Welcome to our Gymnastics Discussion Community
554,231 messages... 44,365 topics... and 6,612 members
Join for FREE!
Thank you for supporting our sponsors Energym Music & Norberts & High 5 Meets!

Mental blocks

DTAG

New Member
Proud Parent
May 7, 2020
19
40
Country
USA
Hello. I have a question or perhaps yall just can share your experience and wisdom. My son is an 8yr old lvl 5, skipped 4.1. He's been doing gymnastics for about a year and a half now. Generally speaking he picks up skills quickly. Pardon me if I get any names wrong, but, he has got his muscle up on rings, circles, spindles, flairs, and his kip already. Ok so he is working on getting the kip consistently, but he gets it about half the time he tries. He is doing circles and flairs off the ground even and his lvl 10 friend is showing him a "Russian" on pommel/mushroom and my son nearly has that down just practicing it a handful of times. I'd say he's doing fairly well, but he is so stressed out bless his heart about a robhs. He has done it, but it's very infrequent and he is just flat out scared. He's afraid he'll have to scratch the whole event and get a zero and I told him if he does it is fine! Well he is not fine with it. His first meet is in November but he has been working on this since last year on 4.2 pre-team. Having a mental block this early on, are they permanent? Will he continually have mental blocks? Could it just be this one skill? Any advice at all? He should not be this stressed over one skill, I just don't know what to do. I told him that one day, many years from now, if he stuck with gymnastics and if he made it to optionals level, then he has more freedom I believe to pick and choose the skills at each event, but for now, these are compulsory. His future skills build off of the ones he is learning now. He just hates going backwards as he's afraid he'll fall and hit his head. Thoughts?
 

euphoria.acro

New Member
Gymnast
Sep 29, 2020
4
Country
USA
From my own mental blocks, which I had around his age, a bit older, he will overcome them naturally. When he realizes how much he wants to progress, and get better, he will try. Also, I suggest doing skills leading up to the robhs, like back walkovers. Mental blocks are 100% normal and a part of the sport. I was terrified to do a back handsprings, but eventually, I was able to do them. It may take a bit, but you just have to remind him, he can do it even if he's scared, and if he doesn't want to, it's okay and he can stay a level 5, and meets are for fun! I hope this helps, this is just what I've done.
 
  • Like
Reactions: DTAG

skschlag

Moderator
Staff member
Gold Membership
Proud Parent
Jul 19, 2011
10,602
Region 9
Country
USA
Hello. I have a question or perhaps yall just can share your experience and wisdom. My son is an 8yr old lvl 5, skipped 4.1. He's been doing gymnastics for about a year and a half now. Generally speaking he picks up skills quickly. Pardon me if I get any names wrong, but, he has got his muscle up on rings, circles, spindles, flairs, and his kip already. Ok so he is working on getting the kip consistently, but he gets it about half the time he tries. He is doing circles and flairs off the ground even and his lvl 10 friend is showing him a "Russian" on pommel/mushroom and my son nearly has that down just practicing it a handful of times. I'd say he's doing fairly well, but he is so stressed out bless his heart about a robhs. He has done it, but it's very infrequent and he is just flat out scared. He's afraid he'll have to scratch the whole event and get a zero and I told him if he does it is fine! Well he is not fine with it. His first meet is in November but he has been working on this since last year on 4.2 pre-team. Having a mental block this early on, are they permanent? Will he continually have mental blocks? Could it just be this one skill? Any advice at all? He should not be this stressed over one skill, I just don't know what to do. I told him that one day, many years from now, if he stuck with gymnastics and if he made it to optionals level, then he has more freedom I believe to pick and choose the skills at each event, but for now, these are compulsory. His future skills build off of the ones he is learning now. He just hates going backwards as he's afraid he'll fall and hit his head. Thoughts?

Yes, most kids do get past this, with the right coaching. So, making sure there is zero pressure to get the skill. Not really even talking about it at all. Focus on the positives. If he feels like it is going to keep him back, or cause issues, the block will get worse.

Good luck!
 

JBS

Administrator
Staff member
Gold Membership
Coach
Former Gymnast
Proud Parent
Sep 3, 2005
5,960
Wisconsin
Country
USA
No timelines... no deadlines... only fun. Stress will grow the fear.

Many believe that the best way to attack fear is head on. I have to say that in gymnastics this is always my last resort as a coach. Time and focusing on other... more positive skills... is always the first approach. Many times the positivity from other skills will help them defeat their fear.

The most important thing is that a child is only challenged by gymnastics while at gymnastics. If the fear attacks them while at home or sitting at school so much that they are worried to go to the gym... then this is bad.

It should be... "I am scared of this skill... but I know my coach will help me work through it in a safe way."

