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WV Gym Mom

Proud Parent
Mar 7, 2022
69
48
My daughter, 9, Xcel Gold this season developed her first mental block... a backwards tumbling block last spring on any connections starting with a ROBHS, after being one of strongest tumblers on her team for years.

This started last March, seemingly out of the blue, and had continued since. It was extremely hard, but after talking to her coaches privately, I decided to never bring it up with her...as she didn't want to talk about it, and I knew I really couldn't help.

As the season is getting closer, and she was hoping to also score out of 4 this year, it was pretty heartbreaking to watch her frustration and not be able to do anything, and her block was spreading to some other backwards skills. Her coaches were great and tried different approaches over the months (letting her substitute, spotting, ignoring the block, various methods over the months).

Not sure what worked other than all of our patience - but last night after practice one of her coaches called me in to watch, as she wanted to show me something. She threw several ROBHSBHS and ROBHSBTs on the floor with no hesitation and no spot! She just said "I just stopped overthinking it". I am sure there will be continuing challenges, but I just wanted to post this to give some hope for many that deal with similar things.

If your child has conquered a mental block, what worked for them?
 

krsam4

New Member
Sep 10, 2022
4
65
Thank you Thank you for sharing this information. It can be challenging to experience this for 1-2 years. The girls seeing their friends learn more and they themselves not progress. Like your gymnast said its about stopping the overthinking and talk in the head. She made the commitment to STOP good for her.
 

Kartrava

Proud Parent
Feb 24, 2020
5
47
Not my child but a gym buddy had to stop all the extra at home practices. She's still working through it but mostly getting it all back now. Sometimes just having the coach there to spot if needed she's fine. Most of the time she doesn't actually need the spot but just the comfort of knowing the coach is there is enough.
 

procmadz

Gymnast
Fan
Jan 11, 2021
28
For DD, she’s always afraid of skills, especially brand new things. The method that’s working right now it lots of progressions. A bunch of practices with drills and coach spots, then a few practices of coach standing there without spotting, a week or two with a teammate standing there, and then DD will do it on her own and be more confident.

I also agree with the posts above, don’t overthink things. DDs jumps on beam only work well and look pretty if she immediately switches form one jump to the next. If she stops but still connects them, she thinks too much about certain parts and her back leg is always bent. It’s the same way for tumbling, if she can do the hurdle and RO in the ROBHS well, then she’ll go for the BHS and do it fairly clean. The trick for some skills is just to stop thinking entirely. Break it down into smaller parts, make it less scary, and figure out what DD is afraid of.

You can’t fix or get rid of mental blocks if you don’t know why, and you don’t speak to your coach. They are there to help your kid do well. Have DD ask for drills or help, maybe even extra spots or practice on that skill. Know that some days will be “off-days”, and maybe the skill won’t look as good, or maybe they won’t land as much, but the rebound can be all the difference DD needs to get back and confident.
 
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raenndrops

Coach
Oct 24, 2009
6,788
The 'Wood, Ohio
My OG took 18 months before she would even do a back tuck on the air track after having the back tuck solidly for over a year. To translate the skill back to the floor, she had to do ROBHS and then RO2BHS and then ROBHS-extra high BHS. She kept trying to make the 2nd one higher and higher until got it high enough that her hands didn't touch the ground. The next pass, she did a proper ROBHSBT.
 

TheXcelMom

Proud Parent
Apr 14, 2022
38
If your child has conquered a mental block, what worked for them?
My daughter was at a gym she loved with teammates she considered her best friends. Their coach let them throw skills without drills and did very little spotting. They just kind of did them. Because they scored well, I didn't think anything of it.
Well, the gym ended the Xcel program after the coach quit. Enter mental blocks. Her RO/BH/BT turned into a RO. No front tuck off beam. No cast-on bars. Complete collapse.
I supported her, offered privates and rec classes...in the end I had to back off and let her figure it out (heartbreaking, but frankly I was obsessed to an unhealthy degree).
She chose a new gym and got onto the XG team because of her XS scores (and the fact that she kept her kip). The coach isn't as "nice" as her old coach. I thought this was going to be a disaster.
Well the coach did drills and conditioning. Drills, conditioning, drills, drills then more conditioning. She wasn't allowed to try skill B until she mastered skill A. More drills. I didn't ask anything specific about anything. Just "how was your practice?" and "are you hungry?"
Three months later...her skills are back. She absolutely flies. She's making friends on her team and her coach thinks she's going to have a great season.

It's hard to hear that when your daughter is struggling the best thing to do is back off and let the coach do their job, but it's really the only solution.
 
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