Be Ready to Come off the Bench and Compete
“What is the ‘Next Gymnast Up’ mentality?”
Many responses from our surveys asked questions about different types of mentalities.
One question, in particular revolved around stepping up after a teammate gets injured.
“When something unexpected happens in a gymnastics meet, I tend to get overwhelmed and freak out. If one of my teammates gets injured and I have to replace her in the rotation, I get so anxious that I forget parts of my routine. How can I stop freaking out and just focus on doing my routine?”
It can be overwhelming having all eyes on you seconds before the start of your routine. The things going through your head are intense, “What if I fall?”
“What if I score poorly? What if I let my team down?” Negative thoughts are swirling in your head, your heart is pounding and your palms are sweaty, complicating matters even more. You want to perform to the same standard as the gymnast you are replacing. With all this going on, it seems impossible to focus.
The ‘next gymnast up’ mentality requires the ability to focus despite adverse circumstances.
To be a successful contributor to your team you need to learn how to cope with distractions and perform at your peak when called upon.
The “next gymnast up” mentality does not mean you need to replicate the skills of the athlete you are replacing.
Being the “next gymnast up” means you are contributing your best according to your talents and strengths. Don’t attempt to be the gymnast you are replacing but be your best in that moment.
By focusing on being your best, you may even be able to make a bigger contribution to your team than the gymnast you are replacing. This requires that you keep the focus on you and your routine.
Having a strong focus gave the University of Alabama women’s gymnastics team an edge as the team rallied from behind to beat Arkansas 196.625-196.100.
Alabama sophomore Griffin James was unable to finish her routine after suffering an injury to her Achilles on her opening tumbling pass in the leadoff spot on floor, but her teammates picked up the slack. Alabama sophomore Shallon Olsen needed to refocus her attention after her teammate and friend (James) was injured.
Olsen said it was a challenge to perform her routine but the “next gymnast up” is the mindset she took to the floor tying her career high score on floor with a 9.900.
OLSEN: “You just kind of have to flip the switch and change your mindset and be like, ‘OK, I got this. I gotta do this for not just Griffin but everyone else too, because we’re all feeling the exact same emotions.’”
Olsen provides valuable insight into ‘the next gymnast up’ and mental toughness. It’s all about focus.
Although Olsen uses the term “flip the switch”, she is referring to the ability to refocus, moving your attention from what happened in the past or potential outcomes in the future and focus on what you can do in the present moment to perform to the best of your capabilities.
When you experience adversity, flip the switch and refocus on what you need to do in the moment…
When your teammate gets injured, flip the switch and focus on your role…
When you need to perform in a pressure situation, flip the switch and refocus.
Flipping the switch is like changing the channel in your mind and bringing into focus a clear image of what you want to achieve.
The ‘Next Gymnast Up’ Mentality
First: Know when you might need to refocus during a meet. What are your top triggers?
Next: What will you refocus on when distracted. Have a statement ready to use to help you get back into the moment.
Also: You might even visualize yourself flipping a switch or pressing a reset button when distracted.
Practice your refocusing or resetting skills in your regular training so you can use this strategy during meets.
Focus on your routine, one skill at a time. Let go of the score as it’s a product of focusing on the process.
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!
- Gymnasts: Get the mental edge by learning how to take control of their confidence, mentally prepare for competition, and preform with composure under pressure
- Parents: Help boost your athletes’ performance. Don’t let their mind hold them back any longer!
- Coaches: Boost your gymnasts’ confidence using simple, proven mental strategies.
- Mental Coaches: Learn a proven system for helping your athletes boost mental toughness.
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.
What are our mental coaching students and parents saying?
“I enjoyed ‘The Confident Athlete’ very much. I particularly liked the format, the ease of the program, and the 2 CDs that accompanied the workbook – 10-20 minutes a day was simple to adhere to and put in my busy schedule. I love the part about confidence with grace, and what I want to portray and feel the minute I step foot into Los Angeles for nationals. I love the affirmations, the relaxation techniques, and just the entire perspective of the program.”*
~Sarah, US National Aerobic Gymnastics Team
*Testimonials found on this site are examples of what we have done for other clients, and what some of our clients have said about us. However, we cannot guarantee the results in any case. Your results may vary and every situation is different. No compensation was provided for these testimonials.