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Help- Backwards issues!!

Gymmomlisa

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The fear of backward tumbling is very common but sometimes gymnasts are the only ones at their gym struggling so they feel like they are the only ones in the entire world with these issues. There are so many ways to deal with this yet each gymnast is unique and you have to find out what works for your daughter. Having a flexible gym is crucial. Not all gyms would allow for alternative beam series, tumbling passes etc. My daughter struggled with connecting two back handsprings at Level 4. Managed to get through compulsories and in Level 7 just didn't do the back layout requirement and took the deductions. In Level 8 she did a roundoff back layout with a 1/2 twist on the side of the floor so the coach could stand there like another poster mentioned. She is hoping for Level 9 this year but admittedly she is really 8 and 1/2. I think the deduction for not doing backward skills on floor is .1 (we had a judge come to our gym to assist with requirements) Her front tumbling is very strong so she relies on her strength in this area to carry her through. She will do a front vault this year. She was doing a series with a back tuck on beam and had it all summer until she had to take a couple of weeks off due to a concussion she got in September, now she doesn't have her back tuck again. We have had so many ups and downs, tried every possible method to help her self confidence and improve her ability to handle her fear. Ultimately it is up to the gymnast. She just turned 16 yesterday. She still has backward issues, but I let her deal with them mostly herself. Her coach and I work together to try to minimize her stress. As each competition season approaches she tends to lose skills. I am sure you have all seen this, over the summer everything is going well, they are getting their skills and then they get back in school and the pressure for competition season starts, and all of a sudden they lose key skills. Eventually mid way through the season they start to get things back.

Patience is a virtue with these fear issues and you really just have to sit back, don't put more pressure on them by asking when you pick them up every day if they got their skill, let them talk to you if they want, and let the coaches handle it. It is very hard to do this as a mom watching your kid struggle and not meet their goals or reach their potential, but ultimately it is up to them. There have been many times I think to myself, is this really the sport for my kid? The gymnasts who succeed are so strong mentally maybe my daughter would be better in a different sport where she would not have to worry about these fears? But as of now she still loves gymnastics. So I still support her in anyway I can. She is hoping to do college (as a walk on, lower level program) but I know this is a very long shot given her limitations and the fact she is only a Level 9 at 16. I get all that. But if the stars all align maybe she can make it. In the mean time I just try to support her, not add more pressure on her, and love her unconditionally. Hang in there it is a long and winding road....
Thank you so much for taking the time to write all this. I actually read it twice cause this is so relatable and supportive. You are absolutely right about summer. She did great...preparing for level 7...and she just lost it all including confidence. I agree, as soon as school starts its the prep for the new season. Such stress. And she’s alone in this struggle at the gym which is also embarrassing to her. I will take your advice and just have patience and let her be. I have been that mom asking her,” well did you do this and that. “ lots of luck to your daughter too! It is definitely a winding rollercoaster ride. This support means everything!
 

OrchidZ

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Here's my concern. She's 13. She doesn't want to work on the issue; I get that. She's probably tired of talking about it, thinking about, and it being an issue! She probably just wants to be left alone. I totally feel that!! But there's a lot of breadth for experiences and life out there after age 13 level 7. What are her goals? Does she hope to make level 10? College? Is this sport for her health and enjoyment alone?

Are there front skills she can do instead, sure. But she won't have overcome that Beast. She would have just avoided it, and if it's spread to the flyaway and back tuck, you can't guess where it might turn up again. Stacey Herman said on Facebook, "If you're not getting to the root of the issue, it WILL come back. Do you want a solution? Or another coping strategy?" Because one of those can help long term, and the other doesn't.

More thoughts, but I have a question first. What is the coaching style like? Do they do progressions and build the skill? What do they do if she struggles? Or are they the, "Just chuck the skill and then we'll make corrections" type of gym?
 

Gymmomlisa

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If she wants to stay Level 7 and score out to Level 8, she does have options in Level 7 with supportive coaches.
Beam, she can do a Cartwheel-Cartwheel and a roundoff or dive cartwheel ... or just Cartwheel-dive cartwheel or Cartwheel-Roundoff. On Floor just take the 9.5 Start Value and do 2 front passes. Examples: Front handspring-Front Tuck. Front handspring-Front Pike. Front tuck-Front Tuck. Front Tuck-Front Pike. Front tuck stepout-Front Handspring stepout-Roundoff.
On bars, she could do a swinging 1/2 turn to face the low bar and swing back and do a front tuck dismount.

It would require her gym to allow her out score out though.

The other option would be to compete Xcel Diamond until she can work past the block.
Thanks so much! It’s good to see there are other options!
 

Gymmomlisa

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Nov 23, 2019
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Here's my concern. She's 13. She doesn't want to work on the issue; I get that. She's probably tired of talking about it, thinking about, and it being an issue! She probably just wants to be left alone. I totally feel that!! But there's a lot of breadth for experiences and life out there after age 13 level 7. What are her goals? Does she hope to make level 10? College? Is this sport for her health and enjoyment alone?

