My daughter, Kaydi, is a 7 year old cheerleader here in Oklahoma. She
has only been cheering/tumbling for a year and a half and already she
can perform a series of back handsprings, a back tuck, front walkover
and a beautiful standing back handspring with her legs perfectly together.
Her coach says that she is one of the best tumblers ever to come through
her gym. Everyone who watches her practice is in awe of her natural ability.
She fell on her head doing a round off, back handspring, back tuck on
the ground this summer and experienced some fear of tumbling after that,
but she overcame it. She fell again doing the same thing ( on a spring
floor) on Jan. 6, but she was not hurt. She has not done a back tuck since.
She cries at each practice and begs to be spotted on a round off back
handspring. She was the spotlight tumbler in her squad's routine at a
national championship, but she ran across the floor and only did a round
off. She will do a standing back handspring on the ground, but she still
cries a lot at practice and worries about the tumbling passes too much.
The coaches have been very patient with her, and her father and I feel
that we have tried everything to help her overcome this. She has gone
through almost the same circumstances with learning to be a flier, and
she still will not perform any one footed extended stunts because of fear
of falling. Even through all her crying, she maintains that she loves
cheerleading and does not want to quit. Can you offer any advice to a
frustrated parent? I don't want my daughter's talent to go to waste. How
can we help her overcome her mental blocks and start having fun again?
Tough situation there.
Falls can be traumatizing.
See if you can get EXTRA tumbling training for Kaydi at another gym with
another coach. You may need to explore 3-4 coaches. Don't switch programs,
just add some extra time FOCUSING on her tumbling. Invest in some private,
or semi-private lessons with a Gymnastics coach or a tumbling coach. Look
for the extraordinary coach who's ALREADY working
with a dozen or more girls BEYOND Kaydi's level. that were trained by
After 3-4 visits to another environment with a coach in whom she has confidence,
she should start to relax and find her groove again.
Have Coach Wayne come
- performance tumbling for students
- instructor training for staff
| To find out more
Flying is 50% technique and 50% confidence in the bases.
To help her find her groove, see if you can get her to work with a group
of BIG COLLEGE GUYS who can base her as if she's a feather. Find some
bases who know the game and they'll blast her past the fear. They'll have
worked with some other flyers who've had similar fears and will have given
them the confidence to REALLY fly. Look for a group of BIG male cheerleaders
who are DEMONSTRATING expertise that is MUCH higher than anything in her
gym and just flash a $20 bill. Most of the big college cheer team members
will work for soup and are thrilled to help a youngster along the way.
If she has fun in a safe environment, she'll begin to push hard again,
and that will start to carry over into her regular cheer classes.
Have fun, be safe, push hard!
image to animate.
Coach Wayne is the Head Coach for the
Savannah College of Art and Design Cheerleading team and Executive Coach of
Olympic Gymnast Zuzana Sekerova. His articles, videos and books have been
used by students and instructors world wide since 1991. Coach Wayne is available
for in-gym instructor training and performance tumbling clinics throughout
the year. For booking information, coaches/owners should call 912.398.8082.
Students and parents should request coaches/owners to contact Coach Wayne.