How to Cope With Pressure in Gymnastics

Gymnastics Psychology

How Audrey Tolbert Copes With Challenges

Gymnastics can be such a mentally-draining sport…

Sometimes, you are nailing routines and other times you feel it is impossible to perform a halfway decent routine.

To add to the difficulty of gymnastics is the pressure heaped upon gymnasts from coaches and parents.

It is no wonder that many gymnasts battle with wavering confidence and feel overwhelming pressure.

West Virginia University senior gymnast, Audrey Tolbert, understands how mentally tough gymnastics can be and the toll it can takes on one’s confidence.

Tolbert is a level 10 gymnast and four-time Junior Olympic National Championships qualifier. In 2013, Tolbert entered her first year at Ohio State University.

As a freshman, Tolbert competed in 11 meets and scored a career-high 9.775 on floor at the Big Ten Championships. The following year, tough times hit…

Nagging injuries, home sickness, high expectations, an increased sense of pressure and a higher load of intense conditioning started weighing heavily on Tolbert. Tolbert saw less in the lineups and only competed in four meets as a sophomore.

Tolbert saw her confidence plummet and she eventually withdrew from OSU.

TOLBERT: “There were a lot of mental roadblocks in my way. I had to learn the hard way. I had to learn how to get through stress, which was hard because I get very stressed out very easily… As a freshman, everything seems like it’s the end of the world.”

Tolbert decided to return home and train with her club team where she rediscovered her enthusiasm for gymnastics. Extra repetitions and positive comments from her coach helped boost her confidence.

Tolbert decided to return to college gymnastics at West Virginia University with higher confidence and a new perspective towards the sport. Tolbert also realized something needed to change mentally.

Ultimately, it is Tolbert’s new mentality that has her achieving personal best scores as a senior and being a valuable contributor for the Mountaineers.

What did Tolbert do to manage those high expectation and demands she was experiencing?

Tolbert did three specific things to manage all the potential mental difficulties in gymnastics:

First of all, Tolbert focused on having fun instead of achieving certain results.

TOLBERT: “I was just goofing around and having so much fun. I started to remember that college gymnastics was supposed to be fun, like the reward for all the hard work you put in over the years.”

Secondly, Tolbert committed to being more positive and not allowing the negatives dominate her thinking.

TOLBERT: “[My coaches] never focused on the negatives, and I wasn’t used to that mindset. I now focus on the positives and what I am improving on instead of all the things that hold me back.”

Lastly, Tolbert took back control of her gymnastics instead of allowing negative emotions to dictate her athletic experience.

TOLBERT:This summer, I decided that since this was my final year of gymnastics, it was time for me to dictate how the year was going to go… You want to go out doing your best gymnastics. I knew I had nothing to lose this year.”

No matter what Tolbert achieves this year, her story is one of success.

If you are feeling burdened by pressure or experiencing hardships or have lost your zest for gymnastics, you can turn things around.

Changing your experience in gymnastics and improving your performance requires that you do something different than you are currently doing.

Maybe a change in mindset is exactly the remedy you are looking for!

Try This to Lessen Your Sense of Pressure

Find your funMentally revisit what made gymnastics so fun when you were younger.

What can you do now to bring the fun from the past into the present?

If you can accomplish this task on a regular basis, you will regain your enthusiasm and feel much less pressure.

Let go of the expectations you feel from parents or coaches to be great all the time.

Pick up a copy of “The Confident Gymnast” to make sure your mental game doesn’t hold you back.

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Improve Your Consistency With Sports Psychology for Gymnasts

Sports psychology for gymnastics helps serious gymnasts like you to uncover the beliefs and attitudes that keep you from performing to your potential. You’ll learn mental game strategies to overcome performance plateaus, lack of consistency, and perform at your peak more often.

You can get expert mental coaching with us from anywhere. Meet with Dr. Cohn via Skype, phone, FaceTime, or GoTo Meeting. With today’s video technology, we are able to connect with athletes and coaches all over the globe.

Please contact us today to learn how mental coaching for gymnastics works and to request pricing on all mental training programs for gymnasts. Complete for web form to contact us via email or call us toll-free.

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