For Parents Moving forward with tumbling block on beam

spider_monkey

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My dd is 12 and currently competing level 6. The past 2 seasons have been rough with unfortunate injuries, but this year she's finally injury-free. Unfortunately, past injuries have led to a backwards tumbling block on beam. She worked through some mental coaching over the summer, and was able to get her bhs back and ready to compete this year. Then she lost all back tumbling on beam just as season was starting- including bwo and bhs. She had to completely re-work her routine mid-season, and is now scoring and placing well doing a roundoff.

So the question is, should I encourage her to work to get the back tumbling back, or just forget it? Her coach is very laid back and is fine with her doing a roundoff, and even a cartwheel/roundoff for level 7 next year if necessary. She's already training it. We've had other gymnasts from our gym score very well in level 7 with that acro series. I talked to dd about it and she says she never wants to go backward on beam again. (She's fine with backward dismount, just not ON the beam). She's frustrated that she worked so hard to get it back, only to lose it again- she doesn't want a repeat of that. She is not focused on college gymnastics, she does it because she loves it. She is, however, very talented, and would like to continue on through levels 7/8/9etc. Will the lack of back tumbling on the beam hold her back from these goals? I was thinking of trying out Doc Allie, but if other mental toughness training failed in the long run, I'd hate to spend the money/effort on something that will just upset her if it ends up failing also.
 

HoldThePhone

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In my experience with my own gymnast, mental blocks don't just resolve after getting skills back once, or even twice. We did work with a mental coach who made a world of difference (not Doc Ali), and her strategies continue to help my daughter. I feel like we have finally turned a corner with backwards tumbling on beam, and even though the fear is not completely gone, it's improved immensely. We are very conscious of it, and when she feels things starting again, she uses the strategies she's learned to combat those feelings of fear and they really do help!

As far as not going backwards ever again, I know there are front skills that can take the place of going backwards, but that would have to be up to you/your gymnast and her coaches to see if they are feasible for her goals long term!
 
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Oopski

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If her stance right now is that she never wants to go backwards again I wouldn’t push it. Adding pressure to her won’t help her do it. Especially since the coach seems willing to work with her. I wish all coaches were like that! She may surprise you in the future and change her mind, or she may not, and that’s ok too.
 

cogymmom2dd

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Kudos to your coaching staff for being willing to work with her and modifying her routines to accommodate her where she is. There are some gyms that wouldn’t be as accommodating. I have a cousin whose DD was at an ‘elite’ gym, and suffered a pretty bad concussion after a fall doing backwards tumbling on the beam and could never get over her mental block. Her gym was not willing to work with her on anything once she was cleared to start tumbling again and she ended up quitting altogether. They never told my cousin that her daughter had other options, they just had a reputation to uphold and a BHS on beam was a level 6 requirement for their team.
My DD1 is 11 and has had so many issues with backwards tumbling on the beam on levels 6 and 7. I think there’s a lot going on with these girls developmentally, both physically and mentally/emotionally at this pre-teen age and it creates more fears- add in any injuries and it probably is many times more intense.
Personally, I wouldn’t push the issue. Allow her to continue competing without the tumbling, if she’s scoring well, that’s great. It will keep her confidence. Maybe see if the coach will still try to encourage her at practice with spotting. My DD has overcome her fear, but will not compete a BHS at competition unless she gets spotted during warm-ups and the coach stands right beside her (doesn’t touch her) while she competes and it’s working well thus far. She just told me the other day that her goal for summer uptraining is to get a BHS series for next season, so there is hope!
 
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spider_monkey

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Thank you for your responses! I'm definitely not wanting her to feel pressure by me at all. I am of the opinion that mental blocks are real and normal developmentally. I just don't want to "fail" her I guess, by not encouraging her to work though it or providing her with the tools to do so, especially if she will absolutely need those back tumbling skills in the future. She's working on her aerial and front handspring right now, so hopefully she can add those to her skills in coming levels. I'll just let her be and see what happens.

As for gyms that won't work with kids with tumbling blocks, I just don't get it! I can't imagine the stress that must put those poor girls through. I'm so glad we have a coach who will work with the abilities and skills of each individual gymnast.
 
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CLgym

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Not sure about L10, but we have a L8 who competes a dive CW-RO series (scores well), and a L9 who competes a side aerial-RO series (or maybe it’s the other way around — dive CW-aerial?). At L8 they can do a FWO as the single acro, and a front aerial/toss/tuck at L9. My DD has always struggled with acro on beam — It is definitely an up and down process, and not one that you can push.

