Do you have really big dreams in gymnastics but they haven't happened yet?
Do you feel like you work so hard and yet you aren't getting anywhere?
If so, this article is for you.
Gymnast, I know you have big dreams; like REALLY big dreams.
I know you do, whether it is to go to the Olympics or to compete at the college level or to make it to optionals or to just get a skill you've been working so hard on, you've got these really big dreams.
But sometimes, even though you have these big dreams and you want them so badly, they don't happen.
And you might get frustrated.
So today I'm going to talk to you about what you can do when you've got super big dreams and they're just not happening.
To understand why your big gymnastics dreams aren't happening yet, let's start with an analogy.
Imagine there is a rubber duck in a bathtub floating on the water. It just floats along minding its own business.
Now let's say you come over to it and you push it down and you hold it down. And now it's under the water.
What happens when you let the duck go?
It pops back up, right?
It bobs right back up to the surface and just goes on like it was never pushed down.
When you have really big dreams and goals in gymnastics, what tends to happen is that you push that rubber duck down below the surface of the water and you don't even realize you're doing it. You want it so badly and you're trying so hard and doing everything it takes, but you're still not getting there.
Here's the reason why...
When you want something so badly and you still don't have it yet, or you don't think you're on track to get it, you start taking score.
And you might not realize that you're doing it. But every single day that goes by that you're not getting to that goal or getting closer to it, you're essentially taking score in your mind. And so by taking score of the fact that you have these really big dreams and are not there yet, you're holding that rubber ducky under the water and you're not letting your dreams happen.
So how do you let that rubber duck come up above the surface?
You just move your hands away!
And what happens?
It comes right up!
You don't have to push it up. You don't have to get under it and give it a big shove.
Instead you just move the resistance away and that duck bobs right back up.
In this analogy, the duck represents your dreams.
And you pushing the rubber duck down is the resistance that you have that you don't even realize you have. It's this energy, this resistant energy, that you're holding onto that is pushing those dreams down and never letting them surface.
So what can you do?
Obviously you want your goals and dreams to happen.
The best thing do is to stop thinking about those dreams!
That's hard, right?
Obviously, if you want to go to college gymnastics or you want to go to the Olympics, you're probably thinking about that goal every day. You're probably eating, sleeping, breathing it. So you can't just stop thinking about it completely.
But what you CAN do is start thinking about other things that make you feel good or that make you feel happy.
So instead of every day thinking about getting to college gymnastics, today you are going to make the decision to play piano or listen to music or do anything that feels good to you in that moment.
By doing this, you're taking your mind off these big dreams and goals and are easing up a little bit.
We're taught to work hard in gymnastics and give our full effort in order to "make it." And so we're used to pushing and pushing towards those goals every single day.
But sometimes if you just ease up a little bit and you just relax and don't worry so much about what's going on in gymnastics, you'll start to see yourself get closer to those goals and you won't even be trying any harder.
You won't be doing anything extra that feels like hard work. You're actually going to be doing things that feel fun. And you're going to get closer to your goals in the process.
This might not seem like something that will really help you get to your big dreams so I'm going to give you an example, unrelated to gymnastics, that you might understand.
Have you ever been in the car looking for a parking spot with your parents and you just can't find one. Maybe you've been driving around for an hour and finally you all just decide to give up and go home.
At that moment when you decide to go home, what usually happens?
Usually, all of a sudden, a parking spot opens up.
What you did in that moment when you decided to go home is that you let go of the rubber duck and let it rise up to the surface.
In sum, instead of holding onto your big gymnastics dreams so tightly, take time to do some things that take your mind off gymnastics and that feel good and fun to you. And I promise you, doing that will help you get further along in gymnastics. I know it sounds like it has nothing to do with it, but it has EVERYTHING to do with it. So take that advice and try it out and let me know in the comments below how it goes for you!
If you or your gymnast needs support, in addition to the resources below I also offer one-on-one coaching sessions via Zoom.
- Resources: Get gymnastics downloads to help your gymnast work on her mental skills in gymnastics
- Mental Health Training for Gymnasts: Help your gymnast learn about her brain and the fight-flight-or-freeze response.
- Free Facebook Group for Moms of Gymnasts: Join this group to chat with other gymnastics moms and get tips for how to help your gymnast navigate through the mental ups and downs of gymnastics