Happy 10th Anniversary Coach Lain!

Happy 10th Anniversary Coach Lain!

Happy 10th Anniversary Coach Lain!

That’s it. Just like that! I happened…

They say you blink and your whole life has passed you by. For me, entering into my 40th year on this beautiful planet, supported by my gorgeous wife and daughter, I blinked and a decade is gone! Just like that, my company is 10 years old! Let me take you back and share with you what got me to this point in time…

So mine is a story that spans the past decade actually, a little over 13 years to be exact. I’ve never really been someone to follow the more conventional means of earning a paycheck, I always half-jokingly say that I’m “allergic” to working for anyone else. And this severe allergy or aversion to working for someone else is what lead me to quit the only “job” I’ve had in the past 13 years.¬†

Back in 2009, I knew two things: I needed a job and I wanted to marry my girlfriend. So it was definitely one purpose being pursued to fulfill another. I had been working as a freelance graphic designer since 2007 with no major projects or prospects lined up. So I finally decided to bite the bullet and apply for a job as a designer in the workforce. Through some serendipitous circumstances, I was able to secure a job as a graphic designer in the creative “department” of a niche market greeting card company in Sacramento, CA, only about 15 minutes from where I was living at home with my folks at the time. I was apprehensive only because, with having but a finite of “life minutes” to spare, I didn’t want to ever get stuck in a corporate job (or any job for that matter). But by the same token, I was excited because it would hopefully be a means by which I’d be able to afford my own apartment and a ring for my now-wife, but then-girlfriend.¬†

Fast forward one and a half tenuous years later – I’m sick and tired of this job! The owner doesn’t believe in the hype of his own products, shoots down my ideas after initiating “team meetings” every Monday to discuss new products, and then takes credit for the ideas he actually liked but openly denounced. This of course discourages me from really putting my heart into my work (as much as I could, I didn’t really like the products we sold but always put my earnest effort into making everything I designed top notch quality), and soon he’s also noticing the work I’m doing as a freelancer and commenting how none of my design work for the company quote “looks that good.” That’s when I’d had enough. I quit soon thereafter and decided to go full-time as a freelance graphic artist, illustrator, and brand consultant.

Leap ahead with me if you will again, this time to 2016. I’ve now spent the past 6 years toiling away at being a full-time freelance designer. Days and nights have blended together for most of this period, as I was burning the candle at both ends. I went all-in like Pete Rose on building my graphic design brand, but no matter how much I tried or worked at it, it always left me feeling unfulfilled. At my core, I’m a very social person – I love to edify, educate, and entertain people! I love seeing people smile and encouraging them to step into their purpose, pursue their dreams, and not believe they ever have to be “stuck” doing anything. And yet, here I was spending 16 hours a day on the computer, alone, miserable, unhealthy, and always feeling unfulfilled & “less than” my fellow designers I’d met through Instagram.¬†

Around 2013, I was sitting alone at my computer in the middle of a gorgeous summer day here in the San Francisco Bay Area. It was one of those days where you could just SMELL summer. I could hear the joyful echoes of children playing reverberating about the neighborhood. Then, I heard another sound – cheerleaders chanting. It was undoubtedly coming from the local high school, they must have been taking advantage of the beautiful weather and were practicing outside in preparation for the upcoming football season. And that’s when it hit me – as a former cheerleading and tumbling coach (details available upon request ūüėā), I was sitting on this specialized knowledge and doing nothing with it. And yet, this was a discipline that would allow me to (1) socialize more, (2) travel, (3) get off the computer and get active again, and (4) do what I believe I was born to do – edify, educate, and entertain. That day was April 13, 2013, the day that I purchased the domain name for my mental performance & tumbling technique coaching business, Coach Lain LLC.¬†

But even with this amazing new “side career”, I was still conflicted. There was a feeling of being unfulfilled that still lingered, even though I’d spent 3 years traveling for coaching. For the Thanksgiving holiday in 2016, my parents invited my siblings and myself & my now wife down to Mexico with them to just disconnect and relax. I decided to use this time to do some much need inflection. I left most of my devices at home, grabbed a book I’d been intending to read for ages, and turned all of my notifications OFF! I wanted to use this time to reflect, meditate, and pray on what it is I intended to do when I got back home, which career path I was going to choose. Straddling the fence of graphic designer and performance coach wasn’t doing it for me, I felt this dichotomous pull in opposite directions, serving two separate masters, and I couldn’t take the confusion any longer.¬†

