Mental Blocks

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

  1. mischiefmanaged

    mischiefmanaged I make my own voiceovers

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    CP has had mental blocks this year due to an injury last year from a back walkover, I've had to learn to just step back. I don't go to practice very often and when she gets home I have changed from asking her about tumbling. Instead I ask her things like "So what's something that went well tonight? What's something new you learned?" At first she wouldn't mention tumbling but it's gotten to every now and then she will mention something about tumbling and I was completely blown away during their 2nd competition CP did her back walkover. It was not a pretty one but she did it and her coach made a huge deal about how excited she was that she did it during the routine. I think now she has been working on cleaning it up but she hasn't said anything and I haven't been at practice so I don't know for sure.

     
  2. CIACheerMom

    CIACheerMom Cheer Stalker

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    I agree with everything posted previously. My daughter struggled with a mental block on and off again for more than two years, with her longest stretch being nine months with no tumbling. We literally went through three total seasons where she would block for no reason. Hers started out of the blue and was with her round off bhs. It got to the point where she was not throwing any tumbling-not even a standing bhs. We tried it all-sports psychology, hypnosis, books, bribery (her coach even offered her a new iPhone and $100). Nothing worked. We stopped all privates because they were not doing anything for her and eventually she came out of it. It was funny-she did one round off bhs, the next day she was doing round off three bhs and the next week she was doing round off, bhs, tuck, which was a still she had never done on her own before because she kept blocking on the round off bhs. So basically her body knew what to do after all of this time, but her mind would not let her. At the beginning of the season last year and this year, she did have some small mental snafus, but she had a gym change this year, so that was likely a part of it. I still to this day cannot watch her tumbling in real time at all and get that same feeling in the pit of my stomach when she does not throw a skill. For example, she gets tired before her level 4 running tumbling pass because there is so much tumbling before and might just throw a FWO RO or a FWO RO BHS. I was just watching a video back where she did that her last competition and it always gives me that "feeling". My point is, every kid is different and there is no prescription or magic pill to make it come back to them. It is in their own time. So my advice is if you have tried it all and it is still not working, let her take control of the situation. I let my CP let me know what tumbling classes she wants to take and when. We never push new skills, but leave it up to her, so she has the control over the situation. We never discuss tumbling unless she brings it up. Right now she has decided she would like to get a full, so is deciding to take some extra classes this summer, but based on her history is something we would never push. Good luck! I know all too well how frustrating it can be.
     
  3. FierceandFab

    FierceandFab I'm new. Don't Hurt Me

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    this exact thing is happening to us!!
     
  4. CIACheerMom

    CIACheerMom Cheer Stalker

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    I left the coaching up to the staff and did not get involved. However, if it is something that is consistently upsetting your CP, that particular gym may not be a right match. You can always voice your concerns and have a meeting as well, stating how their coaching is affecting your child. There is a certain pressure in all star cheer to keep skills and obtain new ones, and every coach has their own way of going about coaching their athletes.
     
  5. oncecoolcoachnowmom

    oncecoolcoachnowmom Bestest Newbie '14

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    Know your kid, know what she can handle and when it may be time to seek out a new gym or coach.

    As a cheerleader, I was pretty thick-skinned. I could handle the occasional "I can't want this for you" or "maybe this is not the team for you" when I was having a hard time with a skill. It made me want to prove them wrong.

    In contrast, my baby niece is not that. She is opposite. She has a lot of anxiety. Any coach saying anything remotely in the vein of "We are just going to have to replace you" is not only not going to make her throw it, but she is probably going to cry. She then is going to completely lose her confidence and start making mistakes on skills she actually CAN throw.

    So she does not cheer where people tend to coach aggressively.

    Make decisions that fit your kid.
     
  6. oncecoolcoachnowmom

    oncecoolcoachnowmom Bestest Newbie '14

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    I will add on that while even the best coaches have frustrating moments with kids and blocks, but if you are constantly:

    *Yelling.

    *Threatening to replace kids (I read on here about a coach who would have the kid's potential replacement sit in front of the mat watching them.)

    *Getting 2 inches from kid's faces and yelling "I'm done with you!"

    *Embarrassing kids in front of their teammates. Ex: yelling "why don't you take your crybaby self home if you're not going to throw it for your team!"

    *Being overly-dismissive. Ex: Saying "I guess you don't really want it. Go find a new sport." every practice. It is not necessary that someone "pack it up" because they can't throw their 2 to full. The sport has levels for a reason.

    *Using other kids to embarrass kids (Once l saw a rec cheer cheer coach call over a little kid to throw a BHS in front of an older middle school girl who could not do it and say "Really Suzy, a Flag football cheerleader can throw it. You need to buck up."

    You are not coaching or motivating.

    You are bullying.

    That is emotional terrorism.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2017
  7. justpeachy

    justpeachy I'm an announcer on CBS for Worlds (or should be)

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    Emotional terrorism. Perfectly stated.

    It will destroy a child and their passion for the sport. If this behavior occurs, stop it at any cost.
     
  8. justpeachy

    justpeachy I'm an announcer on CBS for Worlds (or should be)

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    Find a new gym. They care about winning more than they care about developing athletes. Also, this approach is counterproductive.
     
