How to Help Athletes Overcome Mental Blocks

I came across this gem while perusing the internet for coaching ideas. It’s a set of directives or suggestions on how to help athletes overcome mental blocks. And though the list isn’t exhaustive, it is a good framework echoing the athlete first philosophy my team and I embrace. 

The list is the work of Shift Movement Science and Coach Carly Dockendorf.

Respectful of the sources’ integrity, I post it here as I read it. I have not contributed any of my opinions to their work, but I endorse it wholeheartedly. 

How to help an athlete overcome mental blocks
Overcoming Mental Blocks

The Directives

1) Go back to the basics

Start from the beginning with basic techniques and foundations so gymnasts can understand the skill.

2) Make gym enjoyable

Remember, gymnastics is supposed to be fun, and it’s voluntary. If the pressure and stress get so intense, it may be amplifying fear and mental blocks.

3) Numbers

There is no way around it, if you want to reduce the discomfort and fear with skills, you have to do more of them to rebuild healthy coping strategies and confidence.

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4) Seek Professional Help

Sports Psychologists and Therapists are some of the most fantastic professionals to help with mental blocks.

5) Knowing your Why

Having a driving force behind why you want to do this skill can be a catalyst to help you get through a mental block.

6) Never tell athletes how to feel

Everyone is in control of their own experience, and how they feel is how they feel. Not everyone gets through a mental block, and that’s Okay.

7) Find ways to be successful every day

Drills, progressions, or different situations can help gymnasts feel accomplished and start a positive spiral.


Shift Movement Science is a consulting company dedicated to changing athletes’ lives. They provide tools and methods to improve performance and happiness. 


Coach Carly Dockendorf is the Assistant Coach for the University of Utah Gymnastics team. 


Thank you for Reading.

— Coach José

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