All that being said, I do think coaches like for their gymnasts to go backwards on beam. My DD (repeat L8) was training the dive CW-RO connection successfully all summer, and then mid-October her coach decided she wanted DD to start going backwards again (she had tentatively competed a BWO-BHS last year at L8, for a 0.1 hit to start value). So DD is now back to working that BWO-BHS series and, let me tell you, the struggle is real.
 

Happyfeet

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Thank you for your responses! I'm definitely not wanting her to feel pressure by me at all. I am of the opinion that mental blocks are real and normal developmentally. I just don't want to "fail" her I guess, by not encouraging her to work though it or providing her with the tools to do so, especially if she will absolutely need those back tumbling skills in the future. She's working on her aerial and front handspring right now, so hopefully she can add those to her skills in coming levels. I'll just let her be and see what happens.

As for gyms that won't work with kids with tumbling blocks, I just don't get it! I can't imagine the stress that must put those poor girls through. I'm so glad we have a coach who will work with the abilities and skills of each individual gymnast.

I saw your post and wanted to reply to you (I'm a long-time lurker, parent of gymnast and also a children's mental health therapist and thought I might be useful...).
1) Yay for being injury free - such an exciting time for your daughter, let her enjoy it!
2) Working through anxiety of any type for anyone is a CHALLENGE and not an easy road. In order to work through anxiety someone needs to be motivated to do so. In the case of gymnastics and your daughter from your description it seems she has found a way to work around the problem with front tumbling. For now it sounds like she and her coach are happy with this arrangement (celebrate this).
3) Life is long... in the future if your daughter changes her mind and wants mental coaching to overcome the problem get it for her then. It will be more meaningful for her and won't cause conflict between the two of you. In the meantime some things which will help - don't call it a "mental block" giving it a label gives more power to it. If you refer to it at all I would use language like _________ prefers tumbling forward on beam or _______________ finds forward tumbling easier. Framing the choice of skill your child prefers will give her ownership and in the future she can always opt to do backwards tumbling.
4) In future if you are looking for mental coaching support any good CBT (cognitive behavioral therapist) should be able to provide skills for your daughter in about six sessions (maybe slightly shorter or longer depending on her learning speed) which she can use on an ongoing basis to work through if she wishes. It could be Doc Ali but doesn't have to be.
 
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cmg

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My dd is 12 and currently competing level 6. The past 2 seasons have been rough with unfortunate injuries, but this year she's finally injury-free. Unfortunately, past injuries have led to a backwards tumbling block on beam. She worked through some mental coaching over the summer, and was able to get her bhs back and ready to compete this year. Then she lost all back tumbling on beam just as season was starting- including bwo and bhs. She had to completely re-work her routine mid-season, and is now scoring and placing well doing a roundoff.

So the question is, should I encourage her to work to get the back tumbling back, or just forget it? Her coach is very laid back and is fine with her doing a roundoff, and even a cartwheel/roundoff for level 7 next year if necessary. She's already training it. We've had other gymnasts from our gym score very well in level 7 with that acro series. I talked to dd about it and she says she never wants to go backward on beam again. (She's fine with backward dismount, just not ON the beam). She's frustrated that she worked so hard to get it back, only to lose it again- she doesn't want a repeat of that. She is not focused on college gymnastics, she does it because she loves it. She is, however, very talented, and would like to continue on through levels 7/8/9etc. Will the lack of back tumbling on the beam hold her back from these goals? I was thinking of trying out Doc Allie, but if other mental toughness training failed in the long run, I'd hate to spend the money/effort on something that will just upset her if it ends up failing also.
My daughter is training L10 and does not go backwards on floor or beam (except for a required back tuck on floor). It is harder because you have fewer options and the skills are harder due to the "blind" landing, but it can be done. Luckily my daughter is good at front tumbling so that is ok. What ever you decide, as many have already said, don't pressure her to go backwards. You are lucky you have coaches that are willing to work with different skills. As many have said, some gyms have one way, their way, and would not be flexible with their requirements. Best to just sit back and let your daughter figure things out with her coach. It is hard, but I have had to learn not to stress over these things as they have a way of working things out. And it is not the worst thing in the world to have a start value lower than 10 once you get to the higher levels.