Mental Blocks

Discussion in 'Allstar Cheerleading' started by SthrnCheerMom, Feb 13, 2017.

  1. SthrnCheerMom

    SthrnCheerMom I shimmy daily

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    This might be a little long. But I need to give some background.

    DD has been level 2 for a while. This time last year she had her RO/Tuck completely without a spot and it was beautiful. She had her FP but only on a thin mat (wouldn't throw it on the actual floor). It too was beautiful. At the end of her tumble session, they were doing evals. When she went to throw her RO/Tuck, when she opened up, something happened and she landed funny. Not a true face plant but pretty close. It scared her. It's been a battle ever since. Well that was also right as our AS season was winding down and it was getting close to tryouts for the next season. We were doing privates to try and get her back to throwing that skill. Unfortunately, she landed in a dead spot on the floor and fractured the growth plate on her ankle. She was out of the gym for 3 weeks. When she was cleared to come back, it was like she had completely forgotten everything. However she worked hard got back to where she was, minus the RO/Tuck and front punch.


    Since then, we have done privates, we've had open gym, she's been spotted by other coaches. She just can't break past that wall. She can throw the skill with a spot. But there are times she just freezes there too. We were doing a private recently and her coach said these privates weren't teaching her anything. She knows it, she just needs to get out of her head. We talked about it that night and she says she knows what to do but when she gets up there to do it, it's like it falls out of her head and she forgets. I can see true fear on her face sometimes.

    She started another tumbling session tonight. Since it was the first night, it was really just an acclimation night. There were a few times where she froze (there wasn't any spotting being done).

    Any suggestions? She is frustrated. I'm frustrated for her. This time last year she had it and it was beautiful. Now it's like she just.can't.push.past.that.wall!
     
  2. justcheering

    justcheering Cheer Stalker

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    Sounds like she's putting a lot of pressure on herself. Have you taken a break from privates? Level 2 is so much fun! I would have her take a break and just focus on her season without worrying about getting that tumbling back.
     
  3. dawgshow

    dawgshow Slow your roll, Sparkle. National Champion

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    BTDT, please listen to this difficult advice. Step away. Step far, far away. Do not watch her tumble. Do not talk to her about tumbling. When she comes out of class don't say anything other than "did you have fun?" or "what sounds good for dinner?"
    If she talks to you about it either change the subject or say something like "you'll tumble when your body is ready. What sounds good for dinner?"
    Something is making her feel unsafe tumbling right now, which makes sense given her past. Give her time and she'll get there. Or maybe she won't. There is NOTHING that you can do to help her. There is a TON of things that you can do to make it worse, though. I did everything wrong with my CP and her tumbling issues lasted years. Yes, years. She still has confidence issues that I accept full blame for. She just doesn't quite trust me 100% to say or do the right thing (see above for acceptable things to say).
    Kudos to the coach discouraging privates right now! Sounds like s/he knows that it's not a skill issue, it's something else. Pushing her, even unintentionally, will make it worse.
     
  4. FloridaFlya

    FloridaFlya When all else fails.... I shimmy

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    As someone who has had a mental block lasting 4-5 years, I completely agree with this. I had an accident as well while I was on a youth 2 and went until aging out of junior 4 with a mental block. Whenever my mom or coach would get frustrated or confused with me as to why I couldn't do it, it made me even more upset about it. And scared. And I'm not talking about a mental block for anything special. Just a single handspring. When going to throw a pass I butchered a handspring and didn't throw it again without a spot since that day.

    When I aged out of the junior level I switched to another gym. By the second week I was throwing my skills again. It took a 2 month break from cheer, new instructors, new teammates and a new environment for me to allow my mind to free itself from the torture of a mental block.

    I don't know that you are able to eventually branch out to another gym whether it be just for a tumbling class or a switch, but in the end what helped me was months without all the questions from my mom and coaches. It also didn't help that my coaches kept moving me up levels without the tumbling. That essentially babied me. I gained my tumbling back after creating small tactics for myself that helped me. One huge help was realizing I couldn't just stand there until "I was ready" or I would never be ready. My coach had me do toe touch pause backhandspring to an eight count. He started to critique the toe touch itself so that I was focused on that and distracted from my fear of throwing the handspring.

    All of this came from my own personal thoughts. Switching gyms was my idea. Realizing I needed to move rather than just stand on the floor with someone waiting for me to throw it was my own realization. It takes a lot. But I owe it to that new gym I went to. That change in my life, separating from a gym I had been with from the "Jr. Prep" days to a junior 4, is what I needed.

    This is very detailed, very lengthy, but don't let CPs tumbling block frustrate you. She needs small distractions. The more her days are focused on the tumbling block, the longer it will last. Good luck!
     
  5. cheer25mom

    cheer25mom Slow your roll, Sparkle.