While in Mexico, it finally hit me – I NEVER got into graphic design for other people. I LOVE design, I have my whole life! But I like designing what I want to see. Helping people take the ideas in their heads and translating them into tangible, visual designs was a lot of fun to me, and it would inform a FUTURE passion that I didn’t even realize I had until after the epiphany I’d have on this trip! But designing for other people was not my bag. This revelation made my decision SO MUCH EASIER to make – I was no longer going to be a freelance designer, because I never got into it for myself in the first place. I was going to drop everything that had to do with freelance design, EVERYTHING I hated about that time in my life, and step 1000% committed to my performance coaching brand! Like Spider-Man in The Amazing Spider-Man Issue #50, I was “Lain Lee the Designer No More!”¬†

So what was all of this to say? What’s the point?

Back in 2014/2015-ish, I saw a TED Talk by Emilie Wapnick. It was a fantastic talk on a topic that hit very close to home – “Why some of us don’t have one true calling.” In the talk, she uses the term “multipotentialite”, or “those of us with many interests, many jobs over a lifetime, and many interlocking potentials.” For the first time in my life, I had a label for that thing inside of me that I was always afraid was some sort of adult “defect”, a design flaw programmed into the DNA of us Millenials, in which I seemingly couldn’t land on that ONE THING I could call myself an expert at. It also explained how I was able to drop one passion for another at the drop of a hat, or drop one career for another. But it also gave me a frame of understanding of how I wanted to eventually structure my “dream job”, which I believe is the life I’m living now as a mental performance coach and tumbling technique specialist!

As Coach Lain, I’m able to employ ALL of my talents – I’m an author, podcaster, videographer & visual storyteller, designer, editor, technician, sports psychologist, deconstructionist, and world traveler! Designing what I wanted to be known for, who I am in my coaching “persona”, and how I plan to integrate all of my talents into this brand in order to scale, have been the greatest challenges of my life and I am SO GRATEFUL for them!

I took the time to write this extensive pitch for this single reason – I believe there’s someone out there who needs to hear this story! There’s someone struggling to find “their thing”, but has unfortunately already pursued either a dying dream or a career working for someone else and they feel stuck! I want people to know that there is STRENGTH, RELIEF, AND TRUE HAPPINESS in dropping one passion, pursuit, career, or dream for another! When we’re younger, we have SO MUCH RUNWAY ahead of us to allow us the time to “figure it all out”. And yet we live in a society that preaches conformity, for us to “settle” on a job, passion, pursuit, or career as soon as possible (preferably by the time you graduate high school, before you enter college though)! So the time we should be TRYING things that interest us, learning to get comfortable in our discomforts of failure, disappointment, rejection, and more failure, we instead pursuing conformity through a career that we chose but didn’t choose us. There’s someone out there, begging for a sign to push them forward into taking that leap of faith. I truly believe this story is their sign.

What did I find on the other side of quitting my job? I found the FAVOR and FREEDOM to pursue building, growing, and scaling this brand into the multi-million dollar brand it was created to be! I found an OPPORTUNITY to create my own job title & description that allows me to provide very specific value in the way I WANT to do it. NO longer do I have to do things because I’m stuck or because I didn’t realize I was pursuing a passion for the wrong reasons. I get to be me and spend every day encouraging others to embrace the discomfort of change & vulnerability to do the same!

I’m grateful, EVERY DAY, for these past ten years of excellence and value-based service. Above everything else, I CANNOT wait to see what the next ten years has in store for this amazing brand I’ve been blessed with favor and freedom to develop!

Coach Lain is a mental performance and tumbling technique coach from Northern California. Specializing in fear management & psychology, as well as deconstructed movement, he helps student-athletes and coaches better understand their fears in an effort to outperform them confidently and consistently. His podcast, The Fear Less University‚ĄĘ, features special guests each episode who lend their wisdom and expertise to help discuss, dissect, and examine some of life‚Äôs greatest fears. His second and newest podcast, the Coach Lain Inspires‚ĄĘ Inspirecast, seeks to provide listeners with a daily dose of inspiration.

What do you think? Share your thoughts below  via Disqus! 

Don’t see your comment? Check out my Comments Policy.

© 2022 Coach Lain LLC. | All Rights Reserved.

