A New Organization for Coaches
US Professional Gymnastic Coaches Association
HOW WE GOT HERE
The erosion of the US gymnastics coach has been slow, but steady, Since the ‘one person’ decision-maker method of training was instituted within the US, the personal coach has taken a back seat. By placing our trust into a system that had success in other countries, the personal coach of US women gymnasts, sometimes through fear of retribution, has largely had their voice removed from the decision-making process in training our athletes. Secretive meetings, behind the curtain decisions as to who “made the team” has certainly played a role in the current climate today.
However, the pendulum has swung too far in trying to correct itself. The gymnastics pyramid top caused a huge wave of uncertainty and fear among the coaching ranks, and yet the “top” has not reached out effectively with a clear path outlining the future of the entire pyramid. Instead we find ourselves trying to make sense of the current leadership, the USA Gymnastics (USAG) Board of Directors and the path they are forging…seemingly at the direction of the US Olympic Committee (USOC). We as coaches, as part of the internal training of our athletes at all levels, are wondering when and where the next issue will arise.
There is no direct voice for such an important part of the success equation, the coach. All coaches and judges organizations have been placed in the USA Gymnastics Advisory Council…one of 22 other groups with one (1) vote represented on the USAG Board of Directors. The needs of Special Olympics or the YMCA as part of this Council, for example, are far different from what coaches and judges organizations needs are.
Collegiate coaches organizations, as members of the Advisory Council, are capable of forging their own path as college gymnastics is independent of USAG. They each make their own decisions based on what is best for gymnastics on college campuses.
Gymnastic club owners have a USA Gymnastics Business Seminar, with leaders showing new methods, revitalizing old marketing, etc. to the select owners group. And with the recent formation of new owners organization, the US Gymnastics Club Owners Association, their needs within the gymnastics community are covered.
HOW A COACHES ORGANIZATION CAN HELP CHANGE THE CURRENT GYMNASTICS CULTURE
The development and emergence of a new US Professional Gymnastic Coaches Association (USPGCA) comes at a critical time for our sport as we undergo fundamental and moral code changes. At least five (5) profound challenges presently dominate our sport and the role played within it by the professional gymnastics coach:
There is an unprecedented crisis of confidence in the governance of the sport
There are increasing concerns over the unbridled singular governance of gymnastics
Threats to the integrity of gymnastics are ever increasing, especially through the continual reemergence of inappropriate coach behavior
The pessimistic view that gymnastics has lost its way, that it no longer serves the greater good or promotes the values that make gymnastics such an important sport for the mainstream.
An increasing understanding by the general public that coaches, who make our sports activities possible, are being subject to unacceptable risks, demands and changes to their way of life with little or no input.
The profound nature of these challenges now facing gymnastics call for a strong, independent, professional and well-resourced response on behalf of a most significant stakeholder, the coach. As coaches, to make the changes we need, we must change the moral code from which we all function from— a formal coaches organization can accomplish this.
The USPGCA aims to recognize and ‘hear’ the coaches voice and their concerns. As athletes come and go, the coaches remain the steadfast part of the training equation. With no input, there is no recognizable voice…it is not the recognition we want, but rather the voice to be heard.
STANDARD OF EDUCATION
USAG previously had a science-driven section with the likes of Jerry George, Mas Wantanabe and Bill Sands to name a few. Results of the 1984 US men’s Olympic team and the implementation of the TOPS program for the women show the definitive results of what a science-driven approach can accomplish. We need to again invest heavily in cutting-edge scientific research to assist coaches and athletes, particularly with sports medicine, management, pedagogy, methodology and sport specific skills and training.
US gymnastics coaches work hard at their craft and remain in the middle income earning bracket for most of their career. Coaches in the US have made a huge impact on the lives of athletes, families and the sport itself and should have more direct impact avenues on their future than what is currently available to them for education.
Currently, USA Gymnastics solely decides the educational path for gymnastics coaches. Many other sports rely heavily on a coaches organization to help or guide in this educational process. It is important for the coach have an increased roll and input into the educational plan; the Standard of Education needs to be a collaborative effort.
The USPGCA will bring together a diverse range of coaches at all levels and all disciplines and will proactively adopt a robust, democratic and accountable governance structure. By working with other powerful national specific unions such as an Athlete’s Union and an Owner’s Association, the USPGCA will be the voice for the current under represented coach. Through a national mobilization and outreach campaign, USPGCA will seek to secure the fundamental rights of gymnastic coaches in all disciplines. Our intent is not to control the national governing body’s programming, but to control our own destiny as professional coaches on many fronts.
BENEFITS OF THE USPGCA
Accept employment needs of the gyms AND employment needs of individual coaches, judges, teachers, etc. Currently, USA Gymnastics only accepts, ‘Coaches needed’ by gym owners. If possible, develop a better system of coaches wanting to look or pursue a new employment opportunity without destroying their current position by posting it publically.
Seek relationships with Gymnastics Progressions, Gymneo.TV, IG Magazine, Suppliers, Equipment companies and more for industry discounts or partnerships. Use the power of numbers to attract, solicit and invite cooperation with outside vendors and interested parties.