Are there front skills she can do instead, sure. But she won't have overcome that Beast. She would have just avoided it, and if it's spread to the flyaway and back tuck, you can't guess where it might turn up again. Stacey Herman said on Facebook, "If you're not getting to the root of the issue, it WILL come back. Do you want a solution? Or another coping strategy?" Because one of those can help long term, and the other doesn't.

More thoughts, but I have a question first. What is the coaching style like? Do they do progressions and build the skill? What do they do if she struggles? Or are they the, "Just chuck the skill and then we'll make corrections" type of gym?
Hi thanks so much for your feedback! There was a time where she was open to trying and having privates to work on the issue, but I think she has given up. She says “what’s the point I’m scared.” And yes she doesnt want to talk about it. I know she’s not interested in competing in high school, so we have just been being in the present. She’s not sure what other things she might want to do in the future. I do want to help her fix the beast but also have her relax with an alternative to take the pressure off. Her coaches get it and they have been supportive, however with so many other girls to train at the same time, there is just so much attention that they can give to her before moving on. They have tried slow progressions. I know my daughter has to put effort in too. Coaching can not happen when her low confidence prevents her from putting in the effort. Thank you again for this!!
 

Flyaway

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My dd went through this last year. I've written about her struggle with her backwards block here a few times. For her, Stacey Herman was the answer. I highly recommend at least a phone consultation. You can find her on Facebook under the page Athletes Who Settle For More.
 

Gymmomlisa

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My dd went through this last year. I've written about her struggle with her backwards block here a few times. For her, Stacey Herman was the answer. I highly recommend at least a phone consultation. You can find her on Facebook under the page Athletes Who Settle For More.
Thanks so much! Will check her out!!
 

OrchidZ

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My dd went through this last year. I've written about her struggle with her backwards block here a few times. For her, Stacey Herman was the answer. I highly recommend at least a phone consultation. You can find her on Facebook under the page Athletes Who Settle For More.
Stacey Herman was going to be my recommendation as well if your girl is in a supportive gym environment. If not, looking at a change might be in order.

Good luck
 

cmg

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Thank you so much for taking the time to write all this. I actually read it twice cause this is so relatable and supportive. You are absolutely right about summer. She did great...preparing for level 7...and she just lost it all including confidence. I agree, as soon as school starts its the prep for the new season. Such stress. And she’s alone in this struggle at the gym which is also embarrassing to her. I will take your advice and just have patience and let her be. I have been that mom asking her,” well did you do this and that. “ lots of luck to your daughter too! It is definitely a winding rollercoaster ride. This support means everything!
Just so you know we also tried a variety of help trying to find the source of the issue. It is complex to say the least. She tried Doc Ali but that was too in your face deal with your fear for her, she tried hypnosis, she listened to a ton of motivational videos on the way to practice, she worked with Perform Happy (who I also liked a lot), she has a lesson once a week with a trusted coach at the gym (and still does), she tried a lot of "things" to help her deal with her fear. For now it really has not bled over to other areas too much, but if there is a front option that meets requirements, she will take that. She did a Tsuk in Level 8, she will hopefully get a back tuck on beam for 9 again, Bars do scare her but she just isn't comfortable with the speed of giants and getting cast handstands so not sure if that is related or just a different fear which is pretty normal for many gymnasts whose strength is not bars. I think all of those things helped her continue with gymnastics. I am not sure she dealt with the exact "source" of the issue but I also don't think she really knows. I have my theories, but I have decided that this is her issue at this point. Could her fears prevent her from reaching her goal? Yes, that is a possibility, but it is up to her to figure that out now. Forcing a 10-13 year old to have to deal with her fears head on really is not a good strategy in my opinion because I doubt they will know "why". Most of the "help" that is available deals with progressions, building confidence in lower level skills and gradually building. It just takes time and you have to give them that time.
 

Gymmomlisa

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Just so you know we also tried a variety of help trying to find the source of the issue. It is complex to say the least. She tried Doc Ali but that was too in your face deal with your fear for her, she tried hypnosis, she listened to a ton of motivational videos on the way to practice, she worked with Perform Happy (who I also liked a lot), she has a lesson once a week with a trusted coach at the gym (and still does), she tried a lot of "things" to help her deal with her fear. For now it really has not bled over to other areas too much, but if there is a front option that meets requirements, she will take that. She did a Tsuk in Level 8, she will hopefully get a back tuck on beam for 9 again, Bars do scare her but she just isn't comfortable with the speed of giants and getting cast handstands so not sure if that is related or just a different fear which is pretty normal for many gymnasts whose strength is not bars. I think all of those things helped her continue with gymnastics. I am not sure she dealt with the exact "source" of the issue but I also don't think she really knows. I have my theories, but I have decided that this is her issue at this point. Could her fears prevent her from reaching her goal? Yes, that is a possibility, but it is up to her to figure that out now. Forcing a 10-13 year old to have to deal with her fears head on really is not a good strategy in my opinion because I doubt they will know "why". Most of the "help" that is available deals with progressions, building confidence in lower level skills and gradually building. It just takes time and you have to give them that time.
I dont think my daughter understands the source nor is she interested in being forced to combat the fear. I love the idea of doc ali and other supportive sources. I’m not convinced it will work for her or that she will embrace it. It has been helpful to me. If I can get support, then I least I can be of more use to her. You’re are right...it will be up to her and I need to give her space to do that. In the meantime, if her coaches can be creative with forward or sideways options, and my daughter will be open to it, that may have to be the plan. Thank you again!
 

