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Fears You Have Overcome

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GikiGirl

Member
Proud Parent
Gymnast
Feb 21, 2009
372
Region 6
Country
USA
I thought it would be cool to talk about a fear you might have had that you managed to overcome. I know I deal w/ fear issues where physically I can do a skill but the fear gets in the way. Not only is it motivating to see that others have overcome a fear, but we also may be able to pick up ideas on how to cope.

I will do one--I had a fear of cartwheel back tuck dismounts off beam. When I was learning this when I was 15 my foot slipped once and I fell on my head. I didn't work the skill again until 10 years later, partly because of the fall and partly out of fear that I would hit my head on the beam.

My new coach wanted me to have it and I considered just going for it (we don't get spots on beam) but I was way too nervous. After a few months about feeling bad for not even working it (I thought there was no hope) I started doing cartwheel back handspring off a low beam w/ mats on the sides, did cartwheel jump and then standing back tuck off beam w/ the cartwheel foot in front, did handstand stepdown into back tuck, then cartwheel tuck off pad beam, then cartwheel tucks and pikes off low beam into the pit, and finally did it off the beam. This was like a 4 month process.

When I was 15 I had a spot and never ended up getting it alone; this way I did get it on my own. There were certain days I wasn't feeling good about jumping to the next stage and on those days I just repeated the drills I had been working.

I swore I would never do this skill but after learning the baby step progressions I got to the point I could throw it. I still get nervous and occasionally feel too 'off' to do it, but it feels good to have conquered my fear.
 

grizzoline

Member
Sep 19, 2008
207
Germany
Backhandsprings. Definitely. They took me years to get and included a ton of very scary falls:D I just hated going backwards and since I'm not flexible at all, bending backwards just feels weird to me. There were times when I wouldn't do them with 2 people spotting me. Now it's far from my favourite skill but I'll do them when I have to.

Another bad one were flyaways off bars. They used to be technically bad, but I'd always do them without any fear. I remember before warmups I'd sneek up on the bars and just do them. Then I lost them, about 4 years ago, and until about 2 months ago I just blanked whenever I tried them. Now they're MUCH better than they used to be, pretty high and floaty on a good day. And they're fun. I still get days when I'm kinda scared though.
 

LittleLady

Member
Feb 3, 2009
215
Vermont
I had nice, high layout flyaways. When I released, my hips were higher than the HB. One day my coach had some Level 8 girls in my group start working high tucked flyaways to prepare them for learning doubles. I had always dreamed of learning double flyaways, so I did a tuck instead of a layout and held on just a bit too long. I did a back tuck above the HB and crashed down onto the bar with my shins and fell head first into the pit. OUCH did that hurt my legs! I had red and purple scrape marks on both legs from my knees to the tops of my feet. For months after that all I could do was tap swings. I just couldn't get myself to let go. I felt totally disoriented, like my mind was in a black hole. My coach had me go to the pit bar and do tap swings and let go when my body was horizontal and just fall onto my back. I did this for weeks. One day I just told myself I was going to do a tuck and whatever happens, happens. My first tucked flyaway off the pit bar was really low and lousy, but each practice they got better and I was starting to feel the timing again like I used to. Eventually I was doing layout flyaways again. It's a great feeling to overcome fear with patience and persistence. I absolutely HATE being afraid!
 

kyliesmith1

Member
Jan 2, 2009
155
Myrtle Beach, SC
I think I'm afraid of everything the first time I do it. If my coach tells me to try something I've never tried before, even if its drill for a skill I'm working on I stand there forever and then almost do it, then finally do the messiest ugliest thing possible before I finally do it correct because I just get so scared at first. I think my biggest fears though are flyaways on bars and anything on beam, except backwalkovers. I will readily do a flyaway as long as a coach is standing there or during a routine but otherwise I will not let go. I'm just so scared of doing what littlelady did. I don't know why, its never happened. I guess I've just heard a lot of horror stories about that. Now on beam, I still haven't been able to quite get rid of my fear of cartwheels. I finally got over my fear of handstands and backwalkovers but cartwheels and frontwalkovers are so scary. I'm starting to do cartwheels on the lowbeam with just a little fear but frontwalkovers are something else. I've done them in the past but its just that if you miss that first foot your doomed to a bad fall even on low beam. I'm very flexible so they're fairly easy to do and can land them 4 out 5 times on beam but its just that one out of 5 that messes me up. Last fall was so scary I haven't done one since but I guess this forum is about fears you have overcome so I guess now I'm going to have to get back on the beam and try them again.
 

nicci1999

Active Member
Gymnast
Dec 21, 2008
799
NH
My fear of falling flat on my face when I do a handstand I managed to get over, and I am dwindling it down for my handstand on beam as well, despite the fact that the beam and I almost became really good friends last week :D. I just kind of told myself for my regular handstands, that even if I start to fall, I know how to fall out of them, both with a front roll and just simply going off to the side.

