When is the best time to do mental training for gymnastics? Should you do mental training during the off-season, pre-season, or in season? Most gymnasts come to us prior to a big competition. They want to start mental training only after they begin to panic, develop a fear, or are in a performance slump.
Unfortunately, many gymnasts search for help when they are either in dire need or begin to panic about an upcoming competition. They wait until the last moment when it may be too late to begin mental training. Savvy gymnasts and parents know that mental training is not a quick fix. Mental training should be included into gymnasts regular training program.
When gymnasts are training in the summer, they’re learning new skills, conditioning to get stronger, and learning new routines for the Fall. But rarely do gymnasts add mental training into their summer program. Summer is the best time to implement a mental training program. This way you can improve mental toughness when not in school and to prepare for the competition season.
Some parents want their gymnasts to do mental training during competition season only after they notice a problem. Gymnasts tell us that they don’t perform up to their ability when they lose focus or start to doubt themselves. They are frustrated because they just don’t know what to do.
Unfortunately, mental training is sometimes seen as a last resort; only necessary when there’s a slump in performance and an immediate need. But if you learn a skill and can perform the skill in practice, will you be mentally though enough to perform the skill in competition?
Mental training needs to be an equal part of training. The gymnast should condition, stretch, train skills, and do mental training every week. Mental training should be integrated into your regular practice routines, even if it’s only during the warm up period. The problem is that the gymnasts have so many new skills to learn, that coaches overlook or do not have time for mental training.
We teach gymnasts how to integrate the mental training into their regular practice routines. We teach them how to have proper self-talk, a mental choreography for each routine, and how to refocus when they become distracted and they get a mental training plan to follow.
When gymnasts are mentally prepared to cope with pressure during competition season, they are truly ready to shine when the time comes.