I’ve had a few parents ask why our lobby is separated from the gym by a big glass wall. I usually answer “so that you can nap while we’re in class.” I’ve had parents suggest that our coaches wear microphones so that speakers in the lobby could let parents hear what we are saying. I’ve had parents ask if they can accompany their child in class so they can watch…up close.
Why are we so secretive about what we say in the gym? Well the truth is that we are not. But we do believe that you chose to come to us because you know we have the best gym, the best teachers and the best program. We would ask that you trust us a little further. There is a reason why we are the best, sit back and observe.
It’s not as bad as it sounds. The comments above were made over 12 years of our program’s operation. It’s not like we hear it all the time. Many parents want to be a part of their child learning skills and performing. I understand that; I’ve bitten my tongue watching my own child during his Tumble and Trampoline training and it’s my gym!! But one thing I know is that too many cooks will spoil the broth. In order for our kids to respect and honor their coaches and teachers we must allow the teacher to be in control.
“But I’m just encouraging my child.” There are three points I would make regarding this statement. First is that the child should be listening and learning from the coach. If they are not teaching your child, and you feel the need to step in then save your money and withdraw from the program. If your teacher is not worth the money, then stop spending it. We have never had a withdrawal for that reason in 12 years. Secondly; our goal is to get the child to feel that they are performing for their own satisfaction and not to please their parent. HOLD THE CONTROVERSY! Yes we as teachers need to be accountable for your children learning, but our ultimate goal is to improve the child’s performance and thus the child. Parents are great but we don’t strive to make their children perform for the adults. They have to feel good themselves about what they can do. Often a parent’s encouragement of run, jump, flip, etc. is heard by the child as do it or I will be displeased. We know kids perform and grow better (and happier) when a parent’s support is unconditional. Lastly: When the parent tells the child to do something specific, it may be contraindicated to what the coach is focusing on at the moment. “Yes I need her to run faster but at this point we are focused on the hurdle before the springboard.”In which a faster run could confuse and cause more problems than it’s worth. Too many cooks.
Respect is essential on all sides of the glass. We know that parents should support their kid’s efforts but the best time to do that is after the session. Asking them what went well and what didn’t. If they share thoughts that the teacher should know about, be sure to share that with the instructor. Kids need to respect the coach and the parents too. We often remind children in our program that the reason they are there is because their parents care enough to allow them to come. That lesson has not been lost on us. When respect is shared on both sides of the window, our children grow in skill and in self esteem. That is really all we want, right?