Fear is a tricky subject all trackers, free runners, gymnasts, or any athlete has to face. Let me introduce myself. My name is Raven McCarthy from The Colony, TX. I do Freerunning, coaching, music, and run a parkour team in Dallas. I was a gymnast for nine years and a freerunner for five. Within those fourteen years I’ve seen and done a lot of things that aren’t really about skill, but just a state of mind. As a coach I’ve developed a system for fear that I even use for myself.
First thing is first; I go the mental route. I go step by step in order to let myself do a new trick on the floor that I learned on a tumble track. One of the first things I do is accept the fact that it’s either scary or really hard, and after you accept that fact it won’t seem so scary anymore. After accepting that fact, I usually look up videos and watch people do the trick I want to learn. I pay close attention to timing, positioning, and more. I also look up progressions.
Progressions have not only helped me, but also my students and friends. The reason why I use progressions is because it conditions your mind to being comfortable with something you don’t normally do. After going through progressions and mastering those progressions, I take it and use it. Your body is now comfortable with the movement so the best way to practice it is to do it.
Something all gymnasts hate is conditioning! Ask any gymnast. Conditioning is not fun, but if you’re trying to learn how to twist (for example) then you have to condition your ab muscles. Conditioning isn’t just working out, it’s also stretching. Stretching is important because not only does it prevent injury, but stretching also increases your range of motion. So after conditioning and stretching practice your progressions from the very beginning. Skipping progressions leads to poor form and failure. You have to master each progression before moving on to the next one. Progressions also lead to muscle memory. Muscle memory is good!
My students ask how I do what I do. The answer is simple. I JUST DO IT! All the while it’s easier said than done, that is the case. This leads to the topic of what should go through your head when learning and doing a move. What is on my mind when training? Nothing. Nothing at all. That’s the way it should be. The more you think about it, the more you stress yourself and become afraid to do it.
Now when learning a move, it’s different. You don’t think during the move. You think before the move. Don’t think about too much, though. That will stress you out. Go one step at a time and fix one thing at a time. Progressing is a process. Think about steps and what to fix.
When doing any sort of movement you have to commit 100%. Not committing to a move can result in injuries and more fear. Do not do anything you’re not comfortable doing until you’re certain you can do it after you wake up. Commitment is key to learning a new move.
Try learning from new people. People have different ways of doing thing, and one of those things might work for you. I watch videos all the time just looking for something new to learn. By the end of the month using my method, I can land it on a mat with no problem. There will be days where you just don’t want to move. Take that break! Pushing yourself is good, but if you’re not feeling it to start off with, that can lead to injury. Save yourself and take the break.