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    ITA to everything they have said about mental blocks. There si nothing we can do as a parent but step back and let our kids work it out while we support them. One thing here bothers me though. Why were they teaching her RO tuck before RO BHS tuck? In our gym that is a big no-no and has lead to a lot of mental blocks. The RO forces the set for the tuck, so they don't always learn a strong enough set for the skill. It doesn't always teach the same solid technique in the actual skill as learning it out of a BHS so when something goes wrong, kids don't have the confidence in their ability to bail safely. There is a girl on CP's team now that tried to learn the RO tuck before RO BHS tuck because her BHS wasn't ready to tuck out of and she was desperate to progress. She went somewhere else and found a coach that would work the skill. She got it, and it looked great, but busted it one day and just quit tumbling because she was afraid. 6 months later, she threw a handspring in competition for the first time since the block last weekend.
     
  6. all4sarah

    all4sarah Cheer Stalker

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    Our gym teaches RO tuck before RO BHS tuck also.
     
  7. Jolette

    Jolette Cheer Stalker

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    I've always wondered about that! At our gym it's like a RO tuck isn't even a thing, no one does it ever, not even in the routines!
     
  8. mamabear

    mamabear Slow your roll, Sparkle.

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    I second what they said above. Step back. Let the coaches and your CP work thru it. Try to remove yourself from the situation. "We" are not taking the privates and "we" are not focusing on getting back the skills. Unfortunately, this path is for your CP to conquer alone. It will happen :)
     
  9. Hmack

    Hmack Last Pass... on International Open 1

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    What do you do for mental blocks if the coach and teammates are being extremely aggressive about getting the skill back?
     
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  10. Carriejoe

    Carriejoe I nugget in the back

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    I've had a CP with a block coming on 2 years now. She fell three times in a week or so (once into something, once after she hit that thing and once out of weird whip). That was it. Nothing that involved a BHS. She was level 4/5. I tried taking a break, privates, etc but it wasn't until I really realized that it had nothing to do with her body and all with her head that we both made progress. I totally backed off. It is still hard - but its so important. Also, we have a sports psychologist at our gym - totally helped!

    Thankfully her gym placed her at a level where she can progress with stunting while working back on those tumbling skills (4.2) without crazy pressure. She's thriving. Last week she pulled her BHS on the floor in her routine. I missed it of course because I don't watch but I hear it was exciting. That said, she's been pulling her standing tuck which she finds easier.

    All you can do is investigate the options that may help and support. And know it can take time.
     
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  11. CC1107

    CC1107 They call me Susie

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    My daughter had a 'mental block' for 6 months after losing her RO BHS Tuck following time off for an injury. I read articles, took the hands off approach, took the hands on approach, became her biggest cheerleader, acted uninterested, tried bribes. What finally worked? I asked her what she wanted me to do, she was miserable - the frustration from the block was effecting things outside of cheer. She desperately wanted someone to help. We found this article - The Unbeatable Formula For Conquering Mental Blocks In Tumbling and did became our guide. We read it together. I took an active but no pressure role. Not only did I not lament about her block, I also didn't overly celebrate her success as she shared that put pressure on her to repeat it. We set a long term goal and I was persistent about asking her if she did what her goal sheet had laid out. I held her to her plan. We did this alone, tumbling coaches just seemed to make it worse. Within three weeks of the goal sheet the mental block was completely gone. She's never blocked on that skill ever again, it's been almost 2 years.

    Fast forward to this past weekend, my daughter, who has had her full for months and has been working her double comes out the gym teary eyed stating she had "forgotten how to twist." I had not been watching but went to the viewing area and saw a complete flashback to 2 years ago, right down to her avoidance behaviors and fidgeting. After we left that day, I told my now older daughter that she had to stop this before it started - she knew what to do. That I could care less what tumbling she could throw but I knew she would disappointed if she didn't push through. And I again asked what she wanted me to do. She answered that she needed me to push.

    Next day at the gym the fidgeting and avoidance started, her first break when she came out I reminded her that no throws were bad for her process and it's OK if she not throwing anything today but that means we need to leave the gym - we can't stay to have her get worked up and no throw for an extended period, that's bad muscle memory. I was not angry or accusing, didn't raise my voice or act disappointed, just very matter of fact. I wasn't threatening, just stating the fact. However, I had never seen my 14 year old more angry in her life. She literally marched in the gym, threw her full and marched back out to tell me she wasn't leaving and went back in and proceeded to complete all the skills she was working on during her level 5 tumbling class.

    Why tell this silly story - me taking a step completely back didn't work for daughter. She needed me there to push. Now I didn't threaten or ground her or punish. I didn't coddle or bribe (well, maybe bribe a little - I'm human - she got a shamrock shake yesterday for not no throwing and her long term goal sheet had a 'reward' after following through for 3 months). She needed someone to hold her accountable that she trusted.

    I think your approach depends on your daughter. Try to follow her lead. And read that article. It was a life saver.
     
  12. cheer25mom

    cheer25mom Slow your roll, Sparkle.

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    None of our teams throw them in routines either. Our coaches look on it as a "cheap" way of meeting level 3 requirements and feel that using them before Ro BHS tuck is 100% mastered builds bad habits.
     
  13. queenie

    queenie I nugget in the back

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  14. queenie

    queenie I nugget in the back

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    You sit down with the coach and discuss it. I dealt with that last year and it only made things worse. Instead of just feeling like she was letting herself down, she felt like she was letting her coach and team mates down as well. I talked to the coach and they changed their approach to a more encouraging one.
     
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  15. summerhair

    summerhair They call me Susie

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