Fearless: Tips for Hesitant Gymnasts
Only one in three children are active every day. Though the lack of activity is bad for children’s health, participating in sports like gymnastic classes can help.
Stage fright can be an easy way for children to get frightened before performing a stunt. Hesitating or tensing up halfway through a vault or balance beam exercise can lead to adding children to hesitate.
If you or your child is a gymnast struggling with a fear block, try these tips and tricks to overcome hesitation:
1. Acknowledge that You’re Afraid, and Identify Why
The first step to overcoming fear is admitting that you’re feeling afraid. Try to think about what exactly is the source of your fear. Have you had a recent injury that you don’t want to repeat? Are you feeling stage fright? Figuring out where your worry is coming from will help you remedy the issue.
2. Prepare the Space Properly, Every Time
Before every gymnastic class or performance, take time to check the mats and other equipment. This small step will help you feel safe knowing that protective equipment is ready to catch you should you fall.
3. Practice Visualization Exercises
Like any muscle, the mind needs coaching, too. Spend a few minutes each day visualizing the routine in your mind, running over every detail of its execution. Imagine yourself successfully completing the motions, and even evoke the positive feelings of a job well done to help dispel nervousness.
4. Trust Your Coach
Though it may be hard to believe, most coaches do not encourage new stunts until they are 100% sure that you can handle the challenge. During your gymnastic class, talk with your coach about your nerves, and think of solutions together that can keep you safe and help you have fun.
5. Care for Your Health
Preventing injury and avoiding worry start with a good diet and a good night’s rest. If you’re stressed, exhausted, or overcoming an illness, your mental and physical game won’t be at its peak. Care for your overall wellbeing to help your performance and reduce your fears.
6. Just Do It!
Sometimes, a mental block is best overcome with action. If you’ve been hesitating and anxious about a new stunt or routine for several days or even weeks, and you’ve safely prepared to the best of your ability, it might be time to just buckle down and perform. Once you’ve tried the trick and fallen three or four times, you might be less afraid of the failure, and more willing to work through the challenge.
Pushing through fear is difficult, but it’s a huge part of what makes gymnasts so confident and impressive. Try these six tips to master your mind for even better performance at gymnastics events. Remember to stay safe, and have fun!