At some point in your cheer career – either as a cheerleader or coach – you will be faced with a mental roadblock. This can be anything from a sudden fear of doing a back tuck or an inability to create new cheer choreography. Even something you think is a “small” thing can cause a lot of stress or frustration. The good news is, you can beat it! Whatever is nagging you or disrupting your daily life, there are ways to overcome it. Break It Apart The first step is to understand what exactly is bothering you. Give yourself time to break down the situation to get to the core of the problem. It may at first seem like you dislike a new routine, but after thinking about it, you realize you’re having trouble mastering it and that’s causing your frustration. Or, you hate the new cheer uniforms but really you’re just stressing about an upcoming performance. Talk It Out Whatever is bothering you, it’ll only eat away at you if you don’t share it with someone. As a cheerleader, reach out to your coach or a parent. Explain what’s going on and your concerns. Even if they don’t necessarily have the “right” answer or fix, just talking about it can help. Visualize Your Fear Having trouble with a stunt you had no trouble doing before? This can often be the case after you fall or injure yourself from a specific stunt. Suddenly, you only see yourself getting hurt again. If this is becoming a roadblock, one way to overcome it is to visualize the stunt. Complete it over and over in your head slowly, watching your every step. This may cause you more stress in the beginning, but as you repeatedly think about it, you’ll be able to calm down again. Next, learn it again. Perform the stunt in a way that doesn’t scare you. This could mean having a teammate spot you a few times. Or, do the motions leading up to the stunt. For example, if you’re struggling completing a back handspring, practice doing round-offs and bending as if you’re going to continue into a back handspring. Lastly, clear your mind when you’re ready to do the stunt. Instead of trying to think of “nothing” (which is impossible), focus on one specific and simple thing. Watch Videos for Inspiration If you’re having trouble choreographing a new routine or performing a stunt, let past performances inspire you! Get on YouTube and watch a bunch of different performances. You’re guaranteed to discover new ideas and get in a spirited mood. Seeing fellow cheerleaders performing a stunt can also help remind you that nothing is impossible. Don’t Give Up (Or Run Away) Everyone will tell you this: don’t run away from the problem. Be patient and understand that some problems take time to resolve. Try different methods for beating the roadblock and rely on the support and help from friends, teammates, and adults. How do you beat a mental roadblock?