Level 5 gymnast "bailing" on RO bh bh: Please help!

DON'T LURK... Join The Discussion!

Members see FEWER ads



Hello, folks!

I am a Level 5 coach in the Midwest. My current group of Level 5 girls are preparing for next year's Level 6 competition.

One of my top girls has been "bailing" on nearly every round-off back handspring combination and every round-off back handspring-back handspring combination she attempts. This is odd, because she performed it flawlessly all season.

She occasionally bailed on it when she first learned the skill. For months, she was fine, and frequently placed in the top 3 on floor at meets!!!

But now, she does the round-off and freezes. Today, she bailed on the back handspring part of it ... she pulled out of it after she arched back, bent her arms, and nearly fell on her head. I'm worried about her safety.

I've tried everything I can think of. I've had her go back to basic round-off drills, back handspring drills, etc. I am running out of ideas on how to help her.

Obviously, she cannot be promoted to Level 6 unless she can get past this mental block. She's one of our top girls.

Do any of you out there have any suggestions? I would love to hear from gymnasts who have struggled on this skill ... and coaches, too!

Many thanks!
Hello and welcome to the CB! I am not a coach but am a parent of a Level 4 10-yr-old gymmie. She has had this "bail-out" problem with the ROBHS for the past year and a half. This is my dd first year in gymnastics (she did all star cheer from the ages of 6-9). My dd's coach has had to just take it slow with her and keep doing drill after drill and repetition after repetition with her. She has also had to re-train her mind and start thinking more positive thoughts and to learn to focus on the skill and ignore the distractions. Here is a great 8 part segment on Coaching Through Fear with Dr Alison Arnold. It is definitely worth the time to watch these vids. They WILL help:

Doc Ali: Coaching through Fear, Part 1 | September 8, 2008 on Gymnastike

Good luck and be patient with her--I know it is frustrating. Try not to emphasis the "needing this skill to move up to Level 6" too much--this may be stressing her out as well. We are here for you whenever you need advice or just need to vent!!!

Thank you for the warm welcome, Kathy! I really appreciate it. Your daughter has a wonderful coach, it sounds like! I really do think patience is the key when it comes to bailing.

Also, I know this particular girl struggles with confidence, despite her many impressive achievements. I am definitely going to check out the link you posted. THANKS AGAIN!
I had some trouble with the ROBH too when I first started. The main thing that helped me to stop bailing was just practicing by myself in front of a mirror. I refused to do it in front of anyone, but once I was alone I wouldnt stop doing them. Hope this helped?
I just want to second MdGymMom's advice. My daughter developed mental blocks w/her RO BHS BT at Level 6. She finally had what I call a "mental breakdown" over the whole gymnastics issue and wanted to quit. HER coaches just kept pressuring her to "just do it" and it wasn't working. I am glad to hear that you are backing your girl back down to where she is comfortable and trying to work up from there. It may take a L O N G time to get this skill back. I've heard of a lot of girls who cannot get over this fear and end up leaving the sport.... I think this is something you can definitely work w/her on, but as I said, it may take some time IF she wants to get over it.

Katy has finally relearned this skill after about 7 months or so. But it has been hard work on both her and her new coach's part. (we switched gyms after her meltdown). She was finally determined to get it back and worked on it in the basement with no one around until she felt comfortable enough to do them again. Keep in mind, this was after months of trying to work on them in the gym as well. . .

Good luck!
Emphasize that NOT going for the skill is better than bailing in the middle. A fall due to bailing will probably just make the problem worse. Work on lots of ro rebounds, ro jump to flat back onto resi and/or elevated mats, and any other bhs drills you like to work to get her comfortable with going backwards.
Be patient with her and let her know that you have confidence in her ability. Don't be afraid to take a few steps back every so often if the fear seems to be creeping back in. Some days are better than others so let the progression depend on her. It's better to have her work on basics and building up her confidence than pushing herself too far too fast.
Welcome to the Chalkbucket!
My daughter did this. She was moved back from level 4 to level 3 due to this. She would do the ro and just stop. I think the stress of learning new skills got to her. Plus she hit a major growth spurt. Her coaches have been great. She has been allowed time to get over this. A couple of weeks ago, she decided she was ready to throw the skill. She did it. :) I think once the stress is removed your gymmie will do it. Just don't pressure her. :)
As a coach I have noticed that a bhs often disappears when a second or third BHS or BT is begun to be added. My head coach says it is the body/ minds way of getting out of the harder skill (which is the one they are really afraid of). If they don't do the BHS they can't add the tuck or 2nd.3rd BHS. Funnily enough this seems to happen a couple of weeks after apparently mastering the harder skill. Like they wake up one day and realise they are doing something scary and want to back down but everyone is assuming they have that scary skill now so they start bailing on the skill before to hide their fear. Your girl might be subconciously thinking if I dont do the BHS I wont be considered ready to do the BT.

I would stick my neck out and say your girl is feeling pressure to continue her good floor results at level 6 and she isn't ready. It is often the kids who shine early who hit the fear wall hardest. I think emandels mom is right. Tell her she can stay a fantastic level 5 until she is ready to go 6 and concentrate on relearning her BHS. Would her parents and the gym back you on this? If you or they push her on going 6 you will lose her altogether.
At the end of each year we have a gymnastics display and last year for about 2 months before the display i was RO BHS BT just fine and there are 3 sessions in one day.
The first 2 sessions i was able to do the skill and then one of my friends hurt her neck warming up and was taken away by an ambulance. Of course the 3rd session of the day i wasnt able to do it and did only do my first one the other night since then (it took almost 4 months!). My coach obviously had been trying to spot me and kept telling me that she believed i could do it. Maybe try asking her if it's scaring her or if she has seen something that has made her scared of the backflip. Have you tried spotting her? and helping her until she is comfortable and make your you tell her you know she can do it!
hope this helps :)

New Posts

DON'T LURK... Join The Discussion!

Members see FEWER ads

Gymnaverse :: Recent Activity

College Gym News

New Posts