3 Things I Stopped Saying As a Performance Coach to Encourage Growth

3 Things I Stopped Saying As a Performance Coach to Encourage Growth

3 Things I Stopped Saying As a Performance Coach to Encourage Growth

Have you said or heard specific phrases that set your evolution back? Here are 3 things I stopped saying as a performance coach to boost progress and growth.

As a performance coach, it can be tough to motivate athletes while staying away from ineffective clichés. Even now, I am constantly learning new methods and philosophies every day despite years of self-editing, experience, and practice.

 

We have all heard certain cringe-worthy phrases that, instead of furthering our evolution, set us back significantly. You may recall the horror of hearing the following words from your coach, or perhaps, you say them all the time!

From my perspective, as a content creator and performance technician, you can ensure you are on the path to success by removing these expressions from your vocabulary. 

Here are the top 3 things I stopped saying and why they might be hindering your growth:

1) “Mental Blocks Aren’t Real.”

The truth is mental blocks are REAL. But only a few people understand why they are experiencing them or how they aren’t the reason for you to underperform. 

In other words, thinking you are going through a mental block can prevent you from reaching your true potential. 

On the contrary, mental blocks represent fear of pushing your limits and are typically accompanied by uncertainty. For instance, have you ever feared tumbling over while cheerleading? This is defined as a tumbling mental block and represents the inability to exercise complete control over your body. 

Mostly, you might be mistaking what you suffer from as a mental block. The good news is there are several ways you can fix these so-called barriers. The first is acknowledging that they exist. Therefore, especially in the cheerleading world, I aim to educate athletes about what mental blocks are and, more importantly, what they are not!

2) “I DON’T BELIEVE IN MENTAL BLOCKS.”

It can be frustrating to be trapped in a mental block. But pretending mental blocks don’t exist wastes time and energy as they won’t disappear. I have heard numerous coaches use this phrase; however, not accepting reality only multiplies worries, doubts, and fears.¬†

A more effective approach is identifying the beliefs and attitudes that make you feel mentally blocked. Sometimes, they can be a combination of feelings like wanting to achieve perfection or mental anxiety.

Instead of denying a belief in mental blocks or discouraging their acceptance, I prefer to help individuals with facts. You can outperform anything by educating yourself on these patterns and the reality of what YOU are actually going through!

3) “Fear is a choice.”

Ah… fear is by far the most trying of emotions. It is an invisible energy that impacts behaviour and can choke dreams. Everyone has fear hardwired into their chemistry; thus, it will always be there. But, evaluating fear is a little tricky because it is essentially a reaction, not a conscious decision or ignorance. 

Many people are led astray by believing there is a set way to eliminate fear. To outperform fear, you must learn how to use it to your advantage, regulate comfort and become more vulnerable with yourself. You can choose to ignore fear or choose to face it and excel through a different narrative. This is where learning how to face discomfort is key.

Mike Tyson perfectly defines fear as:

Fear is your best friend or your worst enemy. It’s like fire. If you can control it, it can cook for you; it can heat your house. If you can’t control it, it will burn everything around you and destroy you.

"Iron" Mike Tyson

If you need more help understanding your struggles, or want to have a heart-to-heart on how to break the constant use of these discouraging phrases, feel free to get in touch with me! You can also click the button below to purchase my book, Outperforming Fear 2.0, which comes with its very own workbook your athlete can use to help her work through her mental performance!

Coach Lain is a mental performance and tumbling technique coach from Northern California. Specializing in fear management & psychology, as well as deconstructed movement, he helps student-athletes and coaches better understand their fears in an effort to outperform them confidently and consistently. His podcast, The Fear Less University‚ĄĘ, features special guests each episode who lend their wisdom and expertise to help discuss, dissect, and examine some of life‚Äôs greatest fears. His second and newest podcast, the Coach Lain Inspires‚ĄĘ Inspirecast, seeks to provide listeners with a daily dose of inspiration.

What do you think? Share your thoughts below  via Disqus! 

Don’t see your comment? Check out my Comments Policy.

© 2022 Coach Lain LLC. | All Rights Reserved.

Introducing The Back Handspring Repair Kit‚ĄĘ

Introducing The Back Handspring Repair Kit‚ĄĘ

Introducing The Back Handspring Repair Kit‚ĄĘ

I am incredibly proud to present my second book, The Back Handspring Repair Kit‚ĄĘ. While this may have been a lockdown project, it was, in a much greater sense, a passion project that I hope will help athletes, coaches, and parents for years to come. With every product I produce for Coach Lain LLC, I seek to add the greatest value. And so far, I have had nothing but tremendous feedback for this book, which is being called “the coach’s back pocket tool book!”