  9. CIACheerMom

    CIACheerMom Cheer Stalker

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    It depends. After my daughter took a break from privates, her tumbling coach asked to start seeing her again. Now he is a very patient coach, but after nine months of not getting anywhere with her, he was going to try a different route. He asked me if I was opposed to really being strict with her and making her more scared of him than the skill. At this point, we had nothing to lose, so I told him ok. I also let my daughter know of this plan. Coincidentally she never made it to point, as she actually started tumbling on her own later that week. So, while continual pressure and berating is never good for a child, there are certain exceptions where tough love can make an impact. But more times, it causes a lot more stress and frustration as the athlete wants more than anything to tumble, but just cannot. I have also seen it the other way, where the coaches are incredibly patient and cater to the needs of the athlete, but do not break through the block.
     
  10. justpeachy

    justpeachy I'm an announcer on CBS for Worlds (or should be)

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    There is definitely a balance.
     
  11. CC1107

    CC1107 They call me Susie

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    I agree wholeheartedly. My daughter's block got WORSE when the block was 'babied'. Now no one yelled, no one threatened things, but she responded to calm, straightforward responses. Firm and tough but not belittling. I had many other moms in the waiting area looking at me like I was crazy when I didn't make everything all better when my blocked kid came crying in frustration. I always, ALWAYS stated that the skills she was throwing mattered squat to me (and they don't Level 1, level 5 as long as she's happy I'm happy) but I always was very straightforward about what the block might cost her versus HER goals for herself. Not mean in anyway, but honest and more tough love than coddling.

    She's got a teensy tiny block with her 2 to a full right now. I simply remind her that if her goal is really level 5 next year, that'll keep her off it and she better figure it out. This normally gets her to get out of her head. If I was to be sympathetic and say, "it's OK, you'll do it next time," or "it doesn't matter, you have all the other skills you need" she doesn't respond. Ignoring her frustration or not bringing it up just causes her upset as well. So I think it's about knowing what works for your kid. Let them call the shots.
     
  12. oncecoolcoachnowmom

    oncecoolcoachnowmom Bestest Newbie '14

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    I think there is a balance between babying it and just plain emotionally terrorizing kids.

    I agree that the best response is probably unemotional and straightforward.

    I also think there is a time to tell kids they are going get pulled and moved to another team.

    I get that we can't baby Suzy and keep her on Level 2 if she has been blocked on her BHS all season.

    But that has to be handled in the most unembarrassing manner possible.

    Like, if you were getting fired and you knew you weren't doing your job well, you'd want it handled privately.

    So if Suzy is being moved or replaced:

    The right way - You have warned her privately and told the parent. She's prepared so one day you pull her aside and tell her that this week is her last week on J2. She is sad but she was warned. You tell her teammates if they ask, that she is needed on J1.

    The emotional terrorism way - You constantly are threatening in front of the team. You make it so that the team feels ok being like "Yeah Suzy quit being such a baby and throw it." One day at a practice you yell "That's it, you're moving to J1." Everyone is like "oh snap no one wants to be on J1." Kid is hurt and embarrassed.

    The babying way - You refuse to move kids. You have a kid who has blocked on all BHS skills since summer time. You tell her "it's ok" every time she bails. You continue to put her in the routine even though she freaks out and bails. You have Y2 kids you could cross up but you refuse because you do not want the kid or parent to be upset. You are now sacrificing the team and the scoresheet to keep someone from being hurt about moving teams.
     
  13. BBinNCsMom

    BBinNCsMom I text ACEDAD all the time

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    This a million freaking times. I can't shimmy this enough.
     
  14. Payton Lewis

    Payton Lewis Best Flyer.. on a parent team

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    As someone who is still going through a 4 year mental block. I can say that when parents and coaches are aggressive in trying to 'help' get the skills back, it makes it worse. By asking constantly or always talking about it puts pressure on the athlete. When we aren't able to throw the skill it makes us angry and by hearing about it from others it take any confidence we had away. I've tried many things to get over mine, I even went to a sports psychologist. And we somewhat figured out the root of my problem (confidence and perfectionism) but after so many years it's hard to overcome those things
     
  15. EMMbaleena

    EMMbaleena They call me Susie

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    On the note of mental blocks...We've recently had the first 'major' mental block in our gym with a BHS, standing and running. We took steps backward, took the kid back to drills and boulder BHS and encouraged her that she would get back to it when she was ready. Eventually, we got there and they were looking even better than before and she was definitely more confident with it.
    Then, about 3 weeks ago on a Wednesday, she came into practice in hysterics and told us that she couldn't do her BHS, her mind just wouldn't let her. That Monday she had been in the gym at tumbling class throwing them everywhere. Tuesday she was unable to make it to open gym. We then found out that there was a disagreement between divorced parents about whether open gym was mandatory and getting her into the gym (open gym is NOT mandatory). Anyway, we now believe that the block is stemming from issues at home and we're at a loss of what to do and how to help her!
    Do we start from square one again? She is even scared to try it with a spotter. Her parents (both sets) are not the most patient, and expect her to get back on the horse pretty quickly, so I'm not entirely sure that taking a step back and removing privates from the situation will be received well.
    The last thing that we want is for her to end up disliking cheerleading because of this entire situation. Any suggestions are appreciated!