The Mental Game Of Gymnastics
Building Mental Toughness And Confidence
Bill Cole, MS, MA
For many years I've been the mental game
coach to a great number of gymnasts at the youth level, and
with high school and collegiate gymnasts. I have the greatest
respect for gymnasts, on a number of levels. They need to
have very strong mental toughness to cope with the dangers
of the sport. The chance of injury is always present. They
also often need to train and compete with pain and discomfort,
and that takes special self-discipline.
How does this apply to you in your gymnastics? Do you have
the level of mental toughness you want? Are you a fast learner?
Do you learn the moves you need, in the time frames you want?
Do you have solid communication with your coach so you can
Here are four simple mental strategies you can use to improve
all of that.
- Recognize That You Are A Special Athlete: As I
said, I have huge respect for gymnasts. How about you? Do
you think what you do is special? Do you know how many people
would like to be you, and be able to do what you do? You
have guts and courage to get into the gym every day and
throw your body around like you do. Most people would never
have the nerve to do any of that. So now you know, you ARE
- Master Moves In Your Mind Before You Do Them:
It has been said that to execute something you must first
believe you can do it. Part of that belief comes from your
ability to visualize the move. Close your eyes and imagine
you are about to perform a move that has been bugging you.
Imagine how you would feel if you really stick this move.
Now take yourself through that move until you can see yourself
succeeding. This is the art of visualization. See itbelieve
- Stop Telling Yourself That You Can't Do A Move:
Every time you think or say "I can't" you are pulling
down your self-confidence a notch. Stop using the "can't
word". Forever. Instead, say, "Let me see what I can
do with this. If I keep at it, I bet I can master this."
And then keep trying until you DO master it. Be a possibility
thinker. Can't is about impossibilities.
- Help Your Coach Speak Better, So You Get Better Coaching:
In a perfect world every coach would be a first-class communicator.
If your coach does not coach you enough, or gives you limited
feedback, or gives you feedback you don't want, you need
to take charge. You need to diplomatically and calmly ask
your coach for what you need. Be specific. Ask things like,
"Was that last move too slow, too fast, or just right,
Coach?", or "You said you did not like my last
move there. What did you not like about it specifically?"
Do this and you will be shaping your coach's communication
abilities to match what you are seeking.
Now you can say you know more about the mental game of gymnastics,
and of how to manage your own mind. Now you also hopefully
appreciate yourself more as being a tough athlete in a tough
sport. You also know about how to be more positive and to
visualize success. Finally, you know how to coach your coach!
Copyright © 2014 Bill Cole, MS, MA. All rights reserved.
This article covers only one small part of the mental game.
A complete mental training program includes motivation and
goal-setting, pre-event mental preparation, post-event review
and analysis, mental strengthening, self-regulation training,
breath control training, motor skill training, mental rehearsal,
concentration training, pressure-proofing, communication training,
confidence-building, breaking through mental barriers, slump
prevention, mental toughness training, flow training, relaxation
training, momentum training, psych-out proofing and media
For a comprehensive overview of your mental abilities you
need an assessment instrument that identifies your complete
mental strengths and weaknesses. For a free, easy-to-take
65-item sport psychology assessment tool you can score right
on the spot, visit https://www.mentalgamecoach.com/Assessments/MentalGameOfSports.html.
This assessment gives you a quick snapshot of your strengths
and weaknesses in your mental game. You can use this as a
guide in creating your own mental training program, or as
the basis for a program you undertake with Bill Cole, MS,
MA to improve your mental game. This assessment would be an
excellent first step to help you get the big picture about
your mental game.
Bill Cole, MS, MA, a leading authority on peak performance, mental toughness
and coaching, is founder and President of the International Mental Game Coaching
Bill is also founder and CEO of William B. Cole Consultants, a consulting firm that helps
organizations and professionals achieve more success in business, life and sports.
He is a multiple Hall of Fame honoree, an award-winning scholar-athlete, published
book author and articles author, and has coached at the highest levels of major-league
pro sports, big-time college athletics and corporate America. For a free, extensive
article archive, or for questions and comments visit him at www.MentalGameCoach.com.
Article Source: SportsPsychologyCoaching.com
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