Coaches Mental blocks/not doing skill

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Sep 18, 2008
My daughter keeps getting mental blocks. Once she overcomes one, she will develop another. She will just one day not go for a skill or two. Right now it is her back tumbling and giants.

She just recently got her giants, but bars is (normally) her strongest event. It is almost like she is afraid to succeed.

Any suggestions? Thoughts?
How old is she? From about 10 years of age girls brains change significantly. Young kids think in a concrete way, what you see is what you get. If you tell a young kid to do a backhandspring or a giant they will often just do it without much thought. Once a child reaches about 10 years of age they begin to think in the abstract and can start to think ahead and imagine things they would have never considered before. Now if you tell them to do a back handspring they can picture themselves landing on their heads, even if it hase never happened. This does settle down again as kids get older abd begin to think more realistically and realise that the odds of that happening are not quite so high if it has never happened before.

The most important thing in over coming a mental block or fear isssue is desire. The desire to do the skill needs to be stronger than the fear of the skill. Both feelings cant exsist at once because one will be stronger and one will win. If the fear is stronger she wont do it, if the desire is stronger she will. How to create this desire will vary from child to child.
In my experience, it often helps to try to take the pressure off the kid, as backwards as that seems. When a kid feels pressured to do the skill, it just increases the stress associated with it, and scares them more.
She just turned 15 last week. She did a little better on her tumbling last night. We'll see how bars goes tonight.

In talking with her, I get the feeling that she does want to succeed, but she is now old enough to realize the responsibility that comes with being a success. I think that is what is scaring her. Of course, I could be totally wrong.

I told her last night that I am thinking of taking the option away of if she will do regular optionals or if she is going to do Prep-Op. That way her choice options change from if she wants to compete the USAG optionals or the AAU Prep. I told her that we may tell her that she WILL compete USAG optionals, the part that will be up to her will be how she scores in it.

She sets such high expectations for herself, that I can see her lowering her standards to an easier goal in order to prevent the chance of "failing." She, however, has every skill needed to compete in level 7, so I don't see that giving her the choice of under achieving as helping her.

I hope a lot of this is just being a teenage girl, because she has always been so self-assured and confident until this last year.
Gymnasts of all ages go through peaks and valleys, highs and plateaus during training.

I use a lot of mental imaging and repitition of progressions if i have a gymnast in your daughters situation.

Just tell her to keep positive and remember that she is S.T.B. (Simply The Best)

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