Simone Biles’ Gymnastics Perspective

Gymnast Psychology

Maintaining a Positive Perspective

Do you rise up to overcome obstacles or do you allow those challenges to block you from future success?

Perspective is the tool all athletes use to interpret their experiences. The word ‘perspective’ is derived from the Latin ‘perspicere’ which means ‘to see through.’

Perspective is the lens through which a gymnast views his or her circumstances. Most events (winning, losing, injury, errors, etc.) are relatively neutral but we assign them meaning by labeling them either positive or negative. It’s your interpretation of your experiences that dictate how you respond to your circumstances.

Simone Biles is a 16-year-old American gymnast. At the 2012 Junior National Championships, Biles won the gold on vault and won a bronze medal in the all-around competition. A year later, Biles was competing in the biggest competition in her career, the 2013 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Antwerp, Belgium.

Biles maintained her positive perspective at World Championships, focusing on what she needed to do in the moment,

“I was pretty confident, so I just focused on what we did in training.”

Her perspective paid off at the 2013 World Championships when she won the Women’s All-Around competition including a gold medal on the floor exercise, a silver medal in the vault and a bronze medal on the balance beam.

Biles performed confidently at World Championships despite being a rookie at the competition and left Anwerp as the most decorated female gymnast.  Biles kept her sport in perspective not allowing herself to become overwhelmed with her new title.

When asked how winning the World Championship All-Around title will affect her gymnastics, Biles responded,

“I don’t think it will. It’s just gymnastics, so it can’t really affect anything.”

Biles stayed focused on the present despite questions regarding her expectations for competing in the 2016 Olympics. Explaining how she will proceed in the future, Biles stated,

“I don’t think of 2016, because I just want to cherish the moments we have right now. I don’t think too far ahead.  I think that’s the most important.”

Biles further revealed her positive perspective prior to having surgery this week to remove a bone spur from the bottom of her right tibia. Biles tweeted just before heading into surgery:

“Getting a bone spur removed from my ankle! Quick surgery & speedy recovery! NO WORRIES!”

Keys to developing a positive perspective:

  1. You should realize that you ascribe meaning to events by classifying experiences as positive or negative.
  2. You must understand that how you see things will greatly influence your near future.
  3. You can make good things happen out of any circumstance.
  4. You need to be able to see the “big picture” to prevent yourself from becoming overwhelmed by issues that come up in gymnastics.
  5. You should focus your efforts on what you are doing now.

You are shaping your future at this very moment, no matter what you are experiencing.

Today’s adversity may lead to tomorrow’s success… it’s just a matter of perspective.

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