Oh, and I am starting to get over my fear of the uneven bars, at the moment anyway. I will let you guys know how it pans out when I start doing harder skills lol!
 
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Hattie

Guest
ha this is going to sound so ridiculous but my greatest fear was getting back in the gym again-not just being the person who stands on the sidelines and cheers for her sister! I quit gymnastics after a series of accidents both in the gym and out (basically a very naughty pony who was constantly throwing me off!) shot my confidence to pieces and I left on a real low note, so going to my first class yesterday was a big thing for me-i was so nervous even whilst we were warming up! :eek::p
 

kgymn

Member
Gymnast
Aug 3, 2008
324
Virginia
I was afraid of almost everything when I started back up this summer! Silly things to be afraid of too. Everything that wasn't something they do in a beginner class, basically, scared me. And some things they probably do in those! I could do my cartwheels and roundoffs and handstands. That was about it! Tuck jump on the beam? "I'm gonna die" (even though I can do tuck jumps on a line in my sleep and even pretty far under the influence as well- I can be not ok to drive and be fine doing tuck jumps on a line) Front handspring? "I'm gonna die" Front tuck off the tuble track into the pit? "I'm gonna die" front hip circle? Squat on? anything other than a walk or a hop on the beam? you get the point.

I was afraid since highschool of cartwheels and cross handstands on the beam (never did get afraid of the side handstands. I love those, when they're used as a dismount. I love a move where falling is correct!! LOL) for no good reason. Never got hurt on them. Only once ever missed a foot on either one! If I fell it was from being sloppy, but my first foot always landed on the beam.

Now though, I'm slowly getting over all those fears. I finally just MADE myself do everything I was afraid of, the only one I'm still scared to try is the squat on the low bar. I was all set to try it one day, then read on here that someone's teammate had just broken their arm falling doing one and that sorta, didn't help at all!

I have developed a lot of anxiety in my 'old age' and it translates very much into fear in the gym, even if I know I'm not going to get hurt I was irrationally afraid of even falling. I had to just go ahead and let myself do stuff and fail at them (or prove I wasn't going to fail at them! Either way) and prove that falling isn't going to kill me. Especially not on a resi mat thrown on the foam pit!! LOL... I'm like Kylie, I'll stand there and *think* about doing it just about forever, then do it without even trying to do it right just to prove to myself it's not gonna kill me, then I start actually trying to do it well!

Now in class if someone is scared to try something, I do it first, and I'm all "See, I'm afraid of EVERYTHING and I just did it. Now you have no excuse."

~Katy
 
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CoachGoofy

Guest
I had to retire because of injury, so I had a stupid, inane fear of doing anything beyond a standing backhandspring. We're talking ROUNDOFF backhandspring was a "haha no" (and I'm the crazy girl who used to do whips all the way down a rod floor, and double backs, and tried whip-double back on a dare).

First night in the gym I talked myself into connecting the roundoff and bhs by sheer force of stubborn, so then it was back tucks. That was a whole ton of roundoff 2 bhs until it felt like floating, and then...again...sheer force of stubborn.

As a younger gymnast fear wasn't much an issue, and even as an adult it's so ridiculously specific & as soon as I do it right ONCE I'm good. Thank goodness!
 

gymkat

Active Member
Former Gymnast
Judge
Jun 24, 2008
691
I think the difference between my fears now and when I was 13 and 14 is that my fears are really rational. I wouldn't do RO BHS when I was 13 for a few months because I thought that I didn't remember how to do it, and I would jump sideways onto my head. Yeah, makes a lot of sense when you've been doing RO BHS for 6 years. Now, I'm scared of BHS BHS and RO BHS on beam (but that's because I've whacked my head and legs a few times), straddle back hands (because I've peeled off the front of the LB on the catch and hit just about every body part on the LB on my way to the floor), and flipping vaults (because landing short even once absolutely kills my ankles now).

I guess I realize that when I'm scared of something, it's usually for a good reason, so I try to rationalize it and ask myself why I'm scared of a skill. If it's because I'm scared of randomly wiping out, then I remember that I also tore the joint capsule in my foot on a roundoff rebound. If I'm scared of landing on my face, well, the obvious answer is to have someone stand there or to go extra hard and over-rotate. Lately, I've been telling myself that I've survived for 14 years in gymnastics, so my likelihood of continuing to survive is pretty high!
 