It should not be... "I don't want to go to the gym because I am going to die when by coach tells me I have to do skill "A"."
 
Last edited:

DTAG

New Member
Proud Parent
May 7, 2020
19
40
Country
USA
From my own mental blocks, which I had around his age, a bit older, he will overcome them naturally. When he realizes how much he wants to progress, and get better, he will try. Also, I suggest doing skills leading up to the robhs, like back walkovers. Mental blocks are 100% normal and a part of the sport. I was terrified to do a back handsprings, but eventually, I was able to do them. It may take a bit, but you just have to remind him, he can do it even if he's scared, and if he doesn't want to, it's okay and he can stay a level 5, and meets are for fun! I hope this helps, this is just what I've done.
Thank you! I did mention he could work on a back walkover, and he didn't even know what that was. I showed him a video and he started doing it in practice as well. He picked it up quickly and it has helped him, thanks!
 

DTAG

New Member
Proud Parent
May 7, 2020
19
40
Country
USA
Yes, most kids do get past this, with the right coaching. So, making sure there is zero pressure to get the skill. Not really even talking about it at all. Focus on the positives. If he feels like it is going to keep him back, or cause issues, the block will get worse.

Good luck!
I read him some of these responses and it has helped him 100%! He went into practice this week and we did not mention the back handspring once. I congratulated him on his perseverance and his drive. Any time he mentioned it at the house, I intentionally changed the subject and would say, "let's not worry about that." I would then move it to a skill he was doing well or get off of the topic of gymnastics altogether. This helped! He finished practice on Friday doing his floor routine....to include doing a robhs on the floor!
 

DTAG

New Member
Proud Parent
May 7, 2020
19
40
Country
USA
No timelines... no deadlines... only fun. Stress will grow the fear.

Many believe that the best way to attack fear is head on. I have to say that in gymnastics this is always my last resort as a coach. Time and focusing on other... more positive... skills is always the first approach. Many times the positivity from other skills will help them defeat their fear.

The most important thing is that a child is only challenged by gymnastics while at gymnastics. If the fear attacks them while at home or sitting at school so much that they are worried to go to the gym... then this is bad.

It should be... "I am scared of this skill... but I know my coach will help me work through it in a safe way."

It should not be... "I don't want to go to the gym because I am going to die when by coach tells me I have to do skill "A"."
You couldn't be more right! Thank you! When he would struggle with this, he would spend forever trying to practice at home or just shut everything out and his mood would change. As soon as we let it go, decided not to talk about it or I told him not to even practice it at home, everything changed. He would start working on his mushroom/pommel routine instead (mushroom in living room haha). Or he would go to his rings and go "watch what I can do" and then proceed to do muscle ups. Letting go of that fear and working on things he liked, changed his mindset.

I love how you said, "The most important thing is that a child is only challenged by gymnastics while at gymnastics." These skills shouldn't cause stress at home. We try not to take our work home right? Same thing! The positive side is that he does want to go to the gym as it is the only place he is comfortable working on it and he looks forward to it. Well let me tell you, he finished practice on Friday doing his full floor routine, with a robhs to finish it off! I'm so amazed. I want to be more like him when I grow up ;) Thank you!
 
  • Like
Reactions: MuggleMom

Cheryl

Member
Proud Parent
Feb 28, 2018
173
Country
USA
That’s good. The good thing about men’s gymnastics is that there are 6 events, so each boy is usually good at least one. My kid isn’t a great tumbler, but he does well on pommel, rings and p-bars. Next up... the back tuck. (I think that’s L5, but don’t remember)
 

JBS

Administrator
Staff member
Gold Membership
Coach
Former Gymnast
Proud Parent
Sep 3, 2005
5,960
Wisconsin
Country
USA
I love how you said, "The most important thing is that a child is only challenged by gymnastics while at gymnastics."
I've learned a lot as a coach over the years.

I coach two of my three kids. I coach my two daughters... my son goes to the club next door. As a coach... gymnastics at home is not good... not with any of them... not even the one I don't coach... I see his gymnastics a few times per year at meets.
 
  • Like
Reactions: DTAG and Carly

DTAG

New Member
Proud Parent
May 7, 2020
19
40
Country
USA
I've learned a lot as a coach over the years.

I coach two of my three kids. I coach my two daughters... my son goes to the club next door. As a coach... gymnastics at home is not good... not with any of them... not even the one I don't coach... I see his gymnastics a few times per year at meets.
I do enjoy watching his practices, but then again, I also watch my other son's baseball practices. I'm also his cub scout den leader. Their childhood is so short, I just don't want to miss it. I missed a lot when I was in the Army, and then deployed. It brings me a lot of joy to just watch them "play". And I never know what tomorrow will bring, so I don't want to miss any of today.
 
  • Like
Reactions: JBS