Everything is falling apart lately- coaches, help?

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I am a 24 year old adult gymnast, began working on UB for the first time about 1 year ago. I love gymnastics, I love UB, and I am truly committed (condition outside of the gym, work very hard on my flexibility, try to make the most out of every workout, etc.).
I apologize this is so long, but this is distressing me to no ends.

Lately I seem to be losing some skills and not advancing on others, at all (lets assume this isn't a growth spurt in any direction).
- My kips, which have always been crappy and with strictly bent arms, have actually gotten crappier (pushing the bar away when going up, finishing on stomach, barely making it at all).
- I began working on pushing the bar away at the end of my BHC/barely clear hip so I could kip out of it, but I just CAN'T. I don't get it and always finish in perfect front support no matter what.
- On a similar skilll- I try casting and pushing away, so I could swing down to a kip. I can't. I don't get the skill, my legs hit the mat (I believe I'm strong enough to hold the pike), I throw my head back. It's a whole circus.

- I began working on cast handstands- mainly casting as high as I can. Despite being very, very strong compared to girls my age, I'm nowhere near as strong as I should be for this skill. I can go a bit above horizontal, but nothing further (I focus on heel drive while being tight and pushing down on the bar). My coach has started spotting me for them, and, well, I'm sure he appreciates the fact that I'm thin.
It's not just strength, it's the whole technique- I can barely open my shoulders when needed (even with him spotting me), I can't lean forward when going down, I just.. can't. I can't to the point of tears, actually.
I can't press to handstand (can't straddle press handstand either, unless I'm against a wall. Straddle/pike press headstand is VERY VERY EASY, even with weights. Can do a billion reps, at least), I can't do handstand pushups.
I KNOW my shoulder-opening strength is very weak, but I don't know what to do to get it better. Being 24, most handstand drills I've been given require too much from my wrists (no access to parallettes).

Since I have stress fractures in both my legs UB is all I can do, and it really means the world to me. However, my progress is hindered by a lot of fear and simply not wanting to do things I know I suck at/are very hard and not rewarding. Sometimes the mental work is harder than the physical one, and the longer this goes on, the more unmotivated I get.

At least my forward splits rock.

Thank you for getting this far,
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I feel for you....I know it can be so frustrating, especially to lose skills sometimes. Currently, I'm dealing with that with one of my tumblers. It's not really that uncommon to get skills pretty easily and then temporarily lose them...or get mental blocks. You have to stay positive and keep working hard...getting frustrated only makes the situation worse. Just remember how much you love it and that's why you're there.


Proud Relative
Jan 31, 2008
Hi Maya
I am just going to give you some general advice there are plenty of great threads on the skills, kips/Conditioning/Cast to handstand etc…which you can search for. If you are feeling run down in any way please see your doctor.

Make sure the conditioning you are doing, is building muscle. There is little point in doing more and more reps of press ups (that’s just endurance) move to handstand press ups for example (I realize these are not an option for you).

Sounds like your kip technique could do with some work. Since it seems to be going backwards for you, take the time now to go back and re-learn your kip focusing on doing it well (not just making it). Concentrate on keeping your legs in contact with the bar, since you have a habit of kicking away.
For your cast away kips, practicing simple drop kips may help.

Cast to handstand
Swinging on the PB’s is a great drill for cast to handstands. There are a few dills for opening shoulders which you can do in elbow/headstand. Sometimes the beam can be substituted for a bar to help protect the wrists. You can also use small (heavy) blocks of wood. Make sure they won’t give you splinters or topple over.

Press to handstand
Have you tried stalder rolls? They give you a bit of momentum. As you get better, you can try to lift your bottom higher each time. If you can’t do them on the floor, do them along a padded bench.

Are you including wrist strengthening/injury prevention into your work out?
You could be experiencing problems as you are limited to bars and your body may not be getting the chance to rest up. You don’t want to injure yourself and not be able to do anything, take it slow.

As for the fear/ Frustration, break the skills down, so that you can be successful but also challenged. Find a strategy for dealing with fear (and stick to it). such as counting 1,2,3 GO, there are many threads on this. Mental training is just as important as the physical.

Finally get some time out of the gym, do some cross training, such as rock climbing/swimming/. Perhaps do something that scares :eek: you such as Rollercoaster/Sky dive/ Bungee jump/ Flying these can be great for boosting your confidence in overcoming fear.

Good luck :)


Thank you both, very much.

I realized self-coaching most of the practice isn't helping me; I'm going to ask for more help from the coaches and see if that helps me advance.

Thanks pineapple for the detailed tips- I will actually print those out and tag them along with me everywhere, otherwise I'd forget.

Have a wonderful week,
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