Over these past few weeks, I have made decent progress given the unexpected circumstances involving COVID-19.
Unfortunately, my mentor and I didn’t have a chance to have another in-person meeting before the corona virus outbreak. Although we spoke on the phone, it is not nearly as effective, especially since my In-Depth is quite hands-on. On the phone, Rory and I discussed how I have been feeling in terms of my progress and my confidence levels. Rory explained to me that he thinks that one of the main components that is holding me back is not feeling confident enough in myself. I am capable of doing a full twist, but I hesitate and don’t give it my absolute all. Since discussing this, I have been more aware of my mental limitations, including the fear of hurting myself.
Two weeks ago, at my last tumbling class before Spring break, I was able to make significant progress! Roop, my tumbling coach, showed me a new drill to practice in order to familiarize myself with not just a half, but a complete full twist. The set-up looks like this: Two blue boxes stacked on top of each other, and a large red mat in front of the boxes. For the drill, I jumped off the box, with both arms up by my ears. As soon as I am in the air, I use my core muscles to hollow out my body, and push my feet forward, landing on my back on top of the mat. However, once I did this about five times, Roop showed me the version that’s most relevant to me. It is the same exact drill, except once I am airborne, I bring my left arm down to my side, tucking my chin in to the right, and rotate my body 360 degrees. I should have rotated fully before any part of my body comes into contact with the mat, landing once again on my back.
I was able to do this drill two times before I developed a mental block for it. Each time I attempted, I would rotate almost halfway and just as my eyes saw the mat, I would chicken out, stop twisting, and put my hands and feet down. It was very defeating for me, since I hadn’t experienced a mental block on a skill since the end of last August. I was getting very frustrated, and wanted to give up, but Roop told me I had to do it at least once more. After spending about 25 minutes on just one drill, I did it once more and moved on.
Although the previous drill hadn’t allowed for too much confidence and enthusiasm, I started practicing my twisting on the tumble track. It turns out that the drill actually helped me improve my form when it came to staying in a hollow shape, recognizing and using the right core muscles, and overall the effectiveness and speed of my twist. This boosted my mood and motivated me to keep trying.
This is what my attempted full twist looked like by the end of the class:
- What has been my most difficult mentoring challenge so far? Why?
So far, the most difficult mentoring challenge has been the amount of time spent with each other to improve my skills. Rory and I still meet before each blogpost is due, but with an In-Depth like this, it’s crucial to stay consistent with my skills and conditioning. If I don’t regularly practice, I will slowly lose progress, and possibly my body may start to forget what muscles are to be used which means I go back to doing solely drills. I don’t think that this will be a problem, since I still practice every week at my gym. The problem is that it is not my mentor, Rory, teaching me. I am still making progress with Roop, but it is not ideal to have two different coaches, from different athletic backgrounds, teaching me how to have proper form. They are both very good coaches, though they each have slightly different teaching methods. I find Roop’s are sticking with me more because I trained with him more often than I do with Rory. This is not too big of a problem or setback, but it can make adopting to Rory’s teaching style more difficult when I meet with him.
- What is working well? Why?
The core exercises, and drills that both Roop and Rory have taught me are helping me improve even faster than I expected. For example, at tumbling class three weeks ago, Roop had me switch between doing a drill and attempting a full twist off the tumble track. It allowed me to get the hang of it more easily, and not hesitate as much as I usually do in the air. The drill was where I did a handstand, putting my hands down on a blue box, and kicked up hard enough that I started falling over. Once the weight stops being mainly on my hands, I lift up my left hand and rotate my body, so I am falling onto the mat in front of the box, on my stomach. Doing this repeatedly, alternating between this and the tumble track, really helped me with my confidence in terms of hesitation. I think that it is important for me to recognize these types of things so I can keep improving in the future and be aware of how I am progressing, physically and mentally. Both Rory and Roop have made this possible.
- What could be working better? How can you make sure this happens?
As mentioned earlier, COVID-19 has impacted and impeded my progress in getting my full twist off the tumble track significantly over these past few weeks. Since everyone is instructed to stay in their houses, that is what my family has been doing. This means that I don’t have access to GForce gym, where I train, and even where I work at LeapFrog gymnastics to use the tumble track. At my house, I have been practicing core exercises every couple days for about 30-45 minutes to keep my core muscles strong. These include exercises such as V-snaps, crunches, push-ups, Russian twists, hollow body rocks, and plank. It has been a challenge to stay motivated lately since I don’t have access to the equipment I need to practice my twisting, but I know that it is important to continue to strengthen my body, so I don’t lose progress when I get back to the gym.
Overall, I am happy with how much I have been progressing, and with the right facilities, I finally feel as though my goal will certainly be achieved by May!