Monday, November 28, 2016

How to Get Over a Block

On a previous article, we have discussed briefly the important things we needed to know about blocks in gymnastics and the different reasons why this phenomenon happens. To refresh our knowledge, here is the article: What is a Block in Gymnastics?

Now that we know what blocks are and why it happens, it’s about time that we learn HOW to get past it. It has been mentioned that the gymnast herself who is suffering from a block doesn’t have any conscious control over it, but there are ways that could help the gymnast and here are some of them:

1. Talk to the coach

- First thing to do when one has a block is talk to her coach. Almost all gymnast encounter a mental block during her entire career, so chances are the coach have already seen this happen many other times. The gymnast should be honest about what she feels and what she is experiencing so the coach would understand. Work with the coach and create a plan about how the gymnast can get comfortable with the skill.

2. Visualize

- Once a plan has been worked out with the coach, the nest step is to visualize the skill. The gymnast should mentally imagine that she is doing the skill. The more detail, the better. She should find which part of the skill scares her the most and give emphasize on it. Repeat the part over and over again in her head. Also, she can try doing the hand and foot movements without actually performing it while her eyes are closed, still visualizing the skill.

Now on an instance that she can’t visualize herself performing the routine, she could watch a video over and over again until she could picture herself doing it.

3. Advancements

- Once the gymnast has visualized enough that she thinks she can do it even in her sleep, she should try going back to the last skill she was able to do successfully. Repeat it multiple times until she’s gained confidence that she has once again regained her footing in gymnastics. Once she’s confident enough, she should then try doing the skill that scared her. Try it while the coach spots, on stacked mats, or into a pit or resi. Keep doing the skill many times until she feels ready to increase the level of difficulty. Remove a mat one at a time or have the coach spot less and less.

4. Keep at it

- The gymnast must be patient with herself, as well as the coach with their student. She can and she will get the skill back, it’s just a matter of figuring out how to get her mind on track. She must keep working on different methods and she’ll eventually get there, just don’t give up!

Listed here are just a few ways that could help a gymnast going through a block. However, it should be kept in mind that these ways doesn’t have instantaneous results, because this is a continuous process. If it didn’t work on the first time, continue doing it a few more times.

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Monday, November 21, 2016

USA Gymnastics National Team Starts Four-year Training Cycle

Due to a scheduling error at the USA Gymnastics National Team’s normal training site at Karolyi Ranch in Huntsville, Texas, the team ended up practicing and holding their first post-Olympic camp at Midwest Training and Ice Center over the weekend.

The national team’s quadrennial began last Thursday. Quadrennial is a four-year training cycle done in preparation for the 2020 Olympic Games. The members from the Trampoline and Tumbling Senior National Team, Senior National Development Team, and Junior National Team were all training together, and among them were 2016 Olympic trampolinists Logan Dooley and Nicole Ahsinger.

Before they were Olympians, the two trampolinists went through hard times like everyone else. Ahsinger was beaten by teammate Shalyee Dunavin in the USA Gymnastics Championships and she was afraid that she wouldn’t make it into the 2016 Olympics team. As luck would have it, Ahsinger garnered two Olympic selection points from the 2016 Elite Challenge and this helped push her score over Dunavin’s to claim a spot on the Olympic team.

Ahsinger was recorded to be saying that she watched the scores go up and thought to herself that she might have just done it, and when she told her mother, the older woman started crying. This selection into the 2016 Olympics made her the only female US Olympic trampoline athlete, and together with teammate Dooley they are the only two US Olympic trampoline athletes in Rio.

Logan Dooley also came from behind. He used to be an alternate for the 2008 and 2012 Olympic teams before he was the only male US trampoline athlete in Rio. Unluckily, he placed 11th in the qualification round and did not reach the finals. However, Dooley had the best Olympic finish in Team USA’s history for a male trampoline athlete. This motivates him to return to the 2020 Olympics by training harder.

Last Thursday’s camp is the beginning of a four-day program including newcomers and elitists. According to Catherine Cabral-Marotta, High Performance Director of the USA Gymnastics Trampoline and Tumbling Program, the theme of the four-day camp was foundations because wherever an athlete’s skillset lies, the basics still have to be studied.

“The idea that we want to achieve at this camp is a lot of mental performance and goal setting,” Cabral-Marotta said.

In a performance sport like gymnastics, athletes learn to only compete with themselves and are taught to train their hardest and outdo themselves every year. These are some of the first lessons taught at camp.

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