How would you prepare for a gymnastics competition if you knew it was your last?
What mindset would you have? Would you be focused on having fun, or would you heap unmanageable pressure upon yourself to be perfect?
Most likely, your mindset would be to make the most of the competition. You would focus on doing your best, chatting with your teammates, and enjoying yourself.
Since you would want to go out on a high note, you would try to be the best version of yourself in practice. You would feel minimal pressure and “go for it” during each routine. Overall, the experience would be fun.
Thinking back to your beginning days in competitive gymnastics, you probably notice a similar fun, free, exciting attitude towards training and competition.
Unfortunately, some gymnasts have a very different experiences in the middle of their careers.
Pressure takes over for fun. Instead of competing for yourself, you try to please others.
Learning new skills was exciting back then, but now you demand perfection from yourself.
Training is no longer fun, and you dread going to practice.
When you were young, you looked forward to meets and trying new routines. Now, you fear failure and consider quitting altogether.
What exactly changed from your early days in gymnastics? The equipment is the same. The events are the same. Many of your current teammates have been your friends for a long time.
The difference lies in your mindset for competition!
Your mentality can either make meets exciting or miserable. Your mentality affects your progress. In fact, your mentality is the primary determinant of how well you perform in practice and meets.
Changing your mentality can dramatically alter your experience in the sport.
When you change your mentality, you can reignite your passion for gymnastics, improve your performance, lessen the pressure, and have fun again. The good news is that your mentality is a personal choice entirely in your control.
University of Florida gymnast Trinity Thomas was the 2022 NCAA all-around champion. During the 2023 Regional Championships, Thomas sustained an injury on the floor exercise, jeopardizing defending her title at the NCAA Championships.
University of Florida head coach Jenny Rowland commented on Thomas’ situation and the importance of a gymnast’s mentality.
ROWLAND: “Nothing’s easy. Everything’s challenging, and [it’s] really just reminding her to stay present. It’s easy to say, ‘Enjoy the moment,’ but truly, you know, soak it in. Tomorrow is not given. And we don’t need to worry about that.”
In your gymnastics career, every day is a challenge. Practices will be hard. Injuries are common. You won’t always perform your best routines.
However, if you have the right mentality, are up for the challenge, and are prepared for adversity, you will have a positive, productive, and enjoyable experience.
Contemplating your past experiences and current experience can help you shape a new mentality.
Ask yourself, “If I knew my career would be over in a month, what would I like to experience?”
How will I approach training sessions?” “What mindset will I adopt for competitions?”
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Learn Mental Game Secrets to Unstoppable Confidence in Gymnastics!
Are you ready to improve your mental toughness and perform with ultimate self-confidence in competition?
Check out The Confident Gymnast Program!
The Confident Gymnast CD and workbook program was developed not only by Dr. Cohn, but with the assistance of former gymnast Olympian Wendy Bruce.
The Confident Gymnast is ideal for any competitive gymnast. But not only do gymnasts benefit from the program, coaches and parents do as well!
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The Confident Gymnast is a complete brain dump of the TOP 8 mental training sessions we teach our gymnasts to help them boost their mental game and improve consistency- from how to mentally prepare for competition to performing under pressure to building unstoppable confidence.