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Gymnastics/Mental block RO BHS BT


My daughter, Faith is almost 12 and just finished her level 5 season and is currently training up for level 7, and has developed a mental block for RO BHS BT. She has great power and her skills are amazing but she can't go... She has been off and on with this for a while now and she is getting so frustrated. Her coach decided to take out the BHS to see if the connection was the problem, she seemed to be fine with the RO BT but then all the sudden has stopped that and doesn't know why. She can do them in the yard, on the beach or anywhere else but the not gym floor. She says her coach makes her nervous and she stalls out after her RO. She wants to move forward but can't due to this mental block. She is great on beam, bars and vault but the floor is holding her back and she wants so badly to move past it and stay past it to move forward. Can you please help?

Thank you!

Hello Michelle,
         I am very glad to help you.  The first thing to accept is the best way to owning the phobic trick again is not to practice it.  Yes……not to practice it.  The mind needs to clear itself of the phobia.  Once the mind believes there is no pressure and has cleared itself….performing it again will once again be no problem.  Patience in this process is quite important.  Remember that phobias are mental, not physical.  The problem is the way your mind perceives the trick.  If you trick your mind it clears your mind and then you are back on the original track.  I coach gymnasts to get rid of phobias all the time.  I take the gymnast back to basics.  For the back handspring….performing a back walkover, back limber then a kickover or cartwheel to a back handspring will help in representing the same line but different speed.  Also, working with a back handspring trainer is very beneficial just for high levels of repetition.  Most gymnastics schools have them and they are great for overcoming phobias….since it is like an amusement ride.  Okay, for the back flips….the best thing is to start in an overhead belt off the end of a spring board, then the tramp and then tumbling.  Repetition is the key. Please be athletically patient….that is the hardest thing….an after thought…..have a different coach watch her perform.  Just try to take the commonality at of the equation.  I wish you the very best and Take Care – Jack Leonard  


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Jack Leonard


Former 5 time Natl. Tumbling Champ, 3 time Natl. Vaulting Champ, Natl. Floor Exercise Champ; Ass`t coach of Dominique Dawes for 6 years; Owner/Director/Head coach of Kauai Gymnastics Academy on the island of Kauai in Hawaii; Retired Physical Ed teacher; Childrens Fitness Expert; Expert Consultant for gymnastics litigation; Retired Mens & Womens HS Gymnastics coach for 32 years. National coaching honors for Men in 1981 & Women in 2001.


I value the following awards because they were given by acknowlegement through my peers: The Nissen/Grissold Award given to the outstanding Tumbling and Tramp Athlete(1972), National High School coach of the year in 1981 for men and 2001 for women, 10 time County Coach of the Year. Medal Award given at the first World Tumbling Championships in London, England for dedication to the sport. Lastly, having the opportunity to coach Wes Suter(1988 Olympian)in his intermediate years and Dominique Dawes(1992 & 1996)

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