Guest post: Lost Move Syndrome

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.

Mustafina LMS

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:

  1. very bright
  2. 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).

Read more

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.


4 thoughts on “Guest post: Lost Move Syndrome

  1. A couple of years ago I went through a metal block with 3/4 fronts (crash dives) which then progressed until I couldn’t even jump more then a foot on the trampoline. I never returned to the trampolinist I used to be and never truly overcame my mental block so my progression as a national trampolinist stopped there. I couldn’t fault any of my coaches for the year I suffered so badly they never gave up on me and always supported me, however there didn’t seem to be the help like there is now and I was unaware of any of the reading available and this I feel needs to be advertised more and become more accessible to trampolinists and even small articles like this I feel can be the start to a path of recovery. I miss trampolining and wish I could of overcome my fears and mental block but I didn’t and it was pretty heartbreaking because I would go straight back to it in s heartbeat. Thank you to all who supported those many years ago ❤


  2. Reblogged this on Bella Bounces and commented:

    So after I shared this Guest Post on Lost Move Syndrome, I now have first hand experience of what it feels like to have an “inability to perform a skill previously performed with ease”. For me, it started two days after I’d competed my “B” routine. I’m going to try to explain the order of things that happened as best I can, but as all recommendations on this go, I’m trying not to dwell on it at the moment, and we’re just taking a break from what I’m struggling with.

    We’d changed our warm up drills to include routines at the end, so that we can keep the routines ‘ticking over’ until the next time we need them, as it won’t be for a while.

    I took off for a 3/4 back (the first skill) and suddenly bailed, tucking round to feet instead of landing on my front. After a second failed attempt, I skipped the skill in an endeavour to move on with the routine and complete what was only supposed to be a ‘warm up’. After several really hairy SSs, At first I couldn’t do anything in the Pike shape. I had a pike back (SS) followed by a Pike Barani, and after a seriously dodgy back SS, the barani travelled the entire length of the trampoline, landing on the end deck. Now for some people, when they go wrong, landing on the end deck is pretty standard… for me- it is incredibly rare. So much so that even my coach was baffled! “You’ve never done that before, it’s only been 2 days since the competition…” I was confused, and if I’m honest, being so out of control that I landed on the end deck did give me a bit of a fright. We decided we’d leave it there and go back to these after the warm up. Anyway, I stumbled my way through an easier routine, feeling like I had to psych myself up for all the back SSs and decided to go back to doing my harder B routine later on in the week – it was probably just a blip right?


  3. Pingback: Guest post: Lost Move Syndrome | Bella Bounces

  4. Pingback: Lost Move Syndrome: First hand… | Bella Bounces

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