All-Star Rules About Missing Practices

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kewpiekid

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Feb 7, 2019
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Curious what your gym rules are about missing practices and how strict the coaches are if there are frequent/repeated absences. I am one of those people that strongly believe if you threaten something, follow through. I am also a rule follower. This is a brand new team so first year for a lot of people. We all signed contracts back in June at the start of the season. No more than two absences allowed. Period. You come and watch practice if you are too sick to be on the mat. Most have adhered to this rule. A couple have not. One member just missed her FIFTH practice last night b/c she was sick and her mother refused to make her sit through a two hour practice if she wasn't feeling well. We have a big comp this weekend and the girls were not able to go full out. Really frustrating for all. I feel like if you sign a contract, then you know what you are getting yourself into. I also feel like if you are telling families they will be pulled from the team after two absences, you follow through or no one takes you seriously.

What is your gym's policy on absences? Do they follow through? Have you seen girls removed from the team for frequent absences?
 

BlockHead

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At my CP's gym, if there was a comp (big or small) the following weekend, they would have already selected a fill-in that would be competing with them at the comp. Our gym doesn't want things like strep and influenza spreading around more than it already is. If you can't participate in the practices the week before the competition for whatever reason, you will be replaced for that comp. That being said, out athletes are allowed 6 absences during the school year. That includes tumbling. Example - my CP missed practice and tumbling last night. That is 2 absences right there. She already had 4 absences due to influenza A last month (no way was I sending her) and a Taylor Swift concert last September. So she is not allowed to miss any more. If she wasn't feeling well and I sent her in with a doctor's note, she would be able to sit out and she would not be counted absent. We have over 300 athletes and these rules seem to work for our gym.
Personally, I would just continue to be a rule follower and not worry about what the other athletes/families are doing. Let the gym handle that.
 
Apr 28, 2017
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Well, my kid came back from UCA with a pretty severe case of influenza A that had made it past the flu shot, and tamiflu doesn’t seem to do much. She missed practice on Monday because she could literally not have walked to the car without a coughing fit to the point of vomiting-and because, as I told her coach, there is no way I am exposing anyone else to this-because if neither a flu shot nor tamiflu works, we could end up taking out half the gym! She’s slept most of the last 24 hours, and does seem to be getting better.

She hasn’t missed any practices for any reason up until this point of the season, but yeah, she’ll probably miss tonight’s, too. She hates it, I hate it-but at this point, if she gets taken out of the routine for the last competition of the season because she had the audacity to not infect her teammates, so be it. (And fortunately, our next one is still a few weeks out)
 

kewpiekid

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OP here- I think one main issue is we are a small team of 13 and there is literally no one to fill in because our gym is tiny and we are the only full year team, so it totally affects everything if someone is out. Double edged sword b/c they can't practice if someone is absent, and they can't afford to kick someone off the team if they miss too many practices b/c there are no alternates :(
 

kewpiekid

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I was so mad last year when kids were at the gym posting selfies wearing masks and staying they had the flu. Stay the heck home!!! They need to rest to recover to be strong for the competition and they don't need to be getting anyone sick.

I totally agree flu, vomiting, yes stay home. I am referring to the kids who stay home because they "have a cold" or "just don;t feel well", which is the case at my gym, unfortunately.
 
Nov 10, 2015
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Curious what your gym rules are about missing practices and how strict the coaches are if there are frequent/repeated absences. I am one of those people that strongly believe if you threaten something, follow through. I am also a rule follower. This is a brand new team so first year for a lot of people. We all signed contracts back in June at the start of the season. No more than two absences allowed. Period. You come and watch practice if you are too sick to be on the mat. Most have adhered to this rule. A couple have not. One member just missed her FIFTH practice last night b/c she was sick and her mother refused to make her sit through a two hour practice if she wasn't feeling well. We have a big comp this weekend and the girls were not able to go full out. Really frustrating for all. I feel like if you sign a contract, then you know what you are getting yourself into. I also feel like if you are telling families they will be pulled from the team after two absences, you follow through or no one takes you seriously.

