Mental Blocks are a frustrating and very real thing.....
Anyone who has had them knows how crippling they can be. Mentally, Physically and Emotionally exhausting on all parties.....the athlete, the coaches, and of course the parents. Coaches and Parents will try anything to get their athlete/child back out on the mat, field or floor! They will be sweet and encouraging, supportive, pay for private sessions with coaches, make them practice extra, be patient, do nothing, even resort to bribery, and when all else fails... the threat of not being able to continue the sport. Over the last 4 months, I have probably worked with a dozen or so mental block clients. With almost all of the parents reporting that they have tried everything they can think of! And they have reached the end of their rope with feeling helpless, defeated and broken hearted that they can't help their athlete who in some cases has experienced a block for up to and over a year.
The most adorable and my youngest client to date. She is 8. Cheers for Empire Elite in Gilbert AZ and has been doing so for a long time! Mom reported to me that at the beginning of the season Brielle suddenly stopped throwing her back handspring. And now hasn't done it all year in competitions. Previously she had been working on her back handsprings to a tuck and now.... nothing. With the season coming to an end, and tryouts just around the corner, she was determined to help her daughter get out of her block so she can continue to move up to the next level next year.
So why do mental blocks happen? Typically there is some sort of event that triggers the block, sometimes it's subtle ( like being afraid to cross tumble ), sometimes it's more obvious like a fall or an injury and sometimes it can have nothing to do with the sport, like outside pressures or family events. Of the clients I have had, the blocks have ranged from, illness, death or cancer of a family member, a fall, not trusting a coach because something happened one time, witnessing someone else fall or in Brielle's case.... in her routine, there is a tall girl in front of her and they both have to tumble backwards and Brielle became afraid the girl would hit her while tumbling. And then she also had a cross tumbling pass where she was afraid of the same thing( them colliding). Brielle's parents have tried everything over the course of the year and now with all of those attempts, Brielle also feels the pressure of disappointing them and not performing the way she knows she can. Which as you can imagine, just makes it more difficult. I began working with Brielle on March 18th and we started by simply talking and trying to identify the what, the why and the how her mental block came to be. And then we started focusing on what we could do to help change the way she was handling her fear. The goal she wanted to accomplish was to have her back handspring by her last competition on April 9th. And not only did she want to do her back handspring, but her back walkover back handspring as well as her round off back handspring. So together by focusing on what she wanted, doing the homework I gave her, writing her goals down in baby steps to get her skill back and really visualizing herself doing it. This combined with allowing me to be the one to help her move through the struggle and taking mom and dad out of the equation temporarily, so they could just be the supporters and I could be the pusher to help relieve the pressure from Brielle. There became a mind shift, and a slow progression of gaining her self confidence back. Most mental blocks are related to lack of self confidence for one reason or another and when an athlete can gain that back, what can transpire is awesome!
For the last 3 weeks Brielle has accomplished the small goals we have set in order to get her to her final goal and last week we had already accomplished all her goals so we actually moved beyond her initial goals and set new ones. Now that her she understands she can do it and her confidence is so much stronger, she is just flourishing and wants to keep going!!! It is so awesome to see when the light bulb clicks and the mindset changes.... the power it can have!!! From someone who was scared to death to someone on cloud nine and so proud of herself! So much so, that I owe her ice cream because she busted out 7 back handsprings in a row!! I counsel all my clients, that "where the focus goes, the mind grows" So by eliminating distractions, focusing on the positive and not the negative, taking baby steps to build that confidence and then daily repetitions for the physical and mental ability.... it can all come together... and when it does oh...it's such a beautiful thing! The power of the mind is incredible and when you can unlock it....abilities become endless. And not just for athletes, but for anyone who wants to accomplish anything. It's all about overcoming your fears!
Did I mention...I so love what I do!!! And Brielle I am so proud of you!!! Way to GO!
Also, so proud of Sam, Kayla, Ireland, Jaiedyn, and Kayla( I have 2 ) to name a few of my most recent athletes who have invested, worked hard and believed in themselves to break through their fears to get to the other side!
Define your Q....live your Q.....