 

The Back Handspring Repair Kit‚ĄĘ is designed to be your go-to resource as an athlete, coach, or parent, helping you to more accurately diagnose exactly what is going on with your skill, giving you direct solutions for how to go about correcting it!

Utilizing first-hand, empirical studies of the most common issues with athletes’ skills, I apply my best methodologies and techniques to help you correct even the worst of habits. Gain strength, understanding, and confidence to outperform your greatest fears and not only GET you the skills you’ve always wanted to learn, but help you learn how to KEEP them!¬† ¬† ¬†¬†

Current version includes softcover and PDF versions!  

Coach Lain is a mental performance and tumbling technique coach from Northern California. Specializing in fear management & psychology, as well as deconstructed movement, he helps student-athletes and coaches better understand their fears in an effort to outperform them confidently and consistently. His podcast, The Fear Less University‚ĄĘ, features special guests each episode who lend their wisdom and expertise to help discuss, dissect, and examine some of life‚Äôs greatest fears. His second and newest podcast, the Coach Lain Inspires‚ĄĘ Inspirecast, seeks to provide listeners with a daily dose of inspiration.

What do you think? Share your thoughts below  via Disqus! 

Don’t see your comment? Check out my Comments Policy.

© 2022 Coach Lain LLC. | All Rights Reserved.

Bend v. Sit

Bend v. Sit

Bend v. Sit

Over the years, I have learned that there are many ways in which basic back handspring technique is taught. ¬†There are 5 essential steps to the back handspring approach: bend & swing, fall, jump (also known as “standing fast”), and the snap (or more accurately, pulling to handstand). ¬†However, there is one very specific difference in the way coaches will teach the initial or starting position.

Many of the athletes I’ve worked with over the years have been taught to “sit” at the beginning of their back handsprings. ¬†Put simply, this means that when they start in the standing position, they then proceed to drop their butts into a seated position. ¬†I’ve found that this is fundamentally flawed when teaching back handspring technique, especially to new tumblers. ¬†And here’s why:

When we sit, we place our weight and balance back into our hips. ¬†When performing a back handspring, we want our backward momentum to happen in the “fall” portion of the approach. ¬†By sitting and placing our weight in your bottom, you prematurely put your momentum backwards and “force” your fall. ¬†This can cause athletes to skip the fall, causing them to “undercut” their back handspring.

This is why I prefer to teach my athletes to “bend” instead of sit. ¬†By bending, you keep your weight centered, with your chest over your knees over your toes. This will accomplish 3 things:

1

It will keep you from skipping the fall, which comes after the “bend & swing” in the 5-step approach.

2

It will provide you with a more explosive jump (“stand”). ¬†Keeping your weight centered in your toes & thighs instead of your butt¬†and falling from a bent position, you will also allow your body to jump (“stand”) into a hollow body¬†position, which will lead into a proper arch-to-hollow succession thereafter.¬†

3

Finally, it will allow you to have greater control over your fall and help to keep you from undercutting.

The back handspring is a “corrective” skill, meaning you intentionally fall into the skill and correct yourself from falling by standing fast into a hollow body position. ¬†Sitting puts your weight into your heels and butt, two places you do not want your weight when jumping into your skill. You want your jump (“stand”) to come from your toes.

To some this might seem like a minute (pr. “my-NOOT”)¬† difference in instruction, but to me, it’s the details that make the difference between an “ok” tumbler and an exceptional, detail-oriented athlete.¬†

Coach Lain is a mental performance and tumbling technique coach from Northern California. Specializing in fear management & psychology, as well as deconstructed movement, he helps student-athletes and coaches better understand their fears in an effort to outperform them confidently and consistently. His podcast, The Fear Less University‚ĄĘ, features special guests each episode who lend their wisdom and expertise to help discuss, dissect, and examine some of life‚Äôs greatest fears. His second and newest podcast, the Coach Lain Inspires‚ĄĘ Inspirecast, seeks to provide listeners with a daily dose of inspiration.

What do you think? Share your thoughts below  via Disqus! 

Don’t see your comment? Check out my Comments Policy.

© 2022 Coach Lain LLC. | All Rights Reserved.