Provide abilities to obtain heath and dental insurance, and more via group policies.
As the single voice for coaches, the use polls to keep abreast of the issues and concerns. These can be very useful in presenting information forward to USA Gymnastics and other entities.
PARTNERSHIPS/CAREER BUILDING OPPORTUNITIES
Commit to partnering with the United States Sports Academy (USSA), Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA), National Association of Sport & Physical Education (NASPE) (or other educational organizations) to provide coaches with an opportunity to earn continuing education credit through an accredited, independent, not-for-profit degree granting institution.
While USA Gymnastics offers its university courses, there are no pure science-based bio mechanics, anatomy, physics, etc. courses and courses to date do not fulfill any college or university credits. USECA and other current individual gymnastics organizations need to continue their work within their disciplines, and encourage members to seek out and attend USA Gymnastics courses as well as pursuing college credit courses.
Coaches at each gymnastics layer are an underserved community. Each year, veteran coaches, sport scientists and coaching educators expand the knowledge pool of how to coach more effectively, yet the majority of coaches do not have access to this information.
Both the US Departments of Education and Health & Human Services acknowledge better-trained coaches help reduce sports-related injuries by applying risk-management practices which aid in identifying potential hazardous conditions before they threaten athletes. Legal precedents indicate trained sport coaches are easier to defend against accusations of negligence.
THIS IS YOUR PROFESSIONAL COACHES ASSOCIATION
As a most comprehensive coaches network, we proudly elevate the standard. We are coaches, leaders and advisors, dreamers and winners. We build excellent people, not just excellent athletes—we improve athletes lives in many areas—it is not about just winning medals.
We are gymnastics community agents, talent managers, masters of our sport, remaining committed to learning and pushing the limits of our own potential. We build and nurture the comprehensive network of our hardworking peers. We are driven to improve and advance the sport we love through the athletes we lead, through the fellow coaches we are lucky to call peers. This group is where we are celebrated. Through our moral code, this is where we grow and nurture. This is where leadership lives—this is your USPGCA.
OUR VISION REFLECTS WHO WE ARE
USPGCA is the unified voice of gymnastic coaches and leads the industry steering the growth and management of the sport’s coaches. USPGCA will strive to have a dynamic partnership with the governing body on all levels and be the premier driving source of professional development and educational programs on coaching, operations, branding and marketing that assist its member coaches in improving their quality and popularity.
OUR CORE VALUES REFLECT WHAT WE DO
The USPGCA provides its membership three strategic goals to fit within the core services we will offer our peers – Stewardship, Education, Advocacy
STRATEGIC PLANNING PROCESS
The Pro Coaches Strategic Plan 2018-22 will be developed in Fall 2018.
Working with a series of selected topics, the committee will create the basic concepts for the USPGCA’s vision and goals. Through continued communications, the committee will finalize strategic vision and goal statements, as well as formulate objectives the association needs to realize in order to achieve the goals.
STRATEGIC PLANNING COMMITTEE
Members of the USPGCA Strategic Planning Committee will meet and create in Fall 2018 the strategic path for the coaches.
CODE OF ETHICS
The USA Gymnastics Code of Ethics provides a framework of principles and behaviors which coaches of gymnastics follow. The codes success rests with the ability of the coach to embrace and endorse ethical behavior that prioritizes the well-being of the athletes they serve, their own education and exhibit honesty and respect toward colleagues and peers. The US Professional Gymnastic Coaches Association will enforce the national governing body’s Code of Ethics.
OUR EXECUTIVE STAFF
Executive Director, Vice Chairman, Secretary/Treasurer, Director of Membership, Manager of Education, Manager of Marketing
USPGCA relies on its members to help run an efficient organization. The Board of Directors oversees the general operation of the organization and ensures the association has the resources necessary to meet the needs of its members and is composed of voting board members. Daily operation of the USPGCA is handled through the Executive Committee members. Additionally, USPGCA will have multiple committees and working groups that assist in growing our vision and mission.
Member coaches have the opportunity to volunteer on the USPGCA Board of Directors, committees, and working groups. Coaches can also volunteer by manning the service booth at the annual USA Gymnastics Congress. We will also encourage USA Gymnastics to review the extensive list of our professional presenters for continual education at Regional and National Congresses.
Wealth of Knowledge
We are fueling the gymnastics industry growth in everything from nutrition to annual planning. We are THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE COACHES NETWORK and should be setting the standards within our industry for our coaches.
Gymnastics Industry Climate
The climate within the gymnastics industry needs changing, especially the coaches corner. We, as coaches, need to help make these changes. We are elevating the standard—become one of us.
It has been our tradition (USECA) since 1976 to provide forward reaching education for gymnastics coaches. With our new totally separate addition of a 501(c)3 non profit, we open up the avenue for a voice to all coaches within all disciplines.
Coaches who care deeply about education, research, and community outreach are committed to helping you, your peers, in achieving your personal coaching goals.
Alumni located in all parts of the US are ready to welcome you into the Pro Gym Coaches family and offer networking opportunities.
For more information on this organization email:
Chere Hoffman at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tony Retrosi at email@example.com
Michael Guzman at firstname.lastname@example.org