What is your gym's policy on absences? Do they follow through? Have you seen girls removed from the team for frequent absences?

This is why culture > rules

In cheerleading especially, it’s not easy to replace an athlete in most cases. Even if you have someone to fill the role for a practice, it’s rarely the same experience for everyone. That kid usually comes from a higher or lower level team and is either stronger than the normal person or less developed. Then as a coach you’re forced to make a decision based on severity of noncompliance between punishing the offender and punishing the rest of the team. You remove the offender and at a minimum the rest of the stunt group has to learn how to adapt to a new member and usually even more than that is affected. Formations usually have to change in order to maximize score because jump/dance abilities are different, etc.

Setting such concrete rules as saying, “no more than two missed practices or you’re off the team,” is setting you up for failure. “If you’re too sick to practice, come sit and watch,” isn’t a viable option either. These are “rules” implemented by a coach who wants to come across as a hard booty, but is really clueless. What if the kid developed a significant medical issue like suddenly being diagnosed as a diabetic, ending up in DKA, and has an ICU stay? Sounds over the top, but it’s happened twice in the last ten years at a program with which I am familiar. These are good kids with good families, and kicking them off the team is extreme when they’re going to be fine to come back as soon as their blood sugar is stable. People say “well that’s a special circumstance,” but if you have such concrete rules, there’s no place for “special circumstances” or you lose your credibility. “They can come watch” doesn’t work either in the case of the kids who’s third missed practice is influenza-related. As soon as other parents found out what the illness was, they’d raise nine kinds of hell about this kid sitting and watching and infecting their children, when all the kid and her parents wanted to do was save her spot.

In baseball, if I want to bench my starting shortstop for a game, I bench them for the game. The team feels the pain for a game, but I can put them back in for the next game. In cheer, because we practice daily and only compete a comparatively few times per year, it’s difficult to bench them for a competition.

Compounding all of the above is the notion in all stars that the athletes’ (read parents) are paying customers. That makes it even more of an obscure situation and difficult to compare to most main stream situations.

Rather than creating such hard and fast rules, coaches should focus on building a team culture where people want to be at practice so badly, that they don’t allow “sniffles” to keep them away. Then when a kid misses, the assumption is that something bad is wrong, not that they’re just blowing off practice.
 
Nov 10, 2015
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Well, my kid came back from UCA with a pretty severe case of influenza A that had made it past the flu shot, and tamiflu doesn’t seem to do much. She missed practice on Monday because she could literally not have walked to the car without a coughing fit to the point of vomiting-and because, as I told her coach, there is no way I am exposing anyone else to this-because if neither a flu shot nor tamiflu works, we could end up taking out half the gym! She’s slept most of the last 24 hours, and does seem to be getting better.

She hasn’t missed any practices for any reason up until this point of the season, but yeah, she’ll probably miss tonight’s, too. She hates it, I hate it-but at this point, if she gets taken out of the routine for the last competition of the season because she had the audacity to not infect her teammates, so be it. (And fortunately, our next one is still a few weeks out)

Tamiflu is not worth the money.

It does not cure the flu. The sketchy research shows that if it’s started within 48-72 hours of the onset of symptoms it MIGHT shorten the amount of time you have symptoms by a day or two, but even that’s difficult to prove. When I discharge my patients with a prescription for it, I tell them if it’s going to cost more than a few dollars with their insurance not to even bother.
 
Jul 31, 2016
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Rather than creating such hard and fast rules, coaches should focus on building a team culture where people want to be at practice so badly, that they don’t allow “sniffles” to keep them away. Then when a kid misses, the assumption is that something bad is wrong, not that they’re just blowing off practice.
This. In our program, the kids really don't just miss practice. Sever illness, SAT/school functions but that is pretty much all I recall.
Personally, I would just continue to be a rule follower and not worry about what the other athletes/families are doing. Let the gym handle that.
And this. Personally if the program could not get a handle on the problem or I sensed my child was way more committed than most others I might reevaluate at the end of the season.
 
