"The fear of facing fears is harder to overcome than the fear itself." - Anonymous
Previously we have discussed the power of "Yet" and how language can effect our actions. This time, I would like to discuss how our thoughts can effect our actions in the Gym.
Recently I found myself being encouraged to discuss this topic to a wider audience, and I couldn't agree more with how beneficial it could be. Yet it is such a vast topic, where would I possibly start? In that question I had found my answer. Uncertainty.
The words "I can't" are heard all too often in the gym, but they do not mean what you think. The words "I can't" are being spoken from a place of uncertainty, fear and anxiety. The words represent the self doubt we face when we are confronted with something new.
To dive into the unknown when there is a risk is a daunting task, no matter the age of the individual. The added threat of injury at any given attempt only makes it all the more challenging.
So how can we approach something that we cannot touch or see?
I believe understanding and acceptance are where a gymnast will make their largest strides to success. Fear is natural, and has been evident in nature for hundreds of thousands of years. There is no getting rid of fear. It is here to stay!
However, Fear is not bad. In fact it is incredibly useful. It will keep a gymnast concentrating on their technique. It will aid a coach in making sure a gymnast is ready for a skill before they attempt it. It will encourage precaution and sensibility in the most outgoing of gymnasts.
Forcing a gymnast through a skill might seem like the appropriate thing to do, either as a parent or as a coach. We might see it as a simple task, and we can see they are capable. Which in turn might get some of us a little frustrated, which means we can rush things. This can lead to "mental blocks" or "skill blocks". There is a big difference between encouragement and pressuring.
If you force a gymnast to attempt a skill there is a very strong chance they are going to bail. They are not going to commit to the skill, they are going to get half way through and then they are going to panic, and do anything they can to get out of the skill. The problem is, we aren't quite as effective as cats... so when a gymnast is high in the air and decides they don't like it, they aren't able to twist their bodies and land back casually on their feet. They are almost certainly going to land on the heaviest and most vital part of their bodies. Yep, you guessed it. Their heads.
This will only prove to the gymnast that their fears where in fact correct, the worst could possibly happen and they will get hurt.
It is important to remember that a child or teenager is not as skilled at identifying emotional challenges like adults are. They need guidance until they can find themselves at a resolution.
Here are some ways we can handle fear:
1. Identifying the source of the fear. For this you will need to communicate, unless you are in fact a mind-reader and in which case may i strongly suggest a career change! Is your gymnast afraid of the fall? The height? Have they previously attempted this skill and it didn't go to plan? Are they not strong enough yet? Are they worried about looking silly?
2. Game, set and match! You need to approach it in small portions. If they are afraid of being on a high bar, change the bar or raise the crash mats so it doesn't seem as high. If they are afraid of looking silly in front of their class mates, offer private lessons until they feel more confident.
3.Mental Strength & Focus. They are always numerous aspects to a skill, and you are expected to execute all of them... at the same time.. but don't over think it... and don't forget to set up the skill properly... oh and definitely don't forget to present at the end. That's a lot to take in right? Helping your gymnast focus on one thing at a time will allow them to truly be present, and focused. This also goes for life outside of the gym. They might have maths' homework, an art project due, a family dinner and an exam coming up they need to study for!
Help them to breathe, pick one to focus on for now, and feel confident in their capabilities.
4. Remind them how brave they are for even trying! Even basic gymnastics skills are not simple, and attempting them in the first place requires bravery & gumption.
There is a lot that go wrong due to fear, but also a lot that can go right!
Do not give up! It may take you longer than you expected but you can and you will get there if you keep fighting for it.
Who do you think should read this blog post? Tag them and let's start the conversation about "I can't".
Signing off for now,
What a fantastic weekend full of competitions we had here at FCGC. It was so good to see all our gymnasts “big” and “smaller” show off their skills, and be acknowledged for their hard work. If you couldn’t make it down, it was a great turn out! We had many other clubs compete at our venue over Saturday and Sunday. It really helps to build the sense of community within this sport.
We had our Adults Gymstar Open Comp on Saturday, and our 1-4 competition/meet on Sunday.
It was jam packed with hard working gymnasts and fun, exciting routines. Next competition season, try to head down to support our gymnasts, and enjoy the opportunity to watch a great social sport for yourselves!
If you’ve ever thought about entering yourself or a gymnast into a Gymstar Comp, you are already on the right path.
It can be a daunting thing to think about!
The most frequent things we hear from our gymnasts are things such as “who’s going to be there?”, “I’ll be embarrassed”, “I’m scared of the judges”, “I’ve never been to that gym before, It’s too scary” and many more.
As valid as these concerns may be, it’s also best to think about why we might be concerned with them in the first place. There just might be a solution to help ease and comfort the gymnast, and get them excited to perform their routines.
Let’s address some of these concerns together!
Remember if you’re feeling nervous and unsure, talk to a coach about it. They will be more than happy to talk to you, and think of ways to help you feel at ease. Our coaches may even be able to introduce you to other gymnasts and coaches who will be there on the day.
Not to mention you can receive awards, medals and lollies on the day!
Have you attended a competition, meet or challenge this season as a gymnast or a participant? How was your experience? Let us know in the comments.
Signing off for now,
Coach Jes here 👋🏻 - Finding confidence and growing character is what we aim to do here at FCGC and over the weekend our Victorian championship gymnasts proved this to everyone! Each of them had many memorable moments but here are my stand outs
Karina - overcame some fears and mental blocks to confidently perform her round off on beam for the first time in competition 🙌🏻 Karina placed 5th on bars.
Tammy - trusted in her ability as a athlete to listen to her body and make appropriate decisions for her longevity in this sport, even if it meant not performing her hardest skills 👍🏻 Tammy placed 3rd on bars and 6th on vault.
Thomas - after falling twice on the same skill Thomas got back up on the bars and attempted the harder version of the skill (because why not?) and he nailed it!! The perfect example of confidence and character 💪🏻
As a coach I am beyond proud of these three and the amazing role models they are for everyone at our club 💜
Have any questions about these athletes or the competition? Comment them below and I’ll get back to you soon