Why Gabby Douglas almost didn’t make the Olympic Team

It takes more than skill, past successes, or talent

At the end of the first night of trials, I wasn’t sure Gabby would make it. When the Olympic Team Selection Committee went in to deliberate, I still wasn’t sure.

Why?

Even though Gabby arrived at Olympic Trials stronger and more experienced than ever, she lacked the mental toughness we’ve seen from her in the past. She made a couple of huge mistakes. Not because she lacks talent or ability, but because she failed to hold it together mentally.

Peak performers have to be reliable under pressure

Madison Kocian has it. Not only is she the world’s best on uneven bars, she hits her routines every time. She’s cool as a cucumber in the most insanely high-pressure situations.

Did you know that Simone Biles had a rough start to her senior international career in 2013? She was totally inconsistent. She allowed the pressure and self-doubt to get the best of her half the time. She worked with a sport psychologist, got her peak performance mindset locked in, and she’s been unstoppable ever since.

Consistency is key

Gabby isn’t as “reliable” as she used to be (using committee chair Marta Karolyi’s word). She doesn’t have the mental toughness other girls have demonstrated.

As a huge Gabby fan, I was pleasantly surprised to see her walk out onto the floor last night as a member of the 2016 Olympic Gymnastics Team. Her bars have always been a strong point, and it’s what the team needed this year to balance out three stellar beam, vault, and floor phenoms. They have put their faith in her ability to get it together and rise to the occasion in Rio.

What will she have to do to perform well at the Olympics?

Gabby will have to get consistency back on her side. She will have to smash any mental weakness or self-doubt in the next 10 days at training camp and get her Olympic mindset back in place.=

Can she do it?

Anyone can learn to perform at their best under pressure. Yes, I said anyone. Whether you’re Gabby Douglas or not, it takes the same mental training elements to get to that “cool as a cucumber” mindset. Can she do it in 10 day? We’ll see!

For an outline of the necessary elements, download my FREE Mental Toughness checklist below.

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