How to Outperform the Fear of Doing a Back Handspring: A Comprehensive Guide

How to Outperform the Fear of Doing a Back Handspring: A Comprehensive Guide

How to Outperform the Fear of Doing a Back Handspring: A Comprehensive Guide

“In tumbling, we train the motion. Not the mind. That is because the body can be regimented,¬†but the mind cannot be bridled.‚ÄĚ

Coach Lain

Fear…¬†

Ah…fear. It’s something that is biologically programmed into every human being. We ALL experience it. It’s innate, chemical, hardwired into our very being! It’s something you can’t avoid, something that is always there, whether you like it or not. And yet, as pesky as it may seem sometimes, it’s something we need in order to provide us with a healthy balance of risk and reward.

You see, many people are mislead into thinking that they can “get over” their fear, that there’s a step-by-step process to killing, defeating, or eliminating their fears. But I ask you, if fear is something that, as I said above, “hardwired” into our physiology, then how is it something we can kill, defeat, or eliminate? If fear is apart of our understanding of risk and reward, how is it something that we can get over? The answer is simple – you can’t.

We can’t “kill” or “eliminate” fear. In fact, that is the antithesis of how we should be thinking about our relationship with our fears.

Cinematic Illustrations

If you’re a Marvel movie fan like me, then you’ve undoubtedly seen¬†Captain America: Civil War¬†by now. There is a scene in the movie between¬†Vision¬†and¬†Scarlet¬†Witch¬†in which Vision is helping Scarlet¬†to understand her fear. You see, Scarlet¬†Witch was recently responsible for the deaths of almost 2 dozen civilians as a result of her losing control of her powers, and now she feared what might happen if she tried using them again. To help console her, Vision points to the¬†yellow Infinity Stone¬†in his forehead, and tells her that he doesn’t know what the nature of the stone is or the true power it yields. When she asks him if he is afraid of it, he replies:

“I wish to understand it. The more I do, the less it controls me. And who knows, one day, I might even control it.‚ÄĚ

Vision, Avengers: Age of Ultron

And that, right there my friends, is how you OUTPERFORM ANY FEAR…understanding. “In the absence of specificity, fear thrives.” You see, we spend most of our time trying to¬†fight¬†our fears. We even have something as humans called the “Fight or Flight Syndrome”. We have hormones coursing through us that initiate such responses in the face of¬†perceived¬†threats that cause us to either fight, flee or freeze from a seemingly dangerous situation. It’s human nature to fear and fight against that which we don’t understand. But¬†UNDERSTANDING¬†is the key to not allowing these autonomous, physiological responses to rule us and cause us to freak out when there are no clear and¬†present dangers or threats to our wellbeing.

But most people don’t take the time to understand it from that perspective. Because the “warrior mentality” or the “beast mode” mentality is to dominate, control and overpower any obstacle in our way, a lot of us are taught to fight against our fears, as if they were some foreign entity trying to invade our body. But they’re not foreign at all. Fear is biologically intertwined with our humanity. So instead of trying to fight something that is connected to us at a molecular level, why not, instead, seek to understand it.

Here’s another cinematic example for your consideration: Beauty and the Beast. Think of the relationship between Belle and the Beast, and how it evolved over time. At first, though she wasn’t necessarily afraid of the Beast, she didn’t understand him. Likewise, the Beast didn’t understand Belle. Therefore, she and the Beast were in constant contention with one another, butting heads and constantly at odds.

So how did they go from “barely even friends” to a “tale as old as time”? When the Beast showed his selfless side to save Belle in the woods from the pack of ravenous wolves, she started to see that there was more than meets the eye with him, and began opening her mind up the possibility that he was more than just a “savage beast”, that there might be more to his humanity than to his feral visage. You see, when Belle and the Beast began to take the time to understand one another, thinks began to change for them. The Beast, both literally and figuratively in this case, could not be championed or tamed. Instead, it was through understanding that he was re-humanized by Belle’s love and friendship.¬†

Think of your fears as the Beast. Your fears are a part of you that only need to be understood. As Vision seeks to do with the Infinity Stone, if you can learn to understand your fears, you can better learn to not let them control you or rule your actions. Fear is a choice, a product of thoughts that you choose to create in your head, based on anticipations of an outcome that may or may not happen. Tim Ferriss, best selling author of¬†The 4-Hour Work Week¬†and one of my mentors (we haven’t met yet, but I trust we will soon), put it best on an episode of his show,¬†The Tim Ferriss Experiment:

I think most importantly it’s not about¬†overcoming¬†your fears, it’s constantly FACING your fears, BEING PRESENT with your fears, so that you become¬†comfortable with discomfort.