coachp

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I dont think my daughter understands the source nor is she interested in being forced to combat the fear. I love the idea of doc ali and other supportive sources. I’m not convinced it will work for her or that she will embrace it. It has been helpful to me. If I can get support, then I least I can be of more use to her. You’re are right...it will be up to her and I need to give her space to do that. In the meantime, if her coaches can be creative with forward or sideways options, and my daughter will be open to it, that may have to be the plan. Thank you again!
Finding the source is critical or it just gets worse. And it's not the child who finds it. It's the adults around her..... the child should be kept unaware ...
 

Gymmomlisa

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Finding the source is critical or it just gets worse. And it's not the child who finds it. It's the adults around her..... the child should be kept unaware ...
I believe that she is just all of a sudden generally afraid of getting hurt. She hasnt gotten hurt before, but I think it’s the fear. Unfortunately our gym doesnt have a sponge pit (that may help). What do you mean about keeping her unaware? Shouldnt she be aware to help her with pushing against it?
 

coachp

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I believe that she is just all of a sudden generally afraid of getting hurt. She hasnt gotten hurt before, but I think it’s the fear. Unfortunately our gym doesnt have a sponge pit (that may help). What do you mean about keeping her unaware? Shouldnt she be aware to help her with pushing against it?
No, she is afraid of not going . She is afraid of the feeling of losing control over her ability to execute . She is afraid of losing other skills , she is afraid of disappointing her coaches , she is afraid of disappointing you , she is afraid of being afraid. Her heart speeds up and anxiety kicks in at the thought of trying one of the skills, because she is afraid of not going . She is NOT afraid of the skills that she recently stopped doing . She doesn’t understand , she thinks something is wrong with her ...... the source is all around her . The adults need to make changes ..... or the cycle will continue and expand even greater than it has . She should not be aware of the changes .
 

Gymmomlisa

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No, she is afraid of not going . She is afraid of the feeling of losing control over her ability to execute . She is afraid of losing other skills , she is afraid of disappointing her coaches , she is afraid of disappointing you , she is afraid of being afraid. Her heart speeds up and anxiety kicks in at the thought of trying one of the skills, because she is afraid of not going . She is NOT afraid of the skills that she recently stopped doing . She doesn’t understand , she thinks something is wrong with her ...... the source is all around her . The adults need to make changes ..... or the cycle will continue and expand even greater than it has . She should not be aware of the changes .
Woa. I never dug that deep before. This is very real. Ok, so how can one make the changes without it being obvious to her? Sorry, if I’m bothering you...but I believe you are onto something.
 

ladybird

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Woa. I never dug that deep before. This is very real. Ok, so how can one make the changes without it being obvious to her? Sorry, if I’m bothering you...but I believe you are onto something.
He certainly is! Every single bit of what coachp said is true. My dd had extreme fear issues for her beam handstand in level 3 believe it or not. It finally boiled down to her being afraid of feeling afraid. Fearing the fear so to speak. She finally got tired of being afraid and just did it. Hasn’t had any deep fear issues since and she’s going to be a level 9 this year. Good luck!
 

Gymmomlisa

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He certainly is! Every single bit of what coachp said is true. My dd had extreme fear issues for her beam handstand in level 3 believe it or not. It finally boiled down to her being afraid of feeling afraid. Fearing the fear so to speak. She finally got tired of being afraid and just did it. Hasn’t had any deep fear issues since and she’s going to be a level 9 this year. Good luck!
That is so amazing to hear!! I have gotten so much wonderful feedback since posting this a few days ago. I wish there was a facebook group for this sort of thing (gymnastics questions,issues etc) as it would be so much easier to access the support. Good luck to your daughter!
 
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Rockygym

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No, she is afraid of not going . She is afraid of the feeling of losing control over her ability to execute . She is afraid of losing other skills , she is afraid of disappointing her coaches , she is afraid of disappointing you , she is afraid of being afraid. Her heart speeds up and anxiety kicks in at the thought of trying one of the skills, because she is afraid of not going . She is NOT afraid of the skills that she recently stopped doing . She doesn’t understand , she thinks something is wrong with her ...... the source is all around her . The adults need to make changes ..... or the cycle will continue and expand even greater than it has . She should not be aware of the changes .
This is so spot on in so many ways for my daughter. Thanks for putting into words what she can’t verbalize. She read your reply and juts said “yeah”
 
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