Originally posted here, what this blog calls a ‘mental block in gymnastics’ is now well documented as Lost Move Syndrome, or LMS in Trampoline and can affect any performance athlete. Here’s a bit more information about it.
Virtually 70% of high level gymnasts have experienced psychological blocking – the inability to perform a skill previously performed with ease. Only a small percentage of these athletes experience blocking to the point that it disrupts their performance. Nonetheless, for those who do, the experience is devastating.
Research shows that blocking has a number of predictable characteristics (Feigley, Robbins & Berger, 1989):
It generalises backwards within a sequence of skills. For example, blocking on the back somersault phase of the roundoff, back handspring, back somersault sequence quickly spreads to the back handspring and frequently to the round-off itself.
It generalises across skills. For example, a problem on the back salto on the beam quickly spreads to a back salto on the floor and/or to a back walkover on the beam or the floor.
Athletes susceptible to blocking have similar characteristics. They are:
- very bright
- fast learners, at least initially.
Their high intelligence and rapid rate of learning often results in their learning skills without learning intermediate steps. This characteristic has been noted as a possible cause or factor related to a cause in a study of trampolinists (Day, Thatcher, Greenlees & Woods (2006).
Have you suffered from LMS? I’m hoping that by sharing this, that as coaches we’re more aware of it and that performers realise that they’re not alone in what can be a major crisis in confidence for many and that there is light at the end of the tunnel.