For Parents How to help a block around an apparatus

Parents... Coaches... Gymnasts...
Gymnastics Questions?
Don't Lurk... We've Got Answers!

New For 2022
MEMBERS ONLY Parent Group!
Join for FREE!

AlexandraU16

Proud Parent
Aug 31, 2021
20
30
Hey everyone! My older daughter, 7.5 years old, has been doing recreational gymnastics since last fall and has really been enjoying it. She has no competitive aspirations but is great at setting her own goals and pushing herself to reach them.
The gym is set up with a karate belt type system for the rec program- they move up to different colors that correspond to different levels. My daughter is “pink” or a beginner and has set herself the goal of moving up to orange by fall. They do periodic evaluations to determine when a kid is ready to move up. At her last eval she only had one thing to work one- improving her casts. She has done that and they look great now.
However, at the end of the term the gym put on a very casual showcase to allow family and friends to see what they’ve been learning. My daughter has always been quick to say beam is her least favorite and she’s always had the least confidence on it but has managed fine. Well the showcase was her first time having an audience watching her as (different than typical parent observation during class- they each went one at a time and it was more formal etc) and it got into her head. She was terrified to fall off the beam because she felt she would be embarrassed if she did with people watching. So she was so nervous and shaky and hesitant during the showcase.

She’s had a few classes since then and yesterday I saw her on beam and she was practically paralyzed. She wouldn’t even take a step without extreme encouragement from the coach or holding onto a classmate’s hand. I’m sad for her because if this continues it will likely keep her from advancing which she is so determined to do.

What is the wisest approach to handling this mental block? Ignore it and let her work it out? Offer tons of praise? What do you do if your gymnast develops a fear in a specific event?

Thanks everyone!
 

Sylvia

Coach
Gymnast
Oct 23, 2021
22
Hey everyone! My older daughter, 7.5 years old, has been doing recreational gymnastics since last fall and has really been enjoying it. She has no competitive aspirations but is great at setting her own goals and pushing herself to reach them.
The gym is set up with a karate belt type system for the rec program- they move up to different colors that correspond to different levels. My daughter is “pink” or a beginner and has set herself the goal of moving up to orange by fall. They do periodic evaluations to determine when a kid is ready to move up. At her last eval she only had one thing to work one- improving her casts. She has done that and they look great now.
However, at the end of the term the gym put on a very casual showcase to allow family and friends to see what they’ve been learning. My daughter has always been quick to say beam is her least favorite and she’s always had the least confidence on it but has managed fine. Well the showcase was her first time having an audience watching her as (different than typical parent observation during class- they each went one at a time and it was more formal etc) and it got into her head. She was terrified to fall off the beam because she felt she would be embarrassed if she did with people watching. So she was so nervous and shaky and hesitant during the showcase.

She’s had a few classes since then and yesterday I saw her on beam and she was practically paralyzed. She wouldn’t even take a step without extreme encouragement from the coach or holding onto a classmate’s hand. I’m sad for her because if this continues it will likely keep her from advancing which she is so determined to do.

What is the wisest approach to handling this mental block? Ignore it and let her work it out? Offer tons of praise? What do you do if your gymnast develops a fear in a specific event?

Thanks everyone!
For me, when I would have a block on something, the pressure to fix it would make it even harder to get over it. I would say, don’t bring it up because that adds more pressure and frustration to an already incredibly frustrating situation. She’ll figure it out on her own time, but if she’s constantly thinking “I have to get over this in order to move up”, it’s only going to make the block worse. If she brings it up to you, then definitely encourage her to keep persevering and do her best, and to let her know that she’s still amazing, whether she’s able to do things on beam or not. Gymnastics does not define her. Best of luck to both of you!!
 

NutterButter

Gold Membership
Proud Parent
Jan 24, 2013
844
I also say ignore it and if she brings it up offer both praise and validating statements (I'm very proud of you...you looked so determined on bars today!). Focus on the effort, not the outcome.

Mental blocks in gymnastics are normal. Every gymnast that reaches the highest levels will face them at some point. Skills just get scary and/or as kids go through puberty they have to adjust to their rapidly changing body. Some kids though are especially lucky and deal with mental blocks for much of their career. Mine was one of them. Every year there was some block. Sometimes the block lasted days, sometimes months. Her sheer love for the sport kept her going. There were lots of times I questioned my parenting/sanity by letting her continue because at times it was THAT hard.

I don't recall my daughter ever having blocks during her 2 years in rec classes however she was initially invited to Xcel vs JO because the coaches could tell she was a cautious gymnast (I didn't learn this until she was invited to JO the following year). There were for sure clues in how she approached gymnastics in rec class at age 8 to the higher level athlete she became.

In your daughter's situation, I would probably consider a change if the beam situation lasts for months - either trying out a different activity (even if you still continue with rec classes) or switching to an acro only class.
 
  • Like
Reactions: GymAir

New Posts