Parenting Through Mental Blocks Day 1: How Simone Biles Overcame Her Mental Block (Twice!!) and How to Keep from Backsliding


In this episode, Coach Rebecca provides invaluable guidance for parents who are supporting athletes struggling with mental blocks. A mental block is a challenge where the athlete’s mind and body fail to work together; the body is fully capable, but the mind stops the body.  

“Mental block isn’t rational, but it is very real and very frustrating.”-Rebecca Smith 

Using the remarkable journey and career of Olympic gymnast Simone Biles as an example, Coach Rebecca emphasizes several crucial points: 

  • Mental blocks are a universal experience shared by every athlete, from beginners to Olympians. They are a part of the sports journey. 
  • Mental blocks shouldn’t be seen as a sign of lack of talent or not being good enough. Even the most accomplished athletes face them. 
  • Mental blocks often come from suppressed emotions, fears, negativity, depression, and anxiety. These emotional factors can create mental barriers that hinder an athlete’s performance.  

We also delve into strategies for athletes to overcome and recover from mental blocks. Coach Rebecca introduces the concept of balancing between “good discomfort” and “bad discomfort.” Athletes are encouraged to begin by focusing on what they can currently do and rebuilding trust in their abilities. This process involves taking gradual steps, starting with the most challenging skill regression that they can comfortably execute. 

Coach Rebecca also shares her expertise on navigating mental blocks in young athletes. By understanding the root causes and using thoughtful strategies, we can provide the support and guidance needed to help their athletes regain confidence and overcome these mental barriers.