As we get closer to tryouts, athletes have started coming into the gym more and more to achieve new skills and perfect the ones they already have. While we love seeing all the hard work and energy, we sometimes see athletes all of a sudden encounter a mental block. Even if you have never experienced a mental block yourself, it’s totally normal — frustrating, yes, but normal. In this post, we want to share some ways you can push past your mental tumbling block, regardless of whether you’re performing on the mat or just working on your skills in tumbling class.
Whatever skill isn’t happening, take the time to break down every second of the skill. Repeat the tumbling pass in your head about 30 times in painstaking detail. Do this at practice, before practice, before bed — whenever you would like. Start from how it would look and feel as you do it yourself, then visualize what it would be like to watch yourself executing the skill. Visualization can actually strengthen the neurological connections in your brain that allow you to throw the skill, so we cannot recommend this method enough.
Usually, the drills we give our athletes during tumbling classes also mimic the movements of the skills themselves. Ask your coach for three drills you can work on to regain your tumbling skill. For example, if you are struggling with a roundoff back handspring, you may want to do a roundoff-rebound drill. Maybe do a roundoff back handspring over a boulder. Finally, you could do hip-raise-and-reach drills on a cheese mat. No matter what it is you need to work on, you can find simple drills that break down the movements. Do these drills until you can do hundreds of repetitions without thinking about them. Even if your brain doesn’t want you to throw the skill, your body will quickly learn that it is totally safe and it knows what to do.
Choose the Right Surface
If throwing your skill on the spring floor is still terrifying, don’t worry. Try to find a surface that doesn’t require a spot. The goal is to make you feel as comfortable as possible while you rebuild your confidence. For many, this can mean learning on an Air Trak or a Tumbling Trak. Once you feel as though you could throw thirty reps of your “blocked” skill without a spot, do exactly that. After a little while, you will feel confident to move up to a slightly more-difficult floor, such as a rod floor.
If you feel as if you cannot throw your skill alone on any surface yet, that is okay! Take a video of yourself throwing the skill with a spotter so you can see exactly how much (or how little) they are helping you. This can help you increase your faith in yourself and improve how long it takes before you feel ready to do the skill on your own.
Tumbling Classes in Georgia
In order to get over your tumbling block and ensure you’re receiving the best possible training, come to tumbling classes at one of our MGA Cheer Extreme locations! We look forward to seeing you soon.