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Areas Covered:


Marking The Horizon-Goal setting/ long term.


Picking A Spot-Goal setting/short term.


Total Release Performance-A new definition of winning.


Taking It To The Edge...Its Education Not Failure.


                           "Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." -- T.S. Elliot

At this competition  she would unveil a signature skill on beam. She had worked tirelessly to learn the skill in practice and now it was time to add it to her routine in competition. The stage was set. The beam was placed in the competition area. The crowd was in their seats and the judge raised the flag signaling it was okay for her to begin. The spotlight was on her. She saluted the judges, took a deep breath and began her routine. Everything was going as practiced.....

Most gymnasts can relate to the feelings and anticipation of working so hard in practice to learn and master new skills. Each has the desire to progress to higher levels and to please parents and coaches by doing flawless routines only to be gripped with a fear of failure when the pressure of competition comes flooding in. Falling comes to equal failing. The joy of performing becomes a fear of messing up and feeling inadequate. It is hard for a young gymnast to put them self on the line in front of everyone and fall flat on their face.

As she approached the end of the beam it was time to do the new skill. It was a combination of flexibility, strength and control, where she would allow her body to extend out over the end of the beam, toes pointed perfectly, hold the position then return to a handstand. She would have to fight gravity to allow herself to find "the spot" she could return from. She proceeded, as she had many times in practice, yet something felt different. Whether it was nerves, fear, fatigue or just the distraction of thinking about which family members had come to watch, she felt herself go too far. She could not muster the strength to bring her body back from the pull of gravity. She was over the edge too far and had no choice but turn and leave the beam altogether....a .5 deduction.

Later she shared with me the devastation, the frustration, the anger at herself, the fear of trying again only to be embarrassed by falling/failing. This is a common problem among young athletes exposing their perspective on performance in practice and  competition.
Over the years I have worked with many gymnasts that equate falling with failing. They have assumed learning new skills comes easy to everyone but them and believe success is the only acceptable outcome having the power to protect their vulnerable heart.

It was obvious we needed to come up with, together, an alternative to this FALL equals FAILURE thinking. We needed to create an atmosphere encouraging risking and falling as a way of finding the edge, of knowing how far, how big , how high each gymnast could go in order to be the best they we're each capable of. She needed to think in terms of education not failure. We came up with the saying "Take It To The Edge". A quote by T.S Elliot summed up the idea.  "Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go."
Trying your best and falling was just education. It wasn't personal as long as you gave your best effort. You may have to work on technical things to improve. But as long as you gave it your best you were successful.
A remarkable thing began to happen not only to the gymnast who came to see me but a new freedom and higher level of performance swept through all the beam workers as each one began to apply this new thinking about success. The aforementioned gymnast went on to score 10's on beam and to my knowledge, never fell again on that particular skill in competition. She had Taken It To The Edge, conquered her fear of falling/ failing and now new how far she could go. At the NCAA championships 4 girls in a row, on this team, were All- Americans on beam, in part, because they changed their thinking about failure. Failure, when giving your best effort, is just education. The more education, the better you performance will be.
If we teach each gymnast from an early age to Take It To The Edge in their thinking, they will be more confident, learn new skills more quickly and compete without paralyzing fear. Their goal will be to give their best effort in practice and competition. Focusing on education will allow them to be free to risk without fear of failing.



Failing Forward-It's all education/How to handle setbacks and losses.


Adrenaline Management Skills-How to use the fight or flight reaction to benefit your performance.


Funnel Focus-Wide lens/Narrow lens.


The Glass Room-How to compete when everyone is watching.


Visualization Skills-The power of the mind to see and be!


Relaxation Skills-Breathe, breathe, just breathe!!


Positive Self Talk-The cup is half full/being optimistic.


Alice Smith shares this in her book Beyond the Lie:
Psychologists tell us that the average person speaks forty to fifty thousand things to themselves daily. Seventy percent or more of which are negative. However, the most exceptional professional athletes are said to reduce their self-talk to twenty thousand or fewer statements, and less than 50 percent are negative. Focused positive thinking and self-talk are critical if you are to move from victimization to victory. Why? Because “faith comes by hearing” (Rom. 10:17, NKJV). Your belief system is built on what you think and what you say to yourself and not just what you say aloud.

This is why the words of your mouth (what you say to others), the meditations of your heart (what you say to yourself), and the words of others (who you listen to), whether positive or negative, greatly determine what you think, what you do, and who you’ll eventually become

“What they are saying, thinking, and believing concerning themselves are shaping their failures and successes. Our young can pollute themselves or cause beautiful life by their thought patterns and spoken words. How do we instruct them to accept, believe in, and affirm themselves?
Excerpt From: Greenwood, Rebecca. “Let Our Children Go.” Charisma Media. iBooks.
This material may be protected by copyright.


Beach Ball Management-Past emotional pain is hard to manage and can take all of our energy/How to deflate them one by one.


How Full Is Your Backpack?-Sometimes we carry baggage from past shaping events that weigh us down/How can we lighten the load?


Chasing Happy-Cotton candy looks & tastes sooooooo good but doesn't feed our heart!


Just for parents and coaches. Guidance for leading young athletes to their highest potential while maintaining a healthy balance so your son or daughter or protege can be a kid too!

*Teach your young gymnasts to think positively about themselves.

• Teach them their identity as a person who has many strengths.
• Bring instruction about how negative thinking can harm, but positive thoughts and beliefs bring life.
• Don’t let them compare themselves to others, nor pit them against teammatesbut rather train them to see their own strengths and to be happy with who they are as a person, an athlete and a teammate.
• Praise appropriate behavior.
• Encourage your gymnast to have short-term and long-term goals. Instill the belief that these goals will be accomplished in time, with hard work and best effort.
• Have fun and laugh with your gymnasts
• Give your gymnast a few positive words they can repeat concerning themselves. "I am able, "give my best", "take it to the edge".
• If your gymnast frequently says, “I can’t,” help her to change her words to saying and believing, “I can!”
• Regularly discuss positive thinking and any problem areas causing fear.
• Instead of letting your gymnast become upset when a failure is experienced, bring guidance toward more positive thoughts, ideas, and images. Don’t allow dwelling on what happened. Show how learning can occur from the experience, and move on to better things.


Have a yes face.


Lasting Impact-Seeking the greater reward.


Dealing With The Media-What do I Say?


Handling Injuries- What do I do now?


Retiring from Competitive Sport-Who am I now?


SKYPE Online Counseling could be the answer. Skype from college or home. Go to Fee-Payments Tab to sign up for a sessions.



Used  by Permission only. Copyright Dan Hicks




As we are training physically and technically to excel in our sports performance, it is essential to spend time sharpening the mental and emotional part of the game. Psychological skills training can make a huge difference. Also, workng through personal issues that may interfere with peak performance can free you up to be and do your best. Total Release Performance is when we are free to give 100% physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I am dedicated to helping you find that sweet spot of peak performance.



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