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Helping my DD with confidence issues!

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myjalark

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I am just wondering if anyone has any suggestions for a gymnast with confidence issues. My daughter just tenses up at meets on beam but at practice she looks absolutely gorgeous on beam. I have attributed some of it to how fast she has progressed through the levels - she never competed level 6, twice at level 7 and is now competing level 8.

I feel really bad for her when I see her at meets before beam because she just looks terrified. I've tried to explain to her that if she can somehow just do what she does at practice and forget about the judges she will be fine. She keeps saying that she just sees herself falling over and over again before she goes on beam. I'm wondering if there is a way for her to focus in mentally and have more positive thoughts, I guess mental choreography of some sort.
 

Aussie_coach

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You are going to need to sit down with her and teach her to change what goes through her head before she competes. We as adults know that if she thinks about falling she is likely to fall and if she pictures herself staying on the beam she is likely to stay on but this is not obvious to a child. It needs to be taught. I good coach will train her to do positive visualisation but many coaches ignore the mental side of competititon and just focus on the physical preparation.

I was at a comp last year and one coach came along told her level 4 squad to do their visialisation and it was impressive. They were sitting there at bars (just finished doing bars ready to rotate) and all her 10 girls had their eyes closed and determined focussed looks on their faces. I could see that she used this as a regular part of her teams training. And one guess which team cleaned up in the medals.

Your daughter needs to sit there and picture her routine before she does it, but picture it perfectly the way she wants to do it. Often mental rehearsal is more effective than physical training because in mental rehearsal it can be perfect. Just picturing it will help teach her muscles to do it.
 

hunde2

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Nov 5, 2007
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My dd gets tensed up too and so do we.I try not to show that I'm stressed too.We also tell her just to try do her best and no matter what outcome we will not be mad at her.
 

bogwoppit

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This discussion is such good timing for me. My oldest DD, 11 years, is really struggling with her confidence and therefore her gym is suffering.

She loves gym, doesn't want to stop, has a supportive coach and good team mates.

She was originally injured a year and a half ago, hurt her knee doing a front on a rod floor at sleepaway camp, she said nothing and trained on it all week:eek:. That kept her off training for about 4 months. She was pain free by the Dec of 2006 and managed to compete three times, improving with each meet, she got her vaulting and tumbling back.

In March of 2007 she began to complain about ankle pain, we stretched, iced and all that jazz, then in April her hip began to hurt, so off to the doc and sports therapist again, she was diagnosed with scoiosis and had developed bursitis in her hip, her ankle pain was achilles tendonitis in both ankles! AGH!!! So she stopped vaulting and tumbling, in Aug she had to stop all gym as her hip pain was not getting better.

She continued her sport therapy and was able to be back in the gym in Sept, she didn't vault or tumble. Her first comp was an ugly splatfest, even on her best things.

Right now she is 100% pain free, still stretches every day and ices too.

She can occasionally tumble, her vault is awful. Her coach says that she just has no confidence at all. She was supposed to move up a level, but as you can imagine with a year and a half of regression, that has not happened.

Last night I talked to her about visualisation, so when I read Aussies post I was thrilled, I let DD read it. Hopefully that will help her build up her confidence up enough for her to put her all back into training. She is so hard on herself, injury just bites.

Any other thoughs are greatly appreciated.:)
 
K

KBT

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You could ask her coach to have mock meets in the gym. They can be as informal as asking all her teammates to line up and watch her do a beam routine during practice. Learning to compete is a skill that takes time, and it sounds like your daughter just needs more practice!
 
H

hammy

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Visualizing the routine and having cue words really does make a difference, and this is speaking from experience. As a gymnast, beam and I didn't not get along at meets--in practice I was fine and could hit everything, but once I was competing it seemed like I'd never really done beam before. My coach started having me visualize my routines and practice them on the floor before I'd compete; also, believing in practicing like your're going to compete is extremely helpful. While practicing, pretend that the judge is watching you--even if it's just a teammate--this will help the gymnast get used to someone keeping a close eye on them. Mock meets and what are also excellent!
 

jasmine196

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Aug 29, 2007
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You know its funny this question came up. Starting right before our season, I taught my group of 15 Level 4's how to visualize. At their first meet, I reminded them while they were waiting for their beam routine to visualize it. They all closed their eyes, and put their heads down and did what I asked. At the second meet, I had forgotten to remind them. I was off to the end of the beam when the second girl was up, looked at my team, and realized they were doing the visualzation even without being told. I was so proud of them:) Ever since then, their beam scores have sky rocketted, and when I ask them if it helps, they all say yes. I am now going to be working with my small group of Level 5-7's to see if it will work with them as well.

I think its a great idea to help calm the nerves. And so far its worked for my kids. Who ever thought you could team 6-9 year olds how to visualize.
 

Kayleigh

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Oct 6, 2007
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This discussion is such good timing for me. My oldest DD, 11 years, is really struggling with her confidence and therefore her gym is suffering.

She loves gym, doesn't want to stop, has a supportive coach and good team mates.

She was originally injured a year and a half ago, hurt her knee doing a front on a rod floor at sleepaway camp, she said nothing and trained on it all week:eek:. That kept her off training for about 4 months. She was pain free by the Dec of 2006 and managed to compete three times, improving with each meet, she got her vaulting and tumbling back.

In March of 2007 she began to complain about ankle pain, we stretched, iced and all that jazz, then in April her hip began to hurt, so off to the doc and sports therapist again, she was diagnosed with scoiosis and had developed bursitis in her hip, her ankle pain was achilles tendonitis in both ankles! AGH!!! So she stopped vaulting and tumbling, in Aug she had to stop all gym as her hip pain was not getting better.

She continued her sport therapy and was able to be back in the gym in Sept, she didn't vault or tumble. Her first comp was an ugly splatfest, even on her best things.

Right now she is 100% pain free, still stretches every day and ices too.

She can occasionally tumble, her vault is awful. Her coach says that she just has no confidence at all. She was supposed to move up a level, but as you can imagine with a year and a half of regression, that has not happened.

Last night I talked to her about visualisation, so when I read Aussies post I was thrilled, I let DD read it. Hopefully that will help her build up her confidence up enough for her to put her all back into training. She is so hard on herself, injury just bites.

Any other thoughs are greatly appreciated.:)

Wow. It's so horrible she had to go through all that! If you're looking for advice, though, I'd say have her read the "Going for It" books by Mark Gibson. They're specifically for gymnasts. It has helped me SO MUCH. I was on the verge of quitting a couple weeks ago. My coach had me read them, and here I sit with a 3'd place beam medal from a meet yesterday, after getting 21st at a meet two weeks ago. I'm totally refocused and excited about meets instead of dreading them. It's all in the positive thinking!

Tell your daughter good luck from me. She'll get back to where she was. It'll just take a little time, hard work, and happy thoughts. ;)
 
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