SPOTTING – education and respect

Alina Williams:

I call gymnastics a contact sport because we cannot teach our athletes without touching them. We spot, poke, shape, and catch our athletes every day, but if we don’t teach them early that they have a say in how and when they are touched we are failing in our duty as educators. …

But here’s the kicker and the hardest part of all of this to implement in the gym: if a child refuses your touch, you must respect that refusal. Sometimes that means watching a kid go around the bar in an ugly shape you really want to fix …

Contact Sports: Teaching Touch and Consent to Young Athletes

At a coaching course last week we had a number of demonstrators from the host club. Of course we explained what spotting was included and encouraged the kids to opt out of anything that made them feel uncomfortable in any way.