Psychology and visualisation

Blocks to learning in trampolining are usually because the gymnast is visualising failure or injury. As a result they are unable to acquire new skills.

I often talk about the mind having 2 voices. The Daredevil and the Protective parent.

The Daredevil DD is willing and positive, the Protective parent PP is warning and inhibiting. The best learner has both parts in balance. Both are needed for safe progression. When out of balance, either the DD or the PP will be running the show. If the DD is in charge, the trampolinist will be pushing on too fast and risking injury. With the PP in charge, the trampolinist will not progress.

For the DD and PP to be in balance, the PP needs to be convinced to let go. For this to happen requires 2 things. Sufficient repetition of the fundamental skills at a level that minimises fear and builds the neural networks for automatic execution, and visualisation of successful implementation of the whole skill.

It is possible to override the PP of a reluctant gymnast by focussing on visualisation of success. This must be done with care though, as the PP knows better than the coach, whether the automatic neural networks have been sufficiently established. So it’s always best to check with the trampolinist whether they think they can perform the skill.