Does your gymnast have a hard time being “free” in competition? Is your gymnast afraid of making mistakes in competition leading them to perform conservatively? Does your gymnast perform well in practice but then freeze up in competition?
Many gymnasts struggle with freezing up in competition. Gymnasts love to practice and improve but when they get to competition, they lose trust in their skills. All gymnasts lose trust or lack confidence in their skills at some point in time.
Sometimes gymnasts lose that trust in their skills when they are trying something new, when they see other gymnasts fall on their skill, or if they are a perfectionist and their routine isn’t perfect enough. A lot of gymnasts are afraid of making mistakes and that leads them to performing safe or cautiously.
How does this trust affect a gymnast’s performance?
When a gymnast believes in their own abilities, they gain confidence. More confidence leads to more trust. Trust is crucial in gymnastics. It’s very important for gymnasts to trust in their skills and what they have learned in practice. In order to trust, gymnasts must let go of control – they need to stop overanalyzing and critiquing every skill or routine. Gymnasts need to be able to perform freely.
As the parent or coach of a gymnast, there are many different things you can do to help improve your gymnast’s trust.
First, ask yourself these questions:
- Do you encourage your gymnast to be perfect when performing?
- Do you over coach your gymnast before competition?
- Do you tell your gymnast to focus on perfect form during competition?
- Do you introduce new ideas before a competition?
If you do any of these before your gymnast’s competition, you may be impacting their confidence and trust.
Here are some ways to turn that around and help them trust in their skills and abilities:
- Help your gymnast to leave the gymnastics in the gym. Don’t make it the focus of their life outside of practice and competition.
- Encourage your gymnast even when they make a mistake. Let them know it’s okay and that they are great even when they mess up.
- Teach them to focus on the skill they are currently performing. Teach them that when they are competing or practicing, they should focus on one skill at a time. Stop thinking about the last skill you performed and focus on the one you are performing now.
- Remind them of all the hard work they have put into their skills and how far they have come.
- Encourage them with positive thoughts and comments before and after practice and competition.
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