May 14, 2018
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OP here- I think one main issue is we are a small team of 13 and there is literally no one to fill in because our gym is tiny and we are the only full year team, so it totally affects everything if someone is out. Double edged sword b/c they can't practice if someone is absent, and they can't afford to kick someone off the team if they miss too many practices b/c there are no alternates :(
That’s probably on the list of cons of being at a small gym.
 

kewpiekid

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Feb 7, 2019
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Tamiflu is not worth the money.

It does not cure the flu. The sketchy research shows that if it’s started within 48-72 hours of the onset of symptoms it MIGHT shorten the amount of time you have symptoms by a day or two, but even that’s difficult to prove. When I discharge my patients with a prescription for it, I tell them if it’s going to cost more than a few dollars with their insurance not to even bother.

And that in many cases, the side-effects from the Tamiflu are worse than the flu symptoms, LOL.
 

BlockHead

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And that in many cases, the side-effects from the Tamiflu are worse than the flu symptoms, LOL.

My daughter and I had influenza A about a month ago. She took Tamiflu. I took nothing. We both started getting sick and ended our illness at the same time. I could have saved 80 dollars because the insurance barely covered anything on her Tamiflu. Next time I will know better.
 

oncecoolcoachnowmom

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Mar 2, 2014
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Curious what your gym rules are about missing practices and how strict the coaches are if there are frequent/repeated absences. I am one of those people that strongly believe if you threaten something, follow through. I am also a rule follower. This is a brand new team so first year for a lot of people. We all signed contracts back in June at the start of the season. No more than two absences allowed. Period. You come and watch practice if you are too sick to be on the mat. Most have adhered to this rule. A couple have not. One member just missed her FIFTH practice last night b/c she was sick and her mother refused to make her sit through a two hour practice if she wasn't feeling well. We have a big comp this weekend and the girls were not able to go full out. Really frustrating for all. I feel like if you sign a contract, then you know what you are getting yourself into. I also feel like if you are telling families they will be pulled from the team after two absences, you follow through or no one takes you seriously.

What is your gym's policy on absences? Do they follow through? Have you seen girls removed from the team for frequent absences?

I mean this in the nicest way possible:

I get it. This is really frustrating for you I'm sure. However (and this is a big however) - You can't control other people's children or another person's ability or inability to reinforce the expectations that they set.

Your best bet and your job as a parent is to make sure that YOUR kid is where he/she needs to be and feeling well enough to participate.

Let the coaching staff worry about the fact that there is a big comp coming and they have not had a full out. That is what they are paid to do. Your season will be a lot less stressful.

As to the question at hand: In school cheer world, my rule was too sick for school = too sick to practice. If you are well enough for school, you should be at practice. I was not the biggest fan of "come to practice vomiting" because I have a child of my own and never wanted to bring anything home to him. Most of my kids were pretty good about being there anyway (as long as they did not miss school earlier or had no fevers or vomiting) because they knew if a comp was coming, missing practice right before it would = an alternate would go in their spot and remain there for the comp and possibly the next comp. It's not something I really threatened because I do not believe in threatening to replace kids, but they knew that it was an option because missing repeatedly leaves me with no choice.
 
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alpaca

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CP used to be at a gym where kids were absent all the time. There were days that half the team was missing. And their performances reflected that. The gym owner never followed through on any consequence and played favorites by excusing absences for his favorites. This made those girls believe that missing so much was OK.

CP's current gym has a pretty strict policy that if you miss at all the week before a comp, you do not compete at that comp. Kids are rarely absent, usually it is due to a school activity that's already been cleared by the coach (Senior sports banquet, Regionals or States cheer event) Kids and parents know the expectations and there really aren't many issues.
 
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