Quitting a Team Because of the Kids?

Updated on November 20, 2012
C.M. asks from Bartlett, IL
14 answers

My daughter LOVES gymnastics and just joined the gymnastics team.

These girls are so terrible! They are ages 9-11. They are gossipy, cliquey and I think they are jealous of my daughter's talent. I am one of the coaches (but not the only coach) so they whisper and tell her she's only good because "your mom is the coach." My daughter works hard during practice. She doesn't cheat on her exercises and she tries over and over to do things. The other girls cheat on their exercises and goof off. They mouth-off when the coaches tell them what to do to correct their skills, or sulk.

I have talked to my daughter about ignoring them, but I understand it's hard. When I'm not looking, or the other coach is not looking they whisper and say mean things about my daughter. When you confront them, they act all innocent. It's hard to punish them when you really have no proof that they actually said something. There are 3 of them, and they stick up for each other. There is a total of 7 on the team.

My boss says if we kick the 3 girls off, then we won't have enough kids to keep the program going. They've also been in our program since they were 3 years old, and it's only just these last 2 years that they've become problems. TWEENS!

My daughter loves gymnastics, but this love is quickly diminishing with they way she is being treated. I try to keep the girls separated as much as possible.

This problem is compounded by the fact that one of the girls' mom is a coach and neither one of them want me or my daughter there. Again, jealousy I assume. Her daughter was the best on the team until my daughter came along. They used to compete together on a totally different team and my daughter always beat her.

I'm getting tired of the politics and so is my daughter. Part of me says they WANT us to quit so we shouldn't give them the satisfaction and just ignore it. It will all come out when competitions start and my daughter does well. I've told her that she will encounter jealousy all her life and this is good practice for dealing with it.

Moving to another gym is not an option as I work for this company. Not only would it cost me a fortune but I think it looks bad to work for one company and send my daughter to another.

Any ideas? My daughter hates going to practice now, and I have to say that I'm not looking forward to it myself either. However, when I mentioned quitting she got so upset she cried.

What can I do next?

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answers from Dallas on

You need to talk to your boss and she needs to let the coaches know and the kids know there is not tallorance for that type of behavior. I have heard the owner of my sons gym talk to the parents and tell them in gymnastics these kids even young are expected to act professional. In practice and at meets. They are jealous of your daughter cause she's good.

Good luck and God Bless!!!!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Salinas on

I apologize in advance if this comes off blunt. Your question seemed really familiar to me, I looked back on some of your other questions and realized this discord has been ongoing for quite a while.

Maybe it's a different team, a different group of girls but the issues are very similar. It seems there is a lot of little girl drama surrounding your daughter. I have two girls myself and am well aware of the tween/teen dynamics and how difficult it can be. On the other hand, unless it is out and out bullying you can always choose to ignore it, don't feed it in anyway and make sure your daughter does not invite it by being mean herself.

Honestly, it seems you are just a little bit too wrapped up in your girls activities and social scene. Sorry if you hate me but that's my honest opinion.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Peoria on

I agree with Heidi. Can there be a generic team spirit and treating our team mates with respect talk by someone who is not a biased coach (like your boss). Your boss can ask for input from both you and the other coaches on what to address in the meeting. Not singling anyone out, but setting expectations of kindness, professionalism and good sportsmanship for everyone. This may get everyone back on the right track.... Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Without knowing the exact dynamics of the team and the coaches, it is hard to say exactly what I would do, but here are some thoughts...

If you are comfortable talking with the other coaches and/or your boss, could you request that the adults meet about this as a general issue (ie- NOT specifically about your daughter.) Something like, "I feel that the girls are being typical tweens, but they really need to understand how they are hurting feelings with some of the cattiness that is going on, and since this can happen in sports, school, etc., I feel that we as a company should address this before it turns into all-out bullying and causing some to leave the team."
Then you could brainstorm ways for the girls to do team-building exercises or trust exercises (blindfolding, etc.) and maybe show them a video about bullying or have a speaker come in? (An ex-gymnast would be totally awesome, if you could figure out who/how.)

If that is not possible, I would tell her to ignore them the best she can. She could maybe also say something (not mean or spiteful) over and over in response like, "I love gymnastics, it's hard work but worth it." I know this will probably only increase their catty behavior, but SHE won't be doing anything wrong, and if they get really irritated with her, maybe they will forget to "hide" it in front of the coaches and things will come to light. Stinks for your daughter, but that would be another way to go if the meeting idea is not possible.

So sad this is happening. The adults should really be taking a more pro-active stance against bullying, but I know if a parent is a bully, a kid will likely be too :(

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

Part of coaching is teaching about teamwork and supporting the team. When the USA gymnastics team goes to the Olympics they are all always cheering for one another. Even when an individual doesn't win....they're still right there cheering for their team.

I would sit them all down and tell them that if they say mean things or aren't supportive of one another, they'll be required to sit out the next meet (require them to be there, but not compete). Second time will be two meets. Third time, they're out for the season. Fourth...they should find another gym. Of course all of the coaches need to be in agreement on what the repercussions will be. I think that if they are required to sit out meets, their parents will start getting onto them and the problem will stop.

Talk to your daughter and let her know that there is always going to be someone who jealous of her talent and ability. She shouldn't brag about it, just keep doing her best. My BFF's daughter is 8 years old and competing against girls who are 13 years old. She's exceptionally talented and works very hard. She's also well-liked and only competes against HERSELF. Your daughter doesn't need to worry about those girls...she should be supportive of them, but remember that she's competing against her OWN personal best.

