If you clicked on this article you probably have a daughter that is in level 4 and is having fears doing her squat on. She may do one foot at at time, she may squat on and fall backwards, or she may not do the squat on at all. This squat on thing is quite frustrating and may be causing a little anxiety in your little one. She certainly is not alone. Many little ones have challenges with the squat on. So why is the squat on such a troubled skill?

First we need to find out when the fear started. Did you gymnast clip her foot on the bar and have a scary fall? Did she watch another gymnast fall? Chances are if she fell or watched a teammate fall, all she thinks about now is falling.

Once your gymnast focuses on falling then she actually starts to set herself up to fall. If she focuses on clipping her foot, she will. If she focuses on fall backwards, she will.

Whatever we think is what we believe. What we believe is how we will perform.

Instead of focusing on what we DON’T want to have happen, they can think about what they WANT to have happen. In order to make a squat on the shoulders must be over the bar, the hips must lift, the hands must reach for the high bar, etc. The gymnast must focus on each part of the skill and what they need to do to make it.

Once they can focus on how to make the skill correctly then make sure their self-talk is empowering. Self-talk is the dialogue in the gymnast’s head. We want to make sure they are saying general comments like “I got this” and not comments like “I am going to fall”. Remember whatever they say to themselves is what they will believe and what they believe is how they will perform.

Ask your gymnast to tell you what they think about themselves on bars. Chances are they will say comments like “I am not very good” or “I fall a lot”.  In a nonjudgmental way explain to your gymnast how our thoughts create our behaviors. Then have your gymnast change the way they talk to themselves. Also make sure that you are saying empowering statements to your gymnast as well.

Once they start to think they can do it, they will start to believe they can do it, and then they WILL do it.