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The Psychology Mindset Of A Competitive Gymnast

competitive gymnast

Competitive gymnast are athletes who partake in sports that entail playing against one another using gymnastic instruments. Gymnastics requires a commitment to several hours of conscious training.

It also requires that the gymnast develops physical agility, balance, flexibility, and stamina. Most gymnasts begin at an early age. Hence, they have lots of memories in the gym. This means that a considerable portion of their psychology mindset is traceable to the gym. 

It is a fact that competitive gymnasts deal with a lot in their minds. They are faced with the ecstasy of bagging the medal, the fear of losing it, injury, the difficulty of mastering new skills, the discouragement of getting it wrong, the motivation to keep trying, the anxiety of facing a crowd, and every other emotional rush associated with the competition and routines.

All these can get extremely overwhelming for the gymnast, especially in the case for beginners. That’s why they must stay psychologically alert and sound to ensure their overall sanity.

The elite gymnast pushes to get better, tries out new and more challenging stunts regularly, and keeps the goal in mind. They strive to maintain a strict diet and a predefined body weight to be considered fit for the competition.

In many cases, the gymnast is subtly trained to attain perfection in ways that are not ideal for physical or psychological well-being. 

Remarkably, these competitive gymnasts do not have all the time to brood over their mistakes. They are expected to get up and keep going. Otherwise, they stand a chance of being left behind. Sadly, they are not all structured to perform at such a pace. It is best to help the gymnast develop the right psychological mindset before the competition.

3 Major Factors Influencing the Psychology Mindset of Competitive Gymnasts

1) Personality

A gymnast's personality encompasses factors like the person's temperament, beliefs, gender, skills, and passion. These can not entirely influence the gymnasts' mindset and performance. However, the personality, the prevailing situation, and the interaction between the gymnast can reveal a lot about the psychological mindset.

With the use of interactive and multifaceted approaches, it has been discovered that most new gymnasts have a lot of unhealthy personality traits like anxiety, inadequate self-confidence, lack of focus, lacking internal motivation, and associating failures with one's self. 

On the other hand, elite gymnasts were found to have positive attributes that help them become self-confident, less anxious, internally motivated, mentally stable, associate failures with external factors, focused, and goal-oriented. These beautiful attributes can be developed over time through conscious and deliberate effort and practice of allowing one's personality to interact positively with situations.

2) Environment

Here, the environment comprises peer groups, family influences, cultural practices, social support, and other external information from books, films, and music. These have a great impact on the psychological mindset of the gymnasts.

Most gymnasts spend the majority of their time training with a group. This makes room for peer pressure and a high level of influence from the coach. 

The environmental factor majorly reveals the relationship between the coach's behavior and the gymnast's development. There is also the place of influence from other active or passive people in the gymnast's life. However, the influence of the coach is primary. The coach is responsible for organizing and managing training and interacting with the gymnasts throughout the competition and afterward.

We can say that most of the gymnast's psychological mindset development depends on the coach due to the job's versatile nature. Elite gymnasts train and compete in an organizational, college, physical, psychological, and social environment. They gain personal and psychological advancement patterns that are ideal for them as competitive gymnasts.

3) Task

Watching a competitive gymnast perform makes the game look so easy and smooth. However, it is usually a lot more difficult than it appears. The gymnast has to employ different senses and body movements to perform a complex task in an easy, safe, and smooth manner. 

The more experienced a gymnast is, the higher the chances of controlling the body's movement to align with all the previously acquired skills, especially when performing on the kip bar. When such a gymnast undergoes dramatic changes in their psychological mindset, it is assumed to be a leading cause of body movement error. 

The dramatic changes can result from a loss in spatial orientation while performing a complex skill. This can have detrimental effects like failures or injuries. You can only think of the deeper implications, like stress, motor control breakdown, anxiety, frustration, drop in self-esteem, and psychological backwardness. The task is generally about gaining, controlling, and losing gymnastic skills. 

The Balanced Psychology Mindset 

Elite Gymnasts have great psychological characteristics that make it easier for them to have remarkable success.

The purpose of developing and maintaining a balanced psychology mindset is to nudge the gymnast towards a confident, aroused, and focused state before, during, and after a competition. Here are some ingredients which the balanced mindset for competitive gymnasts should have:

1) Challenging Tasks are manageable

When a gymnast begins to consider challenging tasks as impossible, they most likely become such!

To make it in a competitive ground, you should consider your weaknesses and challenges as manageable.

2) Excellence rather than perfection

Many gymnasts get stuck trying to pull a perfect stunt. A balanced gymnast understands that he/she should rather drive himself/herself to get excellent stunts rather than perfect ones.

3) Self-discipline

This is a crucial step to achieve a balanced mindset. Making plans and not sticking with them is a detrimental move for competitive gymnasts.

4) Self-motivated

Before the coach says it or receive any form of external validation, self-motivated gymnasts know that they can do great things. 

5) Mistakes are from external factors

In a balanced psychology mindset, mistakes cannot get a hold of the gymnasts because they believe that it must have come from an external source.

6) Be in the moment

Competitive Gymnast must not allow past events to affect their performance. Their minds must be present to utilize every sense to achieve the goal fully.

Conclusion

A competitive gymnast employs not only their strength but also their senses to the execution of a skill. This involves the full concentration of the body and mind. That is why they must have a balanced psychology mindset to deliver the best. No gymnast starts with a perfect mindset, but it is attainable with the right coaching and influence.