ETA: Rhonda: Do you realize that your comment is racist? Very uncool.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Syracuse on

Wow, not only are the girls on the team jealous and immature, so are the coaches! I'm not talking about you. For the other coaches to be tolerating this type of behavior leads me to believe they are uneducated and probably lousy coaches as it is. She loves gymnastics and has talent so switch her to a better, more competitive and "serious" gym. Who cares how it looks to the gym you work for, really! I mean, these girls certainly aren't going to push her any, and being surrounded by others who have talent will only help her to improve further.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Honesty I'd tell them that you cant handle the bullying going on with the bad mouths treating your daughter badly so for the safety of your family you are moving on.If she is as good as she says then another gym will grab her

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I think this is where your daughter can learn a lesson about how to be strong.

She just joined. She is the newbie. She needs to stick it out until she's been there for a while, and she won't be the new one who gets picked on. If there are 7 on the team, and it's 3 girls who are doing this, then there are still 3 people she can hang out with.

Tell her to hang out with the other 3 kids until the 3 bitchy ones get over the novelty and move on to something else. In the meantime, role play some good comebacks to things they say. If she keeps it light, and takes it with humor, they will see it doesn't bother her and they will stop.

As an ex-gymnast, I can say that gymnastics is way too important to quit over this silliness. She needs to stick it out.

p.s. How do you "cheat" on your exercises? In my gymnastic experience, that's not possible. I think Kari might be right that you should try to remove yourself somewhat from your daughter's social scene.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

You work for the company that runs this gymastics program.

That's a good reason NOT to have your child involved on a team run by your employer.

I know you say, "I think it looks bad to work for one company and send my daughter to another" but to whom does it look bad? Other parents? Your employer? I would think you could have a good opportunity here to say: "I love this company so much that heaven forbid I should cause any appearance of a conflict of interest, so to protect the company from any parent claiming that I favor my child over customers' children, I send her elsewhere."

If the company had an issue with that -- well, I'm not sure that I for one would want to work for an employer that had an issue with it once you'd explained it in that way. Nor would I want to work for a company that would expect me to send my child there, and there only, or a company that would penalize me as a worker for not sending my child there. Do you want to work for an employer like that?

Sure, some parent sometime will say, "What, your own employer's company isn't good enough for you?" But you can easily reply, "It's great. I'd love to have my kid here. But I coach here and feel that it's best for the company that there not be any opening for anyone to say I favor my kid."

The other potential solution: Your daughter stays put, but you stop coaching the team. Must you coach it? Or do you choose to do so? Is coaching this specific team part of your job requirements? If it is not -- I'd stop coaching any team my child was on.

Why must she quit altogether rather than just move to another gymnastics program? Don't let some idea of "she must go to the program at the place where I work" prevent her from doing something she loves. You also mentioned cost, but if this is really her passion, can you find the money or work out a payment plan with another place?

If the alternatives for her are no gymnastics at all or gymnastics ONLY at mom's gym -- that's no real alternative. Research alternatives elsewhere--where she can meet new kids who do not know her as the coach's child. She's getting teased because she's good, sure, and that could happen elsewhere, but you have to realize that the fact she's a coach's kid makes it all much worse for her.

And don't offer to coach or even help at the new place -- let it be hers and hers alone.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on

Why does your company need to know that you've changed to another gymnastics program?

Yes, it would cost a fortune, but what are your other choices?

The only thing that I can think of is to demand that the other mother who is a coach be thrown off if she is allowing these kinds of behaviors to flourish. It that isn't going to happen, then you should just cut another expense and find somewhere else for your daughter to enjoy gymnastics, and stop coaching this team. Let these other people goof off together.

It's a piss-poor program, C., irresponsibly run and very unprofessional. Why would you want your name to be associated with it or your daughter to have to put up with it?

Vote with your feet. Your boss is an idiot. Let him or her find out the hard way when you're not there to buoy the team.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Redding on

All the mom coaches need to have a meeting and stop competing "your daughters". It's a milestone that y'all need to recognize and pass over to continue to be great coaches in the future.
This kind of stuff happens now and then, nip in the bud with a conference and DO NOT enter with a chip on your shoulder.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

If there are 7 on the team, and 3 snobby-cliquey girls, why don't you encourage your DD to befriend the other 3 girls? Can you help her invite one of them to do something fun with you so she can bond a little more with some of the nicer girls? It really stinks that she is encountering typical mean-girl behavior at one of her favorite activities. But since she is passionate about gymnastics, and has some real talent, I wouldn't encourage her to quit this team right now. I think you have the right idea to just ignore all of the drama.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I can feel your pain. Don't allow your daughter's spirit to be crushed by this. Look at how Gabby's (gold medal little sustah) mom sacrificed to get her daughter where she is. I am soooo sure that there were little blonde girls that gave her hell --but she showed the world her gift.

Get your daughter away from those little witches. As some other mama (Kellyhy S) said, if she is HALF as good as what you claim--they may take her for 1/2 price of the fee!

God bless. I know we hate to see our babies bullied.


answers from Dover on

Who is the head coach? Can you talk to her.

You work there, so you are a paid coach? Can you (all the coaches) present a united front and refuse to allow this behavior. Talk to all the girls as a whole. Then privately talk to the offenders that you know this has been happening and this is their last warning before disciplinary action will be taken...maybe not kick them off but extra proper excercises, runs, etc. or suspension from some events?

Could you possibly see about getting her in another gym? I agree with you that it looks bad to coach one place and send your kid to another but if they won't do anything about it, maybe losing to your girl will finally shut the brats up. Or would you consider switching gyms yourself with her?

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