End of Season Exit: How to Leave Your Gym Gracefully
All good things must come to an end. And, sometimes they end sooner than we would like. Or, maybe they can’t end soon enough. But, no matter what your reasons are for leaving, there are good and bad ways to leave your gym. You’ll want to make sure you do it in a good way because going through life burning bridges is a sure fire way to destroy valuable relationships.
Below are some tips you can utilize to help you make a graceful exit.
Pro tip: Remember that YOU have known about your exit for much longer than your coaches and teammates so you have had longer to process the emotions that comes with it. Give them time to digest the news also.
Good: Talking to your coach first. And not in a text but one on one, face to face. Even if you have an emotionally immature coach that may snap at you in the moment, be prepared for that and understand that it’s their hurt that is speaking. Keep a calm, level head and don’t let their emotions control your emotions.
Bad: Don’t have someone else deliver your bad news because you’re afraid of the reaction. If you must, bring a parent along for emotional support but don’t let them speak for you. This is an important part of life’s lessons. One day you’ll have to have similar conversations with other authority figures in your life and this is good practice.
Good: Be confident in your decision. Be sure to let your coach know why you’re leaving and stand behind your reasons. Don’t be wishy washy or timid. Put on your big girl (or boy) pants and speak your truth in a respectful and positive way.
Bad: If you’re leaving because you’re unhappy, don’t tell everyone on your team that you’re “done” or let your mom run her mouth in the parent section about how you can’t wait for the season to be over. This is bad for morale and reflects badly on you and your family.
Good: Make a quick and clean exit. Don’t drag it out over the last few weeks of the season. Keep the news to yourself until you need to tell your coach and wait until absolutely necessary to do that.
Bad: Don’t run your news up the flagpole for all the world to see. Sometimes it’s best to keep your business to yourself. This is definitely one of those situations. An official announcement is not necessary and only invites drama. If you feel like you need to make a Facebook post about it, you’re overestimating the world’s interest in your life. Just keep it to yourself.
Good: Pick a good time to break the news. Choose a day when you won’t be practicing or when they won’t be coaching directly after you talk to them. And… try to keep the meeting short.
Bad: Don’t tell teammates and coaches at an inappropriate time. Just before you go onstage at nationals is not a good time. Just before your last practice is not a good time. If a teammate questions you during a bad time, keep your answer short but honest. Don’t over explain or speak badly about the coaches or gym.
Good: Speak respectfully of your old coaches and program even if you have bad feelings or had a bad experience. The old saying “If you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all” is the truth. Speaking badly about others says more about you and your character than the people you are bad mouthing. If you feel you must relate a bad experience to someone, keep it honest and don’t exaggerate.
Bad: Never recruit from your old program for a new gym if you’re leaving to cheer somewhere else. Never. For any reason. Don’t do it.
No matter what, remember that you made a decision that is going to affect others. You can’t control how they will react but you can control how you present the information and how you handle any negative feedback. Keep it classy and keep your cool and you’ll hopefully be able to keep valued relationships intact.