The Fear Monster

Hi All,

So, I was talking about this with another coach the other day, and decided it was probably something I should share. My personal “philosophy” about fear is progressions, progressions, progressions. I never want a kid to just throw something (giants, tumbling, back handsprings on beam etc). I want to make sure the child is confident at each stage of the process and that the skill is technically correct. Here are a couple videos to that effect.


This first one is a PERFECT example. It’s another great video from Jason Mortimer. As we are in/approaching off season I know a lot of your little ones are probably working on getting this. It’s often scary for us (lets limit this), and scary for them. So giving them safe, confidence building ways of training the skill is important.

This second video is another look at double backs. A lot of gyms out there don’t have access to pits, and if you’re going to train doubles without one (or even with one) this is a great air awareness drill that gets kids confident in knowing where they are. This eliminates A LOT of the fear.

How do you combat fear?


  1. Cecelia says:

    I have a gymnast who has recently developed a fear of back tumbling, especially the back handspring part of it. She will no longer do a back handspring connection on beam and on floor we replaced it with a whip. Any suggestions on how to prevent other kids from being afraid of back tumbling?

    • Zari Goldmann says:

      I think there are two things here: the way to prevent a fear of back tumbling in my mind is first and foremost proper progressions. Those keep kids safe and confident.

      The other piece is that a lot of times back tumbling fears spread throughout teams. As hard as it is to say this, I think it’s because some coaches make it acceptable to have those fears ie. “it’s okay Grace you can compete without the back handspring this weekend” my general philosophy is if it’s not there in practice they don’t compete it, if it’s not there in practice they don’t move up. When other girls see that it’s holding them back it’s less likely to spread.

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