The new cheer season has officially begun, and many athletes all over the country are perfecting their skills with their teammates. While you may be able to fly through your tumbling pass with no issues, that isn’t the case for everyone. Sometimes, even when doing a tumbling pass we’ve done fifty times before, our bodies just seem to forget everything we knew. So what’s going on, and how can we get past it before the next national cheerleading competition?
It’s a Defensive Mechanism
Our brains are designed to protect us. Fear is what keeps us from placing our hands on a hot stove, from jumping into a frozen pond, and yes, even from tumbling. On some level, our brains know that even the simplest of tumbling passes could seriously injure us. If anything has triggered your brain to decide that your tumbling pass is dangerous, then it won’t let your body execute the pass. The good news is, whether you fell during your pass or you are feeling too much pressure to get the skill, you can overcome your mental block trigger and tumble with confidence again.
How to Overcome
First things first — keep in mind there is no time frame for how long it will take to overcome a tumbling mental block. For some, it can take only days. For others, getting back into their confident tumbling passes can take months. Do not rush the process. With that said, here is what you can do to help:
- Visualize: Do about 30 repetitions of your pass in your head perfectly. Whether you want to this in the gym or before bed is up to you, but do it every day.
- Mimic the skill: Ask your coach for drills you can do that mimic the motions you need to do for your pass. If you are struggling with your roundoff back handspring, then perform drills that mimic the roundoff, the connection to the back handspring, and the snap down.
- Find the easiest space: Maybe you can’t do your pass on the floor, and that’s okay. Can you do it on a rod floor? What about an Air Trak? A Tumble Trak? Whatever brings out your confidence, stay there until you feel ready to up the challenge a little bit.
- Take video: Watching yourself progress is key to feeling ready and confident to move to a more difficult surface. It will boost your confidence more than you expect. Also, take a video with a spotter helping you through the skill. When you see how little they are helping you, you may feel more confident in doing the skill on your own.
- Conditioning: The stronger you are, the easier it will be to execute your skills. Strength means less chance of injury, and it guarantees you will have the ability to execute the skills you want.
We know you can overcome your tumbling mental block with time, patience, and determination. In no time at all, you’ll be performing your skills on the national cheerleading competition floor without a second thought. We at WSA look forward to seeing you and your team compete this fall!