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Gymnastics/11 yr old level 4 gymnast


Hello Robert,

My daughter is a level 4 gymnast and has almost finished her first season on team.  Towards the end of last summer she was doing her level 4 floor routine back hand springs flawlessly.  Even starting to perform a back tuck.  Then all of a sudden she could no longer do the back hand springs at practice.  My daughter informed me that she believed she was experiencing a mental block.  I no nothing about gymnastics so this was all new to me.  I did a little research to educate myself on these seemingly common mental blocks and most of the advice was to back off.  She has had 5 meets this season and has been able to perform the skill on floor at all the meets with her coach spotting---until this last meet. Now she can't even do it with a spotter.  Not sure what to do at this point...I have tried to back off, I have tried pushing her. Nothing seems to work.  She is very talented and has tons of potential.  Not to mention this is her passion and is the only activity she is interested in.  But it has almost been a year.  Is this normal?  How long do we continue to invest thousands of dollars in a sport where she is stalled?  Do you have any advice?  Things she could do to overcome this?  Advice for frustrated parents?  Thank you.

Hi Cathy,
I can imagine you feel powerless as a parent watching your child struggle with something you don't understand or haven't experienced yourself.  I agree that in many cases backing off will allow the issue to come to a resolution on its own, however sometimes it remains an issue long after we think it should be resolved.  

If I were you I would discuss with my daughter the possibility of switching to a rec program or if there are open gym sessions offer to take her to them instead of regular practice for one month or however long a payment session is at that gym.  A regular team program can be stressful even if you don't have mental blocks, so changing things may help ease the pressure enough to make a difference.


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Robert Davis


I can answer questions about technique, strength and endurance training, healing from injuries, and competitions. I can also answer questions from parents of gymnasts, as I have six children of my own now. I plan to write a freely downloadable ebook or guide soon, go to to tell me what you want help with!


I competed in gymnastics for 16 years, from age 8 to 24, the last six of those years on the Arizona State Men's Gymnastics Team ( After almost a 10 year hiatus I've returned to competition, see


I have a BSE and MS in Electrical Engineering from Arizona State University. During those 6 years I was a member of the Arizona State Men's Gymnastics Team as well.

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