Do fears and lost skills hold you back from reaching your best performance?
You need to stay in the moment, focusing on the FEEL of your skills and not your thoughts.
So what kind of a head do you have on your shoulders? Are you performing at the level that you’re capable of? Do fears, blocks and self-doubts paralyze you and prevent you from performing to your potential? Have you lost the ability to go backwards? Do you regularly perform better in practice than you do in important competitions?
If some of these questions bother you, then you probably already know how critically important the mental part of cheer is. If you want to take your performance to the next level, then you have to be willing to take your training far beyond where most athletes stop. Most serious cheer athletes religiously work on the physical part of the sport. They’ll work on their strength, flexibility, fitness, and rhythm. They’ll work on the proper technique. Is this stuff important? You betcha! You can’t become successful without “paying your physical dues” in this way. Hard work is definitely one of the main keys to your success. Without it, you’ll quickly fall behind.
Fears, blocks and lost skills are a NORMAL part of your sport
- Being afraid and losing skills does NOT mean that you are a “head case!”
- When you can’t get your body to go for a skill, this is because your body has a way of telling you that you’re not feeling safe inside. (even if you don’t actually feel afraid!)
- When this happens, stay calm, patient and positive because getting frustrated and impatient with yourself will only make your fears and block worse.
- Your job at this point is to try to break the skills down so that you feel safer inside.
- Get a spot, pile mats up, go back to lead up skills
- Remember, these “bumps” in the road are normal and temporary and how you respond to them is THE key!
Unfortunately, this is where most cheerleaders stop. When they go into their competitions or important try-outs, they hope they’ll perform well, they hope that they’ll have their “A” game with them today, they hope that they’ll be able to execute perfectly. You would never leave your strength, conditioning or technique to chance. So why would you leave the most important part of your cheer performance – the mental part – to chance?
Think about this: Getting good as an athlete in practice is 95% physical and 5% mental. Translation: You have to work hard on your conditioning and “physical game” to make it happen. However, once you get ready to perform and it counts, the percentages flip-flop. Being successful is 95% mental and 5% physical. You have the conditioning, technique and strategy; now you have to make sure that you stay calm under pressure and keep yourself focused on the right things. For example, your concentration needs to stay in the moment, on responding immediately to the skill you’re doing and being ready to adjust at a moment’s notice. If you let your mind jump ahead to the future, (i.e. thinking about winning or messing up) or slip back to the past (i.e. a previous mistake or fall), then you’ll end up getting yourself too uptight and distracted to perform to your potential. This means that you have to be able to rebound quickly from your mistakes and not carry them into the next moment or performance.
As a cheer athlete, you have to believe in yourself and have the self-confidence to focus only on you – nobody else – when you’re under pressure. You have to be able to handle last-minute negativity and self-doubts and understand that these are very normal!
With a little work, you can learn to manage your fears, regain lost skills and develop mental toughness. We can help you get there.
As a Sports Performance Consultant, Dr. Alan Goldberg has worked with gymnasts and cheerleaders at all levels around the United States from elite all the way down. Dr. G presents to cheer teams and gymnastics clubs around the US. His articles on mental toughness and peak performance have appeared in International Gymnast and Technique. Dr. G is the author of the revolutionary book This Is Your Brain On Sports: Beating Blocks, Slumps and Performance Anxiety For Good!, Sports Slump Busting, Sticking It, and his newest program, Gymnastics With The Competitive Edge, that directly addresses the fears and blocks experienced by many Cheer athletes.
My daughter is an 11 year old competitive gymnast and facing some mental blocks on her back tumbling, skills she has performed for years. After gym today she mentioned that she use to feel like just giving up and quitting. I'm so glad I found your CD's. She is back to her old self again!
My 12-year-old hasn't been able to tumble backwards since a scary fall. Before then, she was fearless! Your CDs taught her how common this problem was and exactly what to do! I can't thank you enough!
My competitive cheer daughter who had been stuck on her back tumbling pass for almost a year used the gymnastics audio program you suggested and the results have been amazing! My girl is smiling again!
Haley and was chosen as one of twelve girls that made the cheer squad at Stanford! In tryouts she was able to do ALL of her tumbling and stunting! She has finally learned how to master her fears and compete! I couldn't be more proud of her! Thank you again for all that you do! Grateful.
OVERCOMING PERFORMANCE FEARS AND BLOCKS IN CHEER Fears, balking and lost skills in the gym are often confusing and incredibly frustrating to coaches, gymnasts and their parents. Few realize that these mysterious performance problems most often come from past scary experiences.
WHY GYMNASTS, DIVERS, SKATERS AND CHEERLEADERS SUDDENLY SEEM TO LOSE THEIR SKILLS AND BALK Over the years I get countless referrals from athletes who, for no apparent reason, suddenly lose their skills and ability to execute what once came easily to them.
THE MENTAL SIDE OF ATHLETIC INJURIES The mental pain caused by your injury and the temporary or permanent loss of your sport can be far more devastating than the strained or torn ligaments, pulled muscles, ripped cartilage or broken bones. Unless this type of pain is directly addressed and “treated”, your overall recovery will be slow and incomplete.