or sophomore year in college right now and they are all on full ride scholarships, housing, food, books, everything, 3 on dance and 1 on tumbling and he's a cheerleader for his college.

So childhood sports/activities can pay off in their future.

My point is that one of these things has a higher payoff for your child's future than the other one.

I would go, myself, and talk to the coaches. This is something that can overwhelm your child. I would take this responsibility and flat out say our girl really wants to do both but I'm taking her choice away, "I'm" making the decision as to which one we're committing to.

The cheer squad needs a flyer, they need to know as soon as possible if you choose the other event. So they can get her up there and get the others used to how she moves.

If you choose to go with cheer then you need to let that coach know too.

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answers from Minneapolis on

Even though she is afraid to bring up the conflict, I really think you really need to step back and tell her that she personally needs to initiate communication, and the sooner the better so whatever activity she will be missing has time to plan for her absence. I think you should tell your daughter she needs to make a choice. She doesn't need to even mention the conflict to the coach of the activity she is choosing to do that day. You can help her to accept that one of the activities will have to be missed. Don't try to run like crazy and wheel and deal with the coaches to attempt to do both. Just let her be the one to decide which one to do, and tell her you will support her choice. I don't think there is any wrong answer. The lesson learned here is that she over-extended herself with over-lapping activities, and it didn't work. She can apologize and offer to the coach to finish out the season for whatever coach's activity is missing however the coach feels it would best benefit the team, and explain that she made a mistake trying to take on both activities at once. Hopefully, the coach will be understanding. It shouldn't have anything to do with their feelings about the other coach. It's about your daughter's choices and predicament. The coaches could be best friends, it would not matter. Conflicts do happen for a lot of reasons. Her coach may not be happy (especially if informed last-minute), and she may lose some opportunities in the missed program for the season to girls who are able to 100 percent commit, but hopefully no long-term grudges will be held.

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answers from New York on

It seems hard to believe that the coaches are not aware of upcoming conflicts with their players. My guess is they already know about it.

We ran into this a couple times a year with conflict due to kids playing sports, instruments, jobs, choir, etc. Obviously, only you and your daughter can decide how to prioritize between these two things, but here is what we did:

1. Job always came first. Said kid put in for time off, but if they didn't get it, they didn't compete. Job skills are for life, sports are generally just for high school.

2. Long term ramifications. Sometimes we had to pick one thing over another because the overall consequence for missing a meet/event had long term effects. Missing a certain track meet meant you couldn't compete for the next 3 meets (which could affect a state meet or not get your times listed for some other meet needed to qualify for state)

3. College ramifications. Our son had a very good chance (and was offered one his senior year) at a track scholarship for college. He was never going to play trumpet after high school. Guess which one came first if push came to shove? Conversely, our daughter did apply for a music scholarship in college (which we knew she was likely going to do in high school), but was never going to compete at pole vault in college. Guess which one came first?

4. Lifetime ramifications. Unless your child is seriously planning on a scholarship or training for the Olympics, I don't see either of these as MUST DOS, rather it would be what she would rather do, based on the above criteria.

Don't get caught up in the minutia of this. You still have 3 more years of high school and sports after this. I can tell you, that my 2 20 yr olds both did 3 sports a year for 6 years each. They have now been out of school for a couple of years and although it was fun and we remember those times fondly, honestly it is high school.

Good luck!

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answers from Boston on

She needs to choose which competition she wants to participate in and just do that one. Let the other coach know asap so they can plan on the competition without her. The only drama here is the one you and your daughter are creating over this situation. Really its not hard. You do the one you want.

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answers from Springfield on

tell the first one that you have to leave at xxx time no questions about it. tell the second one that you will be there late. if either coach throws a fit then you tell them you will commit to time at the other one, instead of attending the event of the coach acting like a child and having a fit because your leaving early or arriving late to.
unless your child prefers one event over the other then you have her tell the coaches what she is choosing and you support her decision.



answers from Dallas on

Sounds like you will either have to go to both or she will have to decide which is more important to her. Also which is she going to stay in for the long hall. That is a very trough choice. My son does competitive gymnastics (T&T Lvl 10) so I understand the lvl of commitment that these competitive sports take and don't say it lightly for her to choose. Which is she wanting to do in college if either. That really stinks that the coaches don't get along so you know they probably will tell her to choose. Are there others that are on her teams that do both? If so you might find out what they are planning to do about it.

Good luck!



answers from Charlottesville on

I would say she should pick which one she wants to go to. I would not recommend trying to do both. And I agree with the other posts that she needs to be the one to handle this (although I can say my daughter wouldn't want to do it either).
Now having said that, since your daughter is a flyer, I will say that it is much easier to do a cheer routine without a flyer than it is without a base or back, so although it might look a little funny to do the stunt without a flyer, it can be done. So that might make the decision easier if she really prefers to do the gymnastics.

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