For Parents Does anyone else have stories like this?

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Proud Parent
Nov 4, 2011
I am going to start of saying that i know every gymnast is different and there is no way to predict their future. I am not looking for advice I really just need to talk to someone who may understand.

My dd was a very brave level 4. She was the first of her group to jump to high bar and do her cartwheel on beam. Half way through her first level 5 year she started being afraid of the cartwheel. Then she was afraid of the beam in general. Now she is starting to be afraid of bars too. Not just new skills either. Everyday my dd says sh is afraid of something different. She is so frusturated with herself Her coaches are constantly telling me how good she would be if she would just get over her fears. I just hate it that she is afraid. Not that i would ever be brave enough to do any of the things she does. She faces those fears every practice. She doesnt give up. I am so proud of her But it has to be hard for her to know she is afraid. I just hate seeing her try so hard and still struggle. I know there is nothing i can do but support her.

I just wondered if anyone else has had experiences like this. I thought it would be nice to know i am not alone.


Proud Parent
Sep 18, 2012
Region 6
Hi! First, you are definitely not alone, pretty much every gymnast will struggle with fears at some point, and a LOT of girls will have these " periods of fear" where many skills will get scary. I'm not a coach, just a gymnast, but I've been through these sorts of things, and so have my teammates, and I have noticed a few trends. I suppose these are in order of likelihood, but not really, it depends on the gymnast.
1)Vestibular issues. Often, if a gymnast is growing, or especially if he/she is having a growth spurt, fear issues and difficulty with skills will arise. I cannot provide the best explanation for why this happens, but basically:gymnastics relies a lot on body awareness and control. When a gymnast goes through a time of rapid growth, (or also a weight spurt, but that is less likely), the body's center of gravity changes a little, and it takes time to get used to the "new" center of gravity and the new height, so the balance, timing, "feel" of skills, both new and previously acquired, can feel off. This "off" feeling can produce a lot of fear issues, even on past skills. I think I phrased this correctly,but I am open to corrections. I haven't really experienced this too much, b/c I am the sort of gymnast whose growth plods along slowly in tiny steps, but a few of my teammates have definitely had this experience.
2) Big falls. Sometimes a big fall/scary fall, even if it doesn't end in injury, can hurt your confidence,make a gymnast "hold back", and cause mental blocks and such. This doesn't have to be on a particular apparatus or skill. A big beam fall CAN cause fears on other events, and a fall on one skill can hurt another. Lastly, and probably a more likely event, is just a wierdly executed skill, especially on beam. Sometimes, your hand won't go on as planned, or it will slide a little, or just some little thing will go strangely, and you'll have sort of a " oh my gosh what just happened?!:eek:". Even if you land the skill, this can be really scary, and can definitely cause mental blocks.
3) pressure. If you said that your daughter was the bravest level four, and has gotten used to being the first to do new skills, or maybe her coach praised her as being the bravest, sometimes, you feel as if you have to "hold up" to that record , and really continue being the bravest . This pressure you put on yourself, to live up to the coaches praise and to hold that " bravest " position can give you issues.
4) anything demeaning confidence? I honestly don't know, but if anything has diminished her confidence in any way lately, that could also have an effect. something at school, bad meet, words from somebody, ect. These things can also cause "Blocks".
Overall, I've suggested what I think are the most common causes for these things. Again, I'm not a coach, just a gymnast. Good luck to your daughter. Everyone goes through these sorts of things, and it will get better. :)(sorry about th length, I'm too used to writing essays!)


Not alone. I was speaking with a friend of mine this week about her daughter's similar fears. She is L6, her second year doing it. She used to do a handstand flyaway - and will no longer do a handstand on the high bar due to fears. Same with a BHS on the beam. Now no twisting. She last lost the desire to try new skills nor re-obtain the skills she had 1-2 years ago. While at the beginning of last year she would have told you she was aiming to try L7, now that is no longer important to her if she has to compete these things.

It is frustrating for both of them. I fear for them that she may elect to discontinue. I hope that you are able to keep your daughter loving what she's doing, and perhaps overcome her fears.


Proud Parent
May 15, 2012
My L6 DD has fear issues w/ her flyaway...she has been doing it well for over a year, but still insists on the coach standing right by the bars before she will do it. Only time she will do it w/o the coach standing there is when she is GOING at a meet - warm-up, she wants the coach there. Coaches have to be soooo frustrated w/ her that I worry they are going to kick her off the team one of these days (like they've got to be thinking " have this skill, I am NOT going to spot you anymore, do it, or get out!!!...).

And this is a kid who would do bhs on the high beam in an empty gym if she were allowed - wouldn't you think a bhs on beam was just as scary as a flyaway? Guess not for her...
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