12 Small Gestures That Help Out Your Gymnasts’ Parents
- Begin practice on time and be at meets at least 15 minutes before open warm up.
- Stay with any child whose parent is late (with at least one other staff member) until the parent picks up. If it is out of character, meaning that the parent is never late, let it go. If it is a continual problem, call the parent to discuss so as not to have the conversation in front of an all ready embarrassed child.
- Do not have conversations with parents during workout time. It is extremely irritating to parents to look up to see a coach engaged in conversation with another parent during what is supposed to be the gymnasts’ time.
- Do not have lengthy conversations with other coaches during workout. A quick check in or a question about rotating is one thing, but save the lengthy discussion of things like technique, skill choice and move ups for coaches meeting that should be held outside of workout time.
- Make sure you are fed, hydrated, have had adequate sleep and are not sick when you attend practice/meets.
- Make sure you are dressed properly for class/competition.
- Encourage your gymnasts to excel at school and help around the house. Trust me, “Coach said it’s important that I read at least 30 minutes a day.” goes a long way.
- When you are going to be out for illness or vacations, notify families and leave your substitute lesson plans.
- No matter how angry you are at a gymnast’s parent, refrain from making snarky or disparaging comments to the child. Parenting is hard enough without other’s undermining their authority.
- Make sure you are clear with respect to policies and equipment needs; and, be prepared to help parents find what they need. Most parents have no clue where to get grips.
- Communicate any injuries or physical complaints from gymnasts to parents. Do not rely on the child to communicate them.
- Say thank you to parents for trusting you with their child. Children are parents most precious gifts. That they allow you into their child’s life speaks volumes to the trust they are placing in you.
BONUS: Reach out to parents to say nothing but something positive from time to time. We are used to hearing from teachers and coaches when there is a problem or when it is a formal time to receive feedback, but we seldom get the “just because your kid is awesome” email or kind word. We love these kids like life and it would totally make our day!