Mental breakdown at practice

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May 29, 2019
Alright so, My practice started off well and I had the feeling it would be a great practice.

We were doing basics on floor and it was going pretty well! Then we got to back extension rolls and back extension rolls to handstand. These are skills that I have had for years, but I just couldn’t seem to make a single one. We went on and did drills for them, and all of my teammates kept moving on and doing harder things with it (like blind drills) while I was still stuck on back extension rolls. I got really frustrated and discouraged.

I am the oldest in my group so I wanted to set a good example for the younger girls and I tried to keep it together.

We moved on to some more basics mostly revolving around bars, but one of my coaches knew something was wrong and reminded me that I could talk to her, I nodded my head and continued working. I still wasn’t able to successfully complete any of the drills we did...

And so we went to beam, still upset and trying to keep it together, and being optimistic that beam would go really well.

We started with beam basics and I could not stay on the beam at all. We then moved on to skills and I was still struggling to stay on the beam and I was falling on skills that I have had for years...

One turn I fell of and was finding it really hard to keep it together... One of my coaches came over and talked to me while the other got frustrated that I couldn’t stick any skills and called me over to do drills. The coach who came to talk to me helped a little, and I went out of the gym to gather myself but I lost it and started crying and had a mental breakdown.

I came back in and was ready to keep working still rattled and discouraged from the other coach who got frustrated at me...

Does it make me a bad gymnast that I had a mental breakdown and started crying at practice?
Of course that doesn't make you a bad or weak gymnast! Everyone gets frustrated. It would be a bad thing if you wouldn't from time to time. Getting frustrated means you care.

And I totally get the setting a good example, but showing that everyone has emotions and that it's OK to show them is very important for them to know too. They won't look up to you less, they just realized that you are human too.

The important thing is to not get stuck in this mindset. Your mind is an incredible powerful tool. You can now think: 'I suck at gymnastics because I had one bad practice' or you can think: 'I had one bad practice, but that's an exception. I am still a good gymnast, because I persevered through it and I am now ready to work as hard as I can'
Many girls have had breakdowns at practice, and their teammates didn’t think any less of them at the next workout. You’re human, and it happens. If the coaches are experienced, they’ll get it. And the one trying to make you do drills was just a bit surprised or frustrated, not disappointed in you.

Don’t let one bad practice consume you. To quote Kelly Clarkson on this, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
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