Letting A Coach Go

From Tom Burgdorf’s Oct. 15th GYMNET Sports FREE Parenting An Athlete weekly newsletter:

We hate to do it in most cases. We know that there are relationships between the coaches and the athletes and their parents. We know the history. We know the ups and downs. We know that the athletes are sensitive and that the coaches are important to them. And we want it that way. But.

When you are running a business like a gymnastics club, martial arts business, dance studio, or similar business, the coaches have 2 jobs. One job is to coach. The other job is to be a productive, positive, loyal employee of the business. Not everyone does a good job at both. We have seen numerous times where the person is doing a great job with the kids and the parents but they are not doing a good job with the other coaches or maybe the owner.

For all of you who own your own business, I think you can relate. You might have the best chef in the city for your restaurant, but if she doesn’t show up on time, takes too much time off, etc., etc. you may have to make a change. That change being in the best interest of the entire business. …

So there can be a time when we give chance after chance for the coach to change but when they don’t we have to let them go. We know it hurts. It hurts us too. But the gym, our business, is more important than any one person, except for the owner who has risked so much.

What You Can Do

When a coaching change happens, use the situation to teach your athlete about business and about how sometimes changes have to be made. We don’t have to get into the negatives, just tell your athletes that not everyone fits into every situation. And that the coach will be happier in a new situation. Yes the coach will miss her/his athletes. And there will be a period of sadness for everyone. But in life you have to get over these disappointing situations and move on. The new coach will do a good job too. …

Coaching changes are a way of life. We all need to get through the situation and get back to normal as soon as possible.

You might want to subscribe to Tom’s FREE Parenting An Athlete weekly newsletter. Simply send your e – mail address to tom at tomgymnet @ aol.com and get it every Monday morning via e – mail.

Ekaterina Lobaznyuk – 2000 Olympics

We were honoured to have “Kat” Lobaznyuk at our coaching course this week, a member of the Russian team at the 2000 Olympics. She is now coaching in Vancouver, Canada at Omega.

BRONZE – Vault finals. Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

SILVER – Balance Beam finals. Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Bin Fan, multiple Olympic medalist from China, is assisting me with the course, as well. Bin and Kat were comparing Olympic experiences at dinner tonight.

Bin is Men’s Head Coach at the host club, Calgary Gymnastics Centre. And coach of National Champion Adam Wong.

Bin will be hosting the final staging training camp before the Canadian Olympic Team flies to Beijing.

German Olympic Gymnastics Team

University of Utah gymnast Daria Bijak has made Germany’s Olympic team after placing fourth in the all-around at the German National Championships on June 7 in Chemnitz. Bijak was notified of her selection to the team on June 11. The first three finishers qualified automatically.

Bijak’s 56.30 all-around score was .30 out of third place. She also placed fourth on beam, bars and vault and was sixth on the floor.

Her next competition will be at the Beijing Olympic Games, which start on August 8. Bijak, who won the German national all-around championship in 2005 and 2006, qualified for Germany’s Olympic team in 2000, but missed the Olympics due to an Achilles injury. Germany did not qualify for the 2004 Olympics.

Bijak becomes the fourth Ute gymnast to make her country’s Olympic gymnastics team, joining Cheryl Weatherstone (Great Britain 1984), Missy Marlowe (USA 1988) and current teammate Gael Mackie (Canada 2004).


She hit all four events in their championships.

Translation: German » English

The DTB nominated for the women’s team Katja Abel (SC Berlin), Daria Bijak (TT Toyota Cologne / University of Utah), Anja Brinker (TV Herkenrath), Oksana Chusovitina (TT Toyota Cologne), Marie-Sophie Hindermann (TSG Tuebingen) and Joeline Möbius (TuS Chemnitz-old village). As the seventh woman will turn Kim Bui (TSG Tuebingen) with travel to Beijing and ready in case of failure.

The German men’s team were Philipp Boy (SC Cottbus), Fabian Hambüchen (TSG Wetzlar-Niedergirmes), Robert Juckel (SC Cottbus), Marcel Nguyen (TSV Unterhaching), Eugen Spiridonov (TV Bous) and Thomas Andergassen (KTV Stuttgart) nominated. As an additional Turner will Helge Liebrich (TSV sweetening) and Robert Weber (TSV Ehmen) with direct competition to prepare to travel to Japan.

On last Thursday (05.06.08) were the two trampoline Turner Anna Dogonadze (MTV Bad Kreuznach) and Henrik Stehlik (TGJ Salzgitter) nominated by the DTB.



(via difficulty plus execution)

gymnast Dominique Dawes on body image

Did Dominique have an eating disorder?

Of course not. She was a triple Olympian.

In this interview she speaks about growing up petite and muscular. The psychological challenges of being built like an Olympic gymnast in a world where magazine models are 5′ 10″ tall.

Dominique, 31, was the first African-American woman to win an individual medal in gymnastics, having won bronze in the floor exercise at the ’96 Games, the second of her third Olympics. She was recently named – along with her teammates on the “Magnificent Seven” from 1996 – to the United States Olympic Committee’s Hall of Fame and will be inducted in June.

BlogHer audiocast interview

gymnast Caslavska – Olympic protest 1968

VERA CASLAVSKA of Czechoslovakia is in the Hall of Fame. She won more individual Olympic gold medals than anyone in history.

You’ll hear her name in the lead up to Beijing:

After all these years the Tommie Smith-John Carlos Black Power salute at the 1968 Mexico City Games has come to dominate the discourse, at least in America, when it turns to protests by athletes at the Olympics.

But at those Games there was one other protest, equally eloquent and probably even more courageous: that of Caslavska, as she shared the victory stand with the Soviet gymnast Larissa Petrik. Two months before the Games began, the USSR invaded Czechoslovakia to crush the Prague Spring democracy movement. So when Caslavska and Petrik stood atop the medal stand after tying for the overall gold medal and the Soviet anthem was played, Caslavska turned her head down and away, and kept it averted until the anthem ended.


… actively involved in the democracy movement. … She was almost denied permission to travel to Mexico City for the Games. But her performances there, the plight of her country, and the eloquence of her protest made her the most popular athlete at the Games. …

Caslavska’s protests had serious ramifications. Upon returning to Czechoslovakia she was denied employment, and she would remain unemployed until authorities finally allowed her to coach a gymnastics club in 1975. …

NY Times

There are many things to protest in China. I wonder if we’ll see any other symbolic podium gestures in Beijing.

Thanks to the Wordsmith from Nantucket.

gymnastics clinic with Julia Spivak

As part of a 6 day National gymnastics coaching course, we spent the day with Choreographer Julia Spivak. She reviewed leaps, jumps, turns and physical preparation for artistic sports.




Most of the coaches were feeling guilty that we do not do enough Artistic preparation with our gymnasts. Clubs in Canada have two problems:

  • not enough training time
  • not enough money
  • Competent, experienced dance coaches and choreographers are normally more expensive than coaches. When the budget is tight, the dance instructor is often the first to go.


    Julia charges around $350 / floor routine including music. It will be original.

    Follow-up work is needed periodically or quality of movement will likely decline.

    gymnastics clinic with Julia Spivak – original photos – flickr

    spivak (at) telus.net

    Sandra Izbasa – Romania – 6.9 start FX?

    Gymnicestics has a most interesting prediction. Sandra Izbasa could compete a record 6.9 A-score at the Olympics and steal the gold medal away from Shawn Johnson, Cheng Fei, Dasha Joura and the others touted as “favourites”.

    Here’s her current routine starting at 6.5.

    Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

    See how she can jump to 6.9 on Gymnicestics.