Big Will on Fear

One of my other mentors I have yet to meet, and lifetime role model, Will Smith, has had much to say about the concept of fear and how we deal with it. His 2013 movie,¬†After Earth,¬†starring son Jaden Smith, placed facing your fears at the center of the plot. There is a scene where their two characters¬†are separated by hundreds of miles and Jaden’s character, Katai, is all alone in the wild. Will’s character, in an effort to give his son both comfort and strength, lays down the truth about fear to him.¬†

There is another Will Smith video I’ve shared in the past that everyone who struggles with fear needs to see. In it, Will shares a personal experience that led to a revelation about fear and how to¬†understand¬†it better. Check it out:

The problem with fear is that it lies. God placed the best things in life on the other side of terror.

Will Smith

Do you get it yet? Fear is not to be tamed, beaten, overcome or ruled. To truly enjoy your life and live with fear in a healthy manner, we must understand it. So now, you’ve made it this far, there is a light at the end of the tunnel! How do you get over YOUR fear? Here are 4 simple steps you can take to help you understand and learn to control your fears and get back to performing your skill confidently:

STEP 1: Identify and Understand 

I ask my athletes “why” they have lost their skills because I know they’re not using their logical minds to identify the problem. They’re reacting from a very emotional place where they are being told to flee in response to a threat or danger, whether real or perceived. Therefore, if you can identify the actual reason you’re afraid, you can then confront it. It’s very important for you to be completely honest with yourself during this period of exploration; denying the problem and pretending you’re not afraid, or choosing not to admit you’re afraid only makes matters worse.

Be as specific as possible. Instead of saying, “I’m afraid‚Ķ” tell yourself exactly what you’re afraid of. ¬†Just try it, say “I’m afraid of [fill in the blank],” out loud to yourself. Did you feel that little twinge in your gut? That’s your brain and body already going into “defense” mode to protect you against that which you’ve acknowledged being afraid of. For instance, “I’m afraid of falling out of the air like a stone mid-skill and breaking my neck.” See?! ¬†Sometimes hearing yourself dictate your fears out loud will help you realize just how silly they are!

STEP 2: Acknowledge, Accept, Utilize

This is a huge step as this is the part where most athletes will turn against themselves! Once you’ve identified and taken steps to understand your fear, it’s time to learn to utilize it to your advantage in a positive, active way, through acknowledgment and acceptance.

Fear is something no one likes to talk about. But, there’s also power in acknowledgment that allows you to take back control from the thing that you’re afraid of. By acknowledging your fears aloud, you’re taking the power away from keeping it a secret, from the shame and embarrassment. You’re also giving yourself a chance to accept it as a truth, no longer denying that you had a problem. But you have to say it with conviction. You have to acknowledge it with unwavering belief. It’s ok, so you’re afraid. It’s not the end of the world. You can outperform this.

“One day or day one. The choice is up to you.”

Unknown

Ok, now that you’ve acknowledged and accepted your fear, it’s time to turn that which once burdened and inhibited you into FUEL!!! It’s time to UTILIZE your fear for as a positive motivator!

As a deconstructionist, my first step in helping an athlete toward recovering from a devastating mental block or fear is to walk her through the skill step by step. This is how I coach both new and experienced athletes anyway, but it also lends itself well to working through a fear or mental block. Deconstructing a skill is a great approach because it allows you to slowly revisit the skill together. It is during this process that you can learn (1) at which point in the process the athlete is experiencing her fear (in varying degrees), (2) how firm of a grasp the athlete has on her technique to begin with, and (3) if there are any discrepancies or disconnects between comprehension and execution. Usually, I find one or a combination of those three to be true for each athlete I’ve ever helped work through a fear or mental block.

Deconstructing a skill into “micro skills” is great because it allows the athlete to gain confidence in fully understanding their technique and the sequence of events that add up to performing the skills as a whole. It also engineers success points, which are surefire confidence builders. These mini goals or steps of exposure help the athlete to see the challenge as being more accomplishable, and allow them to slowly work their way through the skill from a standpoint of completing small tasks gradually, instead of “trying to swallow the elephant whole”.

So far, we’ve learned that acknowledging and accepting our fears can help us utilize them toward engineering success. However, if you’re afraid because you’ve been dropped by a coach, parent or spotter, or have been taught poor technique, understand that’s a very real problem that needs to be addressed immediately, which brings us to the next step…

STEP 3: Take it Back to Basics to Make Sure Your Technique is Solid

Tumbling is deeply rooted in physics and is therefore formulaic. That means that if you practice proper technique every single time you perform your skill, you should get the same outcome every time. Now if your outcome is you repeatedly falling or getting hurt, you know that there’s a problem with your formula! So go back over your technique and tweak the parts that are causing you frustration, pain, or fear. Remember that Aristotle said it best, “We are what we repeatedly do.” Therefore, it is practice, repeated, consistent, technically-sound practice that breeds confidence.¬†You will gain more confidence in yourself and your skill when you practice with proper technique over and over again. For your reference, here is my 5-Step Back Handspring Process (patent pending):

When you’re performing these unnatural skills and are getting hung up on the emotional responses you’re having to performing, it’s better to focus solely on performing the technique and allowing science to take care of the rest. Remember, the fear will be there whether you choose to focus on it or not. It is a biological response from your body’s control center, your brain, sounding the alarm that something you’re doing isn’t right. It’s a natural response to an unnatural performance. If you place your body in the proper positions and allow gravity, inertia, friction, force and momentum to do what they do best, you’ll flip, twist, and tuck and back on your feet before you know it! And if you still need that extra push to help calm your nerves, there’s nothing wrong with saying a little prayer asking God for peace of mind and trust ;D

STEP 4: Never Be Afraid to Fail!

It’s a shame that in our culture and many cultures around the globe, “failing” and “failure” are given the same meaning, when in fact, they represent two completely different ideas.

You see, to fail is to learn, to take an experience and apply what one learned from that experience to your future endeavors. Especially when one is attempting to accomplish the same goal on a different “try”, a past “fail” can help teach you obstacles to avoid, situations to expect, and how to solve problems that might arise. If nothing else, failing teaches us what NOT to do second, third, or hundredth time around. It is Edison who, after finally getting the light bulb to work after some 10,000 failed attempts,¬†is famously quoted as saying:

“I have not failed. I just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.‚ÄĚ

Thomas A. Edison

Edison also said, “Our greatest weakness lies in our giving up. The most certain way to succeed is to always try just¬†one more time.” And that is the difference between “failing” and “failure”. Where failing means that you learn how not to do something and will apply that newfound knowledge to your next attempt, “failure” is when you throw in the towel and give up. Failure is quitting, and if you were going to quit, why start in the first place? It was Napoleon Hill who said, “When defeat overtakes a man, the easiest and most logical thing to do is to quit. That is exactly what the majority of men do.” Don’t fall into that majority, BE THE EXCEPTION!!!

Now, fear alone is one thing, when you’re dealing with being afraid of an irrational outcome to a skill or from getting hurt trying to perform the skill before. But the “Fear of Failure” is an entirely different beast. I’ll be going over this concept more in a future post entitled “The Pressure to Perform”, but for now, let’s talk about it in the context of how it can inhibit your performance.

Fear of Failure, or “atychiphobia” as it’s known by its scientific name, is literally a debilitating fear one¬†develops¬†from not wanting to fail. It is a fear that can stop us from doing the things that can move us forward toward achieving our goals. Now, psychotherapy¬†articles say that this phobia comes from¬†¬†many causes, including: over-demanding or strict parents, an early childhood public embarrassment (getting pantsed in the cafeteria or laughed at during “show & tell”), or bullying and abuse. While these are all true, I think it’s extremely important that we don’t rule out the cultural implications of what it means to “fail” again. Some might argue it’s simply semantics, but I’ve come to learn in my coaching that the rhetoric we use to describe our actions, feelings and communicate our expectations plays a HUGE role in our understanding of an expected outcome. Parents, learn how to communicate to your children in the way that they are most receptive! Take the time to understand their personality, their “love language” (how they both communicate/show love and how they receive it), and the type of learner they are. Having this knowledge will DRAMATICALLY influence your interactions and dictate the type of output they produce when setting out to accomplish a goal. Teach them the difference between “failing” and “failure”, that not reaching an expected outcome DOES NOT MAKE THEM A “FAILURE”.

It’s interesting: the first definition of “failure” in the dictionary is “a lack of success, as in an unsuccessful person, enterprise or thing” (not sure what an “unsuccessful THING is, but I’m guessing you’ll know it when you see it, haha).¬†Now in today’s modern vernacular, this means that one has failed at life. To be unsuccessful is to be someone who sucks at what they do. Ok, it doesn’t mean that¬†literally, but it’s interchangeable in meaning (like so many other American words, phrases and slang terms). But if you look up the word “success”, it’s defined as “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.” So to be “unsuccessful” literally means “to not accomplish an aim or purpose,” which coincides completely with a definition of what it means “to fail”, or, “to not meet a desired outcome”. Therefore, to be called a “failure”¬†is only to be called an “unsuccessful person”, which is to mean you’re someone who didn’t meet an expected outcome. You are only a¬†true, complete and utter failure,¬†when you let your failure become final and quit. Otherwise, you’re simply a person on a journey toward success.

fail¬∑ure (/ňąfńĀly…ôr/)
noun
lack of success.
the omission of expected or required action.

Teach your athletes to know the difference between failing at a task and learning from that failure, and letting that failure dictate their efforts. It’s perfectly fine to fail, because these instances teach us about ourselves: what we’re able to handle, how we cope with failure and loss, and how bad we want it! Just like Big Sean says, “If you’re a real one, then you know how to bounce back!”

You see, in order to succeed we must first fail. Ironically, it is this very fear of failing that keeps us from trying in the first place. But as Savanah Walker, one of my former athletes who struggled¬†with both fear and anxiety, so eloquently put it once, “You’ll never truly grow as an athlete if you never fail.” She’s exactly right too! Without failure, we can never learn, adapt and make the changes necessary in our technique, approach or thinking that will allow us to succeed. If you can not only learn from your failures, but also learn to identify and understand your fears, trust in your coaches and technique, and dismiss the false evidence appearing real, you’ll be able to accomplish great things.

STEP 5: Practice, Practice, Practice 

I said it above but it bears repeating: consistent, repetitious practice with proper technique builds confidence! The more confident you are in your technique, the more confident you’ll be performing (or attempting) your skill! The more confident you are in your ability to perform you skill safely, the easier it will be for you to control your fear,¬†especially¬†if you’ve taken the time to understand your fear better!

Wrapping Up

I often say that good coaching doesn’t adopt “The Nike Approach” to tumbling, you can’t “Just do it.” And that’s unfortunately the stance I feel too many coaches take when coaching their athletes. They expect athletes to be able to take a skill like the back handspring and do it after a few poorly articulated explanations. Many coaches, though talented, expertly trained¬†athletes themselves, don’t always make the best coaches. And tumbling, being an extremely mental activity, requires a coach who can break down both the physical and the mental aspects of the skills they’re teaching.

The psychological side of tumbling is very real, and though many coaches are aware of it, they’re unsure of or unable to clearly and effectively articulate how to help their athletes understand it.¬†Tumbling is 80% mental and 20% physical. The brain will do whatever it takes to keep your body safe, and the brain feels safest when you’re body is doing something it understands. Tumbling is not natural, and therefore, is a constant battle between your brain’s comfort & understanding¬†and your body’s training.¬†

I care SO MUCH about all of my athletes and¬†their physical safety, as well as them building confidence within themselves to tackle tough obstacles. ¬†The lessons and methods outlined here can apply far beyond the realm of tumbling. ¬†Learn to identify fear and F.E.A.R. in your daily life and begin employing these steps to vanquish it from your life entirely. Remember, “danger” is very real, and although it is our brain’s natural response to danger, fear at the end of the day, is a choice.

If you, your athlete or your team struggles with fear of performing their tumbling skills, or if you suffer from fear in general, please don’t hesitate to¬†reach out to me! #coachlainhelps

Coach Lain is a mental performance and tumbling technique coach from Northern California. Specializing in fear management & psychology, as well as deconstructed movement, he helps student-athletes and coaches better understand their fears in an effort to outperform them confidently and consistently. His podcast, The Fear Less University‚ĄĘ, features special guests each episode who lend their wisdom and expertise to help discuss, dissect, and examine some of life‚Äôs greatest fears. His second and newest podcast, the Coach Lain Inspires‚ĄĘ Inspirecast, seeks to provide listeners with a daily dose of inspiration.

What do you think? Share your thoughts below  via Disqus! 

Don’t see your comment? Check out my Comments Policy.

© 2022 Coach Lain LLC. | All Rights Reserved.