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Why Punishment For Balking In Gymnastics Does not Work – Stick It Woman LLC

Why Punishment for Balking in Gymnastics Doesn't Work - Stick It Girl Blog

Possibly your gymnast has been there earlier than.

She’s attempting to do a ability and balks midway by way of, ending with a fall that results in a sense of being shaken up or worse but, an harm.

It is a scary state of affairs as a result of usually your gymnast then doubts whether or not she will do her ability once more and/or if she does strive it once more, the way it will finish.

Will she balk once more? Will she be capable of do her ability?

After which increase – coach will get mad and throws her out of the fitness center for balking!

Now she’s completely confused and feeling actually badly about herself.

To grasp why, it is first essential to know why balking occurs within the first place.

So why does balking in gymnastics occur?

Balking is an innate response by your gymnast’s mind to one thing that seems like a menace. Primarily it is her fight-flight-or-freeze response taking on. Just like the twisties in gymnastics, when your gymnast balks mid-skill, she does not have management over the result. And that may really feel actually scary when she’s plummeting by way of the air and feels frozen to maneuver by way of her ability.

Balking can occur for quite a few causes. However it usually occurs when your gymnast is least anticipating it. That is why balking can really feel so scary.

It could be a sense of doubt inside her to finish the ability in query. Or it could be ideas of fear about not getting her ability. It may occur from overthinking a ability. And even from feeling stress to get sure expertise in time for season. Your gymnast could be feeling actually low in confidence or lack belief in her talents to do good gymnastics. Whereas the explanations behind balking may be completely different, the consequence is identical…balking could be a harmful state of affairs that results in a lower in belief in your gymnast’s mind.

Backside line, balking could be a very harmful state of affairs.

For this security motive, some gymnastics coaches create guidelines to attempt to forestall gymnasts from balking.

Another excuse coaches create guidelines round balking is that generally they discover a trickle impact. If one gymnast balks, they really feel it could possibly unfold all through the fitness center and trigger extra gymnasts to balk as effectively.

Whereas there may be some fact to this (in that if a gymnast sees one other gymnast bail out of her ability halfway after which get damage, that gymnast will seemingly have extra concern when she goes to do the identical ability), throwing a gymnast out of the fitness center for balking is not the reply!

The half that coaches seemingly do not perceive is that balking is not a selection. It is an computerized response that your gymnast cannot management. Due to this fact the principles that coaches create usually create extra agony and confusion in your gymnast.

For instance, in some gyms, the rule is that for those who balk you might be thrown out of the fitness center. 

When your gymnast will get thrown out for balking, she’s now much more confused and undoubtedly feeling actually low in confidence. She seemingly does not perceive why she balked or the best way to forestall it from taking place and now she does not have an opportunity to work on that ability once more and even transfer on to a special ability.

Plus, and that is the KEY, being thrown out of the fitness center will not forestall your gymnast from balking once more sooner or later as a result of balking is NOT a selection!

Apart from being thrown out of the fitness center, different coaches may punish gymnasts for balking by having them do rope climbs or completely different conditioning workout routines.

Once more, their mindset is that in the event that they affiliate balking with a adverse consequence, the balking will not occur once more. However like I’ve mentioned, as a result of balking is an innate (computerized) response by her mind, punishment will not forestall this from taking place once more sooner or later. It solely makes your gymnast query herself extra.

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So what are some issues your coaches needs to be doing as a substitute in case your gymnast balks on a ability?

Coaches, listed below are 3 concepts for the best way to cope with balking within the fitness center:

1. Break down the ability into fundamentals

In case your gymnast is balking (one other means of claiming “freezing up”) then her mind is feeling some type of hazard in doing that ability. The perfect factor coaches can do is break down that ability into its fundamentals in order that her mind can really feel secure once more.

Repetition after repetition after repetition of the fundamentals may also help your gymnast’s mind belief herself once more and decrease the possibilities of her balking on the total ability if she works her means again as much as it.


2. Spot your gymnast till she feels extra assured

Recognizing may also help your gymnast really feel assured and secure once more. As a result of balking is a organic response to the hazard her mind is perceiving, recognizing will not trigger a gymnast to be reliant on recognizing. Relatively, it offers your gymnast the boldness she wants to have the ability to do the total ability once more.


3. Give your gymnast a break from the ability (with out getting mad at her)

In case your gymnast is repeatedly balking, it means her mind is attempting to inform her one thing. And in case your gymnast does not hear, her mind will preserve taking on and shutting her down throughout her ability. If a gymnast balks two occasions in a row, it is time to transfer onto a special ability or to a better development of the ability.

Do not ever power a gymnast to push by way of balking. If you happen to do, the balking will worsen as a result of her mind will flip the brakes on much more. 

Simply to be clear, balking and concern of a ability are two various things. In case your gymnast is hesitant to go for a ability as a result of she’s scared, that is completely different than if she is attempting the ability and bailing out of it. Balking is an computerized response.


Whereas these are some methods to deal with balking when it happens, the easiest way to forestall balking is to work on build up confidence in your gymnasts. For coaches, this implies optimistic reinforcement, a lot of encouragement, and making a optimistic coaching setting constructed on belief. 

As a dad or mum, for those who witness your gymnast being punished or thrown out of the fitness center for balking, it is value a deeper dialog along with her coach. Your gymnast ought to by no means be made to really feel badly about one thing she can’t management. Her mind is doing its job by protecting her secure and your gymnast needs to be empowered to belief herself in gymnastics. Being punished or shamed takes this belief away.

Whereas balking could be irritating for each your gymnast and her coaches, with sufficient persistence and optimistic assist, your gymnast can construct up belief and confidence once more. The extra belief and confidence your gymnast has, the smaller the possibilities of her balking on her gymnastics expertise.

If you happen to’re a gymnast or dad or mum of a gymnast and you’ve got skilled punishment for balking, let me know within the feedback. Let’s share our tales and assist each other really feel supported. 




If you happen to or your gymnast wants assist, along with the assets beneath I additionally provide one-on-one teaching periods through Zoom.


Free Mental Block Guidebook for gymnasts and their parents - Stick It Girl


Useful Hyperlinks:



Gymnastics Mental Coach Anna Kojac, M.Ed.

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