Resilience, the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties, is an absolute necessity for successful gymnasts. Gymnastics is a sport that requires you to fail over and over again before mastering a skill. Falling is a natural part of the sport it is how you handle a fall or setback that makes the difference. Resilient athletes will view setbacks and failures as an opportunity to improve.
Demonstrating Resilience the Gymnastics Way
Resilience is often explained as the ability to spring or bounce back. This is an excellent example for gymnasts. Coaches or parents can use a springboard or trampoline as an illustration. In order to launch up off the springboard you must first compress the board down. This is often the case in the learning process. You must first experience mistakes, even fall down, in order to gain upward momentum.
In order to become resilient, athletes must overcome adversity. Failure is part of the sport, and part of life, recognizing this is an important step to building resilience. Resilient athletes must be able to recognize errors and move past them. They must stay in the moment rather than getting stuck on a past mistake.
Once gymnasts are able to recognize that mistakes are part of the learning process, they must then learn how to brush of the mistake. The best gymnasts are able to make a mistake, quickly reflect on what they have learned and then brush the mistake off. The Positive Coaching Alliance encourages teams and athletes to adopt a mistake ritual to use in practice, games, and competitions. When an athlete makes a mistake they go to this ritual. Some teams pretend to flush a toilet, to flush away the mistake. Other teams "shake it off" with a dance move. Whatever the ritual may be, it is important to be able to recognize a mistake and move forward.
Resilience in Action
Watch any practice or competition and you will see resilience demonstrated by your gymnast. Resilience is crashing off the beam and getting back up and trying again. Resilience is falling down 9 times and getting back up a 10th. It is having a rough warm up and then nailing the routine in competition. It is putting a bad event past you and rocking the next event.