LittleLady

Member
Feb 3, 2009
215
Vermont
Chuckle. These posts are fun to read! I'm not alone when it comes to bad experiences. Back when I was asked to join a team I was doing beam and the coach said to work sissones.(sp?) I wanted to impress the coach so much I did a really high sissone and missed my landing foot and crotched the beam from 3 feet in the air! As I landed in a pile on the floor, I swear, I had the flops. It hurt SOOO bad I couldn't help but scream through my tears, "That hurt worse than having a baby!" Some mothers were watching up in the parent viewing room, and later told me they conversed amongst themselves saying, "How would she know how much it hurts to have a baby!" ( they didn't know I was 33 years old and had a son who was 13!!) It took me a LONG time to get over the fear of doing those dang sissones. Talk about baby jumps on beam. I just couldn't imagine crotching the beam again when the pain was such a clear memory. Gymnastics is as much a mental sport as a physical one. :)
 

kgymn

Member
Gymnast
Aug 3, 2008
324
Virginia
wow... now I'm thinking maybe having a baby can't be that painful LOL non gymnasts are just wusses... haha

~Katy
 

gymkat

Active Member
Former Gymnast
Judge
Jun 24, 2008
691
Yeah, I guess I got used to straddling the beam because it really doesn't bother me very much. I straddled the beam 2 and a half weeks ago on a switch leap switch leap right in front of some compulsories, and even though I don't remember a thing about the fall (I remember going into the leap and then I was looking up at the beam), I managed to sit up, smile at them, and walk off. Apparently it was pretty impressive; one of the little kids screamed and my coach said she was impressed that I could stand up. I still have a huge purple mark, even though the worst of the bruise and beam burn has gone away (I managed to draw blood! I've never done that before!). I suspect it'll be there for a few more weeks, even though it doesn't bother me very much anymore. Fortunately, the matching bruise/beam burn on my arm has also disappeared... I got some awkward questions! For some odd reason, straddling the beam produces absolutely no fear in me the next time I go.
 

GikiGirl

Member
Proud Parent
Gymnast
Feb 21, 2009
372
Region 6
Country
USA
OK, I have another entry on this topic.

I was 15 years old and a level 7, and perfectly fine with all backwards skills. Then one day my mom refused to drive me to open workout, and I wanted to go really bad, so I rode my bike the 15 hilly miles there. My legs were so exhausted that when I went into a backwalkover, backhandspring, back tuck I just wouldn't go for the back tuck because my legs were shaky, but I changed my mind at the last second and it really scared me. From that moment on I was paralyzed by fear to do anything backwards. I worked on other things and went home, then the next day my foot randomly started hurting, and it turned out I had sprained it somehow, and I needed to stay off it for awhile.

During that time in my mind I went over how afraid I was and didn't think I could do any backwards skills, and it got to the point that when my foot was better, I wouldn't even do a back walkover on the floor or a back tuck on the trampoline.

I 'faked' my foot injury longer to bide time, then realized I would have to quit if I couldn't overcome this (L7 was compulsories then). I was afraid to tell my coach because she wasn't a very supportive person.

I wrote out all the backward tricks I was afraid of in order of how scary they were, and promised myself I would do one new thing each day I practiced. I worked on my trampoline at home bouncing forward three times and then right into a backhandspring, and I made my little brother stand there, like he could do anything! It worked, because I just didn't want to quit. I kept telling myself all my hard work would go down the drain and I couldn't let it for such a stupid reason, and I would regret it for the rest of my life.

I got most of the 'slow' things back and things on the tramp, but was still afraid to back tumble. I hit a roadblock, and things got to the point that I was fed up with the rec nature of my gym at the time, and wanted to look elsewhere. I found a gym to try out at and told them I was level 7, so when it was time to show my tumbling, I just told myself to think in my brain like I never had a problem w/ the back tumbling, and just trust my body knew what to do. I threw a RO handspring tuck and then layout, and it wasn't great, but I finally trusted myself again. This whole process took about 4 months, and I fortunately have never had to deal with this overall fear of going backwards since then.

I know gymnasts who develop 'backwards blocks' and even as like level 9s do all front tumblign, etc. for that reason so I am really grateful I was able to overcome it.
 
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peace.love.gymnast

Guest
I just got back to training some skills last September/October. I was surprised to find that I was very afraid of trying any RO tumbling sequence. One day I finally just went for a RO BHS BHS & prayed the coach would catch me if anything happened (undercut quite a bit...buy hey, I'm still alive!). It's so weird to me b/c standing tucks are no big deal for me, as well as many skills on bars...I don't get myself sometimes. I think I'm mostly afraid of hurting my back while doing a skill, as I have had several injuries to it in the past. Slowly though I am getting over my fears & trying the things that used to be so simple for me :)
 

stargazer

Member
Gymnast
Oct 24, 2010
191
Ottawa
My most debilitating fear was definitely back walkovers. I was in rec, and in order to connect my cartwheel to back walkover, I was told I had to switch my back walkover leg. Without switching they were pretty good, but having to stand and fall backwards on a different leg seemed like the scariest thing in the world to me. You've seen people fall back and kind of bail and just end up on their head right? I was terrified of doing that. Mostly because the time I finally got up the courage to do one, I fell very hard on my wrists (thought I'd broken my arms but that was my imagination running away with the pain). I guess I just severely strained the muscles by falling so hard, but that was it for back walkovers for ages! I worked my way back up to being spotted for millions of them just to get the feeling right, then did them on a crash mat. This took me around a year. I think I was about 11 or 12?

Once I was confident in that my body was used to doing them differently now I was much more willing to try them. By that point, it was like the second I did one and didn't hurt myself I knew I could do them.

That's kind of been how I approach new skills now actually! Now that I'm doing them on beam and realized that in competitions there are no low beams to warm up on, I warm them up on a line and go straight to high beam. The first one is almost always a write-off, but as soon as my body remembers what it feel like to go for it and not die, the skill becomes much easier.

My most recent/current lingering fear is front handspring front tuck. Last summer I did a set that was so high I actually ended up rotating and landed on my neck. That scared me for ages but this september I decided I really want this skill more than I'm scared of it. When I bail on it I just bend my legs and kill the bounce. There have been a few times where I'll throw the tuck anyway (don't worry I'm aware of where my body is an everything), just to get the feeling of connecting the two elements. I'm going to try the whole 'look at your hands the entire time' thing to see if that helps me stop over-thinking the tuck. I did do the skill a couple days ago and I was extremely proud of myself, so I'm looking forward to training tomorrow and working it over and over again!

Bottom line: As soon as I do the skill I'm afraid of once, no matter how bad it is, my body gets the feeling of the skill and I'm much more confident throughout the rest of my attempts. It always feels great to overcome a fear!
Whoops, wrote a bit of a novel there, guess that quickreply wasn't so quick :p
 

kyliesmith1

Member
Jan 2, 2009
155
Myrtle Beach, SC
Everyday is somewhat of a battle with fear for me but it feels i am normally able to overcome them. Somehow I have started tsuks & yurchankos on vault despite all my fears of vault at the beginning. I also am able to do backwalkovers on beam as well as backwalkover backtuck dismounts with no spot and even giants on strapbar by myself. Still I have this weird fear of landing my front tumbling. I need to get my fronthandspring front tuck but I can't even land my fronthandspring properly on the floor. I can do it fine onto a matt even when its higher than the floor. If anyone has any suggestions please let me know.
 

liseybeast

Member
Sep 5, 2010
71
NYC
I'm glad this thread was brought back because I feel like a lot of us have been expressing fear of skills lately. The problem I have is getting used to the falling feeling like in handstand forward rolls... they freak me out so much! I feel like if I can do them my handstand will be more confident. I'm scared of doing my handstand and falling over back even though I know if I start to fall that way i should try to just twist sideways out of it. I also have my crazy fear of back tumbling after landing on my head and pulling my deltoid. I decided to take a couple weeks off of gym and see if that helps.

I need to get my fronthandspring front tuck but I can't even land my fronthandspring properly on the floor. I can do it fine onto a matt even when its higher than the floor. If anyone has any suggestions please let me know.

I was talking to a friend in my class about fhs on a mat v. floor. It seems like on a mat they're easier because you get extra spring from the mat, so on the floor you need even more power. I'm really good at landing on my butt :)
 

Terpsikhore

New Member
Oct 6, 2010
46
England
I'm scared of everything! Haha. I'd like to tell myself it's because falling hurts more when you're an adult, but there are people twice my age at the gym who throw themselves into skills without a second's thought. ;)

I have managed to achieve a squat-on on the vault, though. Before starting gym classes, the last time I went near a vault was in high school, when I tripped on the springboard and took out a front tooth on the edge of the vault table! Then at adult gym, the second time I tried vaulting, I dislocated my thumb. Oddly enough, I think that helped... every time I run towards the vault now, I'm so preoccupied with thinking 'keep your thumbs in keep your thumbs in keep your thumbs in' that I forget to be scared about tripping!

Oh, and despite refusing to cartwheel off the end of the beam, I'm getting much closer to landing my cartwheels ALONG the beam...go figure. :p (Although I only land about 1 in 10, and on about 75% of the failures I end up straddling the beam. Something tells me I won't be trying this on the high beam any time soon...!)
 

elitehorses

New Member
Sep 12, 2010
13
I realize that as an adult I'm a lot more timid than I ever was as a kid. When I first started my adult class seven months ago I could do a roundoff bhs without a second thought. Then we started moving them off the tumble track and onto the floor and I did a fantastic head plant bhs and now I can't even do them into the pit where I know there really is no way for me to injure myself.
 
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