safe, ethical spotting

In Canada we’ve long told coaches when spotting not to touch any part of the body covered by a bikini bathing suit. (Hips are an occasional exception.)

One gymnast messaged me to speak of her personal experience.

The Gym was her second home. As a little girl it was common for the coach to spot touching the buttocks of kids in her group.

By age 16 she became very uncomfortable with her coach spotting this way. She told him repeatedly to cut it out. He seemed unable to spot using any other technique.

Finally a less experience female coach was able to spot without grabbing the buttocks.

Here’s her message:

“… It is difficult to write about things that have become so normal and were never perceived as “wrong” by me. Coaches spot small girls on their bottoms from the very beginning, and this goes on as they get older. Almost maybe unaware of their own physical change and the innocence that goes paired with a coach following the way he spotted you from the very beginning. But the coach is the adult and especially at a higher level strong power relations can be involved.

Then suddenly you move to a new gym with new coaches and your eyes are opened. opening change… Something you thought to be impossible is suddenly is so easy. … the realization of the past kicks in. …

This is one of the many unintended consequences of spotting. The less spotting the better.

Published by

Rick Mc

Career gymnastics coach who loves the outdoors, and the internet.

2 thoughts on “safe, ethical spotting”

  1. Wouw I so agree with this. It is so bad that so Many coaches catch gymnasts on the button. Happy that Canada has rules about this. Do you know if any other country has these rules? I think every country should have them!!


    1. I couldn’t claim it’s a rule in Canada. More a guideline used in many of our coach education courses.

      I’m not sure what’s covered under spotting in other nations.


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