Mental Blocks about Going Into Practice | Q&A with Coach Ashley

Today’s Topic: Mental Blocks about Going Into Practice


About Me

Hi guys! This is Ashley Ralph, a new member of Complete Performance Coaching, and I wanted to give you a little background about myself and then go over a recent scenario that Rebecca asked me to address. My background is pretty steep, but I’ll try to go through it quickly. I was a gymnast for quite a few years at the high level: levels nine and ten. I competed in the national championships a couple years when I was 12 and 13, I had a career ending neck injury. Broke my neck and moved on to team sports.

I played soccer and basketball and volleyball. I did a lot of different sports in high school, but then in college decided to take soccer more seriously. I  played D1 soccer and ran track as well. Then played professionally for a year after college of soccer and got kind of tired of that, so I decided to give triathlon and running a try. I’ve now done the Boston Marathon four years, and four different times, and I’m going to do it again next year. I’ve done an Iron Man world championship.

The main thing about the Iron Man is it led me to go back to school to study sports psychology. I just thought, “Wow, the mind is so powerful, I never thought that I could complete something”. And I had done a lot of different sports at the high level, but man, completely an Iron Man was something I definitely didn’t think I could do. The power of the mind really impressed me so I went back to school to study this, and now I get to help other people get through all sorts of issues.

Let’s move on to the scenario. This one is about a gymnast who’s seven years old and

Has a mental block about going in to start practice.

I completely understand. I definitely cried many times not wanting to go to practice. Especially if i was learning a new skill or had recently gotten a small injury, or just feeling overwhelmed. Lots of different things.

Definitely tears, upset stomach, nervousness I’m sure. This probably all sounds very familiar. I personally have experienced this, and I kind of consider it to be an actual outcome fever. Something you actually have. You have a fever of the outcome, so it causes sever anxiety, shortness of breath, a loss of enjoyment in performance, and many other symptoms that we’ve talked about:

  • being overwhelmed
  • crying
  • tears
  • stomach aches

mental blocks

My job is to create a performance enhancement prescription for each athlete that will help alleviate these symptoms and mental blocks, which then will ideally lead to enhancing for this particular example: this gymnast’s performance and help her overcome these obstacles. It’s definitely something that can change and it’s just something that’s going to take a little bit of time.

Resistance vs. Resilience

Another way I like to think of it is resistance versus resilience. When we have resistance, that’s when we get scared and clammed up and just feel sort of out of control. Not in control, And I think that by having the resilience and working through these things, you have control. You realize that you have more control than you think and yeah.

I think having mental blocks is something that she can definitely get through and it’s nothing to worry about. It’s definitely a very common scenario that I see and that I’ve personally experienced. I will now let Rebecca take over, and I’m really happy to be apart of this team. I’m excited to work with all of you in the future! Take care.

Is your gymnast struggling with mental blocks or fear?  Check out my FREE resource for parents.