Ask An Expert: How To Defeat Your Fears When Trying New Tricks — by Jenny Hannah

QUESTION

“Every time my coach asks me to try something new, I am scared to try it. How can I stop being scared all of the time?”

Annonymous

 


 

ANSWER

by Jenny Hannah (TWIRLER)

There are a number of strategies that can be successful in overcoming a fear of the baton:

  1. First, make sure you clearly understand the new skill you are trying to perform. You first must understand a trick to be able to do it. A hazy image of what you are trying to accomplish can contribute to anxiety.
  2. Become comfortable with the body moves involved in the skill (for example: dance moves, jumps, gymnastics and spins). You must be able to do the body moves without the baton to be able to do the trick with the baton. Make sure you have developed enough physical strength to complete the skill. Sometimes fear can originate from not yet having developed enough strength and stamina.
  3. Count the length of time you require to perform the combination including a count for release of the baton and for spotting before the catch. Practice tosses of that number of counts. For example: a triple illusion requires 9-10 counts, depending on body speed. I have found that students are most likely to get scared when they do not get the necessary height on the baton.
  4. Practice tosses which match the type of skill you are working on (for example: traveling or stationary).
  5. Add visualization to your practice. Studies have shown that visualization has a positive effect on sports performance.
  6. Let the first step be trying the bodywork under the toss without worrying about the catch. Once you have proven to yourself that you can do this much, you will be excited to go for the catch!!

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