How To Let Go of Mistakes In Gymnastics

Gymnast Psychology

Moving on After Mistakes

Mistakes happen in gymnastics. Even the most elite gymnasts make mistakes. By allowing these mistakes to bother you, it can mess up your performance and overall self-confidence.

The number one distraction for gymnasts is dwelling on past mistakes.

Dwelling on past mistakes can hurt your performance because you are not focused on the current skill. If you are too worried about the mistake that you made one minute ago or even a week ago, you aren’t focusing on the performance at hand. Losing focus will throw off your current routine or skill.

To achieve your best, you need to be focused on the skills or routines in the moment.

Why do you allow yourself to dwell on these mistakes?

It’s because making a mistake is not what you expected from yourself. When you make a mistake, it is easy to beat yourself up because you feel you should have done your floor routine or your vault better.

In some cases, gymnasts display their frustration to the people watching because they want them to know that they are actually better than the mistakes they have made. They don’t want people to think they are capable of making a mistake and that they are the best every time they perform.

Once you get into the mindset of beating yourself up, it is very difficult to come out of that negative thinking. Even when you are on a different skill, you may try to focus on not making mistakes and end up over turning or falling.

It is important to not let the past mistakes influence how you perform.

Learn to brush off the mistakes and focus on your performance at hand, not what you did five minutes ago. Dwelling on what you did won’t change anything other than where your focus is now.

You are setting yourself up for failure when you expect to have a perfect performance or expect to have a performance with no mistakes.

Why does this set you up for failure?

The moment you make a mistake, you start believing you are under performing, which leads to you either trying too hard or dwell on your mistakes.

The first step to handling these mistakes is to come mentally prepared to competition knowing that gymnasts make mistakes and you have to accept that.

The next step is to manage your high expectations. Learn when you are setting high expectations. Learn how to replace your expectations with smaller goals instead.

Set a goal to stick to your mental choreography, for example. When you place the high expectation of performing a skill perfectly, you will end up beating yourself when you do mess up.

To be the best gymnast you can be, learn to focus in the present moment on the skills or routines you are doing, not on the one you made a mistake in.

For more helpful information on mental skills check out our The Confident Gymnast workbook and CD program.

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