How to promote "beam confidence"?

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jmeaniej

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Hi, my daughter aspires to compete in the coming season, probably L4, although no levels have yet been assigned, as our group has never competed team yet. My girl is rockin' pretty well on bars, vault, and floor; beam appears to be her Achilles heel at present. She will attemt, with some success, cartwheels and HS on the lowest beam, but fails on mid and high beam. Her jumps are
Low and guarded, and she appears to be intimidated by the height of the beam. Are there any exercises/suggestions to help. Her relax and focus? She is frustrated, and I feel for her. Thanks for your ideas!
 
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mariposa

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Sep 25, 2007
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My daughter was much like that on beam, but has come a long way over the past year. At her first level 4 meet, she was wobble city, LOL. I think that with most kids, except those that are very fearless, it just takes time and practice. Working skills on the low beam and then moving up slowly with mats under at first helps. The beam is very much a mind game. Hopefully her coaches will work with her to slowly get more confident and steady on beam. :D

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Linsul

Active Member
Sep 19, 2008
876
Pripyat
Beam is hard on parents and coaches when there are fear issues. There's not much you can practice at home to help, and all the spotting in the world is useless against a fear that has no basis in ability.

For cw and handstand, as a coach I'd probably let her stack mats beneath the mid or high beam. If we're going to do that though we're going to use those mats for harder skills. Backbends, maybe a kickover, etc. Spotted of course for those. Lots of gymnasts pull their skills together over fear issues (in my experience) if they have a harder skill to practice that makes the previous fear seem unfounded and pointless. Not to replace the fear with a new one, that's what the mats and the spotting is for. If we're going to the lengths of mat stacking you bet we're going to use them out of actual necessity as well as fear alleviation.

Leaps and turns, I think doing them on a low beam if they're awesome 500 times in a row is pointless. It just reaffirms that low beam mentality of a 'safe place in a sea of height danger.' I'd have a gymnast do the regular warm-up on the low beam, and then work leaps and turns in other ways. Leaps with one leg on the block, or ankle weights + low beam leaps, high bar hanging snap splits, etc. When that becomes tiresome and boring they will come to the mid or high beam on their own eventually. I'd also let them use the matstacks for those, with the harder skill caveat of course.

Have you tried recording your DD on the low beam? I've seen kids watch themselves look amazing on the low beam and suddenly realize they're great at their skills.
 
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jmeaniej

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Thanks for your great response! I agree, and believe that she probably will move up to the higher beams as time, and confidence, progresses. Her coaches are aware of her fears, and have recently started some activities to help her face her fears. We haven't videoed her yet, but that is an awesome idea to boost her skill confidence! Thanks for the great insight!
 
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jmeaniej

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Thanks for your post! Yes, you are right about beam being tough for parents!!! Hopefully, summer training and getting her feet wet when she finally competes will boost her confidence. Coaches are starting some fear-facing exercises with her, and I hope that, too, will help.
Hard as it is for her to wait and be patient : ) , I will offer support and remind her that "practice makes better". Thank you for the mom's view.
 

eeyoretumbles

Member
Jul 13, 2008
234
rainy washington
Yes, the matts idea is what will work best probably. Once she does gain confidence, there is this great excercise my team uses for helping with balance. Our favorite one, especially among the older girls, is throwing a block [you definetly need confidence with this one] to each other trying the knock the other person off. The point is trying to catch the block and still be able to keep balance. It's also fun if our coach joins in, usually our team likes trying to push him off. Some other ones [with matts under the beam first] is having two girls face each other. Lunging, they should put their hands together and try to push each other off. Good luck!
 

eeyoretumbles

Member
Jul 13, 2008
234
rainy washington
Note: Both of those drills can be done on the low beam, and moved up to the high beam. Once the girls have no fear on the high beam, the block game can begin, and once the blocks are stopped being thrown the girls usually have a lot of confidence.
 

Linsul

Active Member
Sep 19, 2008
876
Pripyat
Yes, the matts idea is what will work best probably. Once she does gain confidence, there is this great excercise my team uses for helping with balance. Our favorite one, especially among the older girls, is throwing a block [you definetly need confidence with this one] to each other trying the knock the other person off. The point is trying to catch the block and still be able to keep balance. It's also fun if our coach joins in, usually our team likes trying to push him off. Some other ones [with matts under the beam first] is having two girls face each other. Lunging, they should put their hands together and try to push each other off. Good luck!

Where were these games when I was a gymnast?! I'm going to use them on the low beams with some rec classes today I think lol. I'd rather have them catching a foam block than diving off the beam dramatically for peer laughs that's for sure!
 

mariposa

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Sep 25, 2007
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Yes, the matts idea is what will work best probably. Once she does gain confidence, there is this great excercise my team uses for helping with balance. Our favorite one, especially among the older girls, is throwing a block [you definetly need confidence with this one] to each other trying the knock the other person off. The point is trying to catch the block and still be able to keep balance. It's also fun if our coach joins in, usually our team likes trying to push him off. Some other ones [with matts under the beam first] is having two girls face each other. Lunging, they should put their hands together and try to push each other off. Good luck!

Mine loves stuff like that. Sometimes they used pool noodles to try sword fight and they try to stay on beam. She does it at home with her cousin as well, though he gets tired of it because he says it isn't fair because she does gymnastics. LOL.
 

gymgymgymnast08

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Dec 8, 2007
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Hey. although it may sound silly, it really works. You have to make the beam fear you. Thats what i tell myself throughout my whole beam routine. I think this is a piece of wood. I can beat this. And it works without fail if you really make the beam fear you. =]
 

eeyoretumbles

Member
Jul 13, 2008
234
rainy washington
hahahah foam definetly sounds like it'd work, as long as it makes them wobble. when our coach will play and he throws our block at us, the first time it was sooo hard. now i'm actually getting better at it, and it's seemed to help a lot!
 

gymwomen23

New Member
Apr 10, 2009
14
im just like her i very much dislike beam!!!!!!! i mean i am a level 7 now and just got over the fear of back walkover back handspring!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! im very excited but back to your daughtter!!!!!!!! LOL!!! i think going on the very lowest low beam she should start out with straight jumps then keep moving up till you get to the split jump then move it up to a fairly high beam with a pad then do the same thing as on the low beam then take the mat off and do the same thing each 5 times so she can get over it usually then go to the high beam with the pad on and do the same as the other things but do each 10 times since it is a high beam and she can get it over the fear more when she is on the high beam and also do 10 bc she will need the feel of being on the high beam then take it off and do each jump 5 times and she will be great with it!!!!!!!! but if her gym has a pit beam do that one first then high beam and do 5 of each with the pad then take it off then do 5 each without a pad!!!!!!!!! I know this seems like alot but trust me it will work!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!




TELL UR DAUGHTER I SAID BEST OF LUCK AND I WILL KEEP HER IN MY PRAYERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GREAT OF LUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

gymfan4ever95

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Mar 29, 2009
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I guess a lot of practice would help a lot, then she would be more confortable on the beam. good luck :)
and tell her not to get frustrated and that everyone goes through this at somepoint. If you are frustrated while on beam, i have realized through experiense that you never get the outcome of your skills that you want.
Tell her to keep working hard and she will get it!
 
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