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5 Big Mistakes Gymnasts Make on Competition Day… and What to Do Instead!

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Dr. Joe “Doc” Massimo & Dr. Sue Massimo

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Mental and physical meet preparation is extremely important to a successful competitive season. You know how important physical training is, and hopefully, you’re preparing mentally for your competitions as well.  But did you realize that part of your  preparation is to have an understanding of what to do at every stage of the actual competition as well as what to do if you make a mistake? We’re sure you want to be successful at your next meet, right?

So, here are the five biggest mistakes a competitive gymnast makes in preparing mentally, physically and emotionally for the day of competition and what you can do instead.

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Mistake #1 – Failure to do your “at home” Preparation

Do you wake up tired? Rushing around and not finding time to eat? Are you stressing out over fixing your hair or misplacing your grips etc.? We’ve seen so many gymnasts arrive at a competition venue already stressed out and unprepared for their day of competition.

What to do Instead

Hopefully, you have been eating nutritious meals and had a good night’s sleep before the meet. You should pack your gym bag with all your necessary gear the night before so everything is ready in the morning. Your physical appearance should be appropriate for competition. Finally, you must arrive on-time at the gym or arena for check-in.

Mistake #2 – Failure to have Timed Apparatus Warm-Ups and Touches Planned

What you do or don’t do in your timed warm-ups and touches can have a major impact on your performance in the meet. These need to be planned by you and your coach primarily based on your age and skill level.

What to do Instead

Most apparatus warm-ups and touches are determined on a very individual basis. Your coach will know your strengths and weaknesses on each event, so you can work out a plan for your specific warm-ups for maximum productivity.  What you do in your touches is often planned based on the outcome of your timed warm-ups. These can mentally and physically be a real plus or minus for you, so work out a plan before you’re up.

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Mistake #3 – Failure to Properly Address the Judge and Making Mistakes in your Presentation

Were you late to the podium, turned and saluted the judge before planting your feet solidly on your dismount, or were you hysterically smiling or pouting as you exited the podium? These mistakes can cost you tenths in your overall score, and they’re easily avoidable.

What to do Instead

Properly saluting the judge at the beginning and especially at the end of your routine goes a long way in affecting your score. Yes, of course, the execution of the skill is paramount, but the delivery of the routine as well as your attitude and bodily composure, are also important. If you had a problem with your routine, remember, outstanding recovery is very impressive, and it shows your solid confidence in yourself and your skills.  So while saluting and exiting the event do it with energy and confidence no matter what the outcome of the performance.

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Mistake #4 –Not Knowing What to do if you Make a Mistake in your Routine  

Making a mistake, especially having a fall or a break in a series, can be detrimental to your ability to finish your routine. It will be difficult for you to proceed with any amount of composure or confidence if you are not prepared for what to do next.

What to do Instead

Mistakes in warm-up, touches, and competition happen for a variety of reasons. Work out a strategy for what to do in the event that something doesn’t go as planned. In general, it helps for you to take a few deep breaths, relax, chalk up if needed and refocus on the task at hand as opposed to just jumping back into your routine. Work out the details with your coach if a mistake were to happen. For example, ask them if you “should repeat a skill or combination or pick up where you left off?” Also, analyze your routines to see if there are any places where you may have breaks. Change the routine a little if needed or leave out certain skills or combinations until you can perform these consistently in practice without breaks.

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Mistake #5 – Winning Warm-ups

Sometimes gymnasts feel they may already be the best, and they want to show everyone in the arena that they are. Others feel if they don’t perform perfectly in warm-ups it won’t happen in the meet. Sometimes the coach asks the gymnast to perform routines or all their difficult skills but very often this is for the coach’s ego to show-off and is not in the best interest of the gymnast.

What to do Instead

Going out and performing every skill you have, even full routines, to the best of your ability in the general and timed warm-up is usually not the best strategy for any competition. The main reason “winning warm-ups” is often a mistake, is that mentally, emotionally and physically you may have just performed to your best. The likelihood that you can repeat such a feat in another hour or so is very unlikely, unfortunately.

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Bottom Line?

You want to prepare yourself both mentally and physically to ensure your success in the next gymnastics competition. Right?

Want to see how goal setting, motivation, peers, and fears, even “tips on staying on the beam” affect your workouts and gymnastics training?

A great way to do that is to get your very own Autographed Copy of our resource book entitled

“Gymnastics Psychology: The Ultimate Guide for Coaches, Gymnasts and Parents”

Improve your Mental & Physical Training & Become a More Successful Competitive Gymnast!

Excel in gymnastics with your Gymnastics Psychology resource guide with extra Bonuses for you and your parents at a very special rate for our gymnastics friends. Your parents will love the book, too!

Visit   http://GymnasticsPsychology.com/book     to check out the book and get started today!

 

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Brought to you by Dr. Joe “Doc” Massimo and Dr. Sue Massimo, dedicated to helping coaches and gymnasts, along with their supportive parents, reach their peak potential in gymnastics and life.

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