Protecting Gymnasts From Predators – Part 1
Protecting Gymnasts From Predators – Part 2
Darkness to Light has a great educational resource called “ The 5 Steps to Protecting Our Children”;
Step 1: Learn The Facts: Realities, Not Trust, Should Influence Your Decisions Regarding Children
Step 2: Minimize Opportunity: If you eliminate or reduce isolated, one-on-one situations between children and adults, and children and other youth, you’ll dramatically reduce the risk of sexual abuse.
Step 3: Talk About It: Children often keep abuse a secret, but barriers can be broken down by (parents) talking openly about our bodies, sex, and boundaries.
Step 4: Recognize The Signs: Don’t expect obvious signs when a child is being sexually abused. Signs are often there, but you have to know what to look for.
Step 5: React Responsibly: DISCLOSURE of sexual abuse means a child has chosen you as the person he or she trusts enough to tell. It is the moment when children learn whether others can be trusted to stand up for them.
Protecting Gymnasts From Predators – Part 3
One more point. Clubs should not discourage parents from watching practice.
The more transparency the better.
Our competitive gymnasts are amongst the best protected children. But we could do even better.
On a related topic
Nicole Bard has advice for parents in a post titled …
What To Look For In A Good Gym: Abuse Series Part 1
1. Open Floor Plan
3. Proper Conduct Training and Policies
by Rick McCharles
“Team Building” normally refers to athletes.
But in this post I talk about
building team spirit with the coaches in your gym or camp.
It evolved out of a Gymnastics Alberta retreat workshop with 40 gym coaches brain-storming these
Coaching as FUN
Coaches as PEOPLE
Coaching as WORK
Coaching as FUN:
goal is for coaches to feel “part of the team” (camaraderie)
say “thank-you” to coaches
acknowledge when a coach does a good job
club should provide in-gym uniform — but let coaches decide what that uniform will be
ideas: tank top throw-over in summer, fleece in winter
give promo t-shirts for coaches
encourage coaches to attend Adult Rec / Fitness class after coaching
team-building events for coaches: Christmas party, barbecue, regular coach socials, coffee meetings, etc.
memory wall – funny things that happened in the gym are posted by coaches (things kids said, thank-you notes to coaches from kids and parents, etc.)
theme days for kids and coaches: crazy hair day, etc.
choreographed club warm-up that can be led by any coach
Coaches as PEOPLE:
recognize coaches as “individuals” with different strengths and weaknesses
assign as much responsibility as possible
coach must find their own “sub” coach when away
gift from club to coaches are much appreciated: spa treatment, massage gift certificate, etc.
performance reviews with follow-up
check on coaches “pet peeves” – e.g. rotations, groupings, time on equipment. Answer those concerns.
supervisor meets regularly with individual coaches
formal & informal communication are both important
supervisor needs to be available to talk to coaches
coach needs to be available to talk to parents. Follow the kids out of the gym at the end of the class to be available to chat.
paid regular coaching meetings
email memos to coaches and post those memos for coaches who did not check email
up-to-date memo board (with prize for the coach who reads the memo first as an incentive to read the memos!)
clear procedure (chain of command) for parent complaints
social for coaches with parent Board of Directors
keep in touch with former coaches and older gymnasts – invite alumni back on a regular basis
up-to-date “sub phone list”. Note on the list which days the coach might be available for subbing.
Coaching as WORK:
contracts (full-time) and letters of agreement (part-time) are essential
supervisors must back their coaches in public. Any problems dealt with privately and confidentially.
clubs need budget for “professional development” for all coaches in-gym and outside the gym
fair treatment for employees. No special treatment for “friends” of the boss.
recognition and reward for long-term coaches
reward good work
reward very good attendance by coaches
no “rules”, only expectations for coaches
coaches willing to “sub” should be rewarded better; e.g. point system for sub hours, small gift for sub, etc.
reward coaches who do little extras: clean-up gym, volunteer at events, etc.
pay at least 50% of cost of professional development events
wage increments for performance
wage increments for coaches willing to do more hours / week
recruit coaches from within the club as much as possible
CIT (coach in training) program is important
Coaches should reflect on the
at the gym. psychological atmosphere
How can it be made a
for gymnasts and coaches? happier, more magical place
Money in the budget helps a lot. But there are many things we can do to build coaching team spirit which does not cost a penny.
Gym Momentum Team Building