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Dealing With Mental Blocks

Emelie Beckman, C'25

From MAAC Indoor Championship

This weekend I had my outdoor season opener at High Point University, and although season openers are not majorly important in the grand aspect of the full season, having a bad one like mine feels horrible.

For context, I ended indoors with a peak in Boston, with a personal record and school record, but it required me to push myself to one of the greatest extents that I have ever had. After the championship in Boston, I felt completely drained, however, after a few days of complete rest, it was time to start preparing for the outdoor season. During the time of preparation, my body eventually recovered and eventually, I reached a point where I felt even stronger and faster than indoors. Hence, I had high expectations for the upcoming season. But, I was struggling with my vaulting.

I wasn’t essentially struggling with the technical or physical aspects of pole vaulting, but it was a mental problem. I didn’t feel as confident on the runway, and for those who are not familiar with the sport, you can not be scared or hesitant when vaulting. If you do not give the run or take off all you have you are not going to make it. You usually end up vaulting horribly or running through the jump (run but never jump up so you end up running into the mat).

Generally, when faced with this issue it's important to get out of it as soon as possible. But how to do that is the problem. Many times you have to convince or force yourself to fake confidence, and then just chuck it. Many times when I get into a mental funk I tense up, and if you're tense while vaulting you will end up shortening all movements even if you believe you're doing them more powerfully. I hence try to prove myself to believe in myself and relax. I usually take a minute before my run to take a couple of deep breaths and give myself a pep talk. “This is nothing” or “This is going to be easy for you” or “You will do…”

But sometimes, like this weekend, it doesn’t work out and you end up failing because your head limits you and nothing else. It's the most frustrating thing in the entire world. Usually, in the moments afterwards you feel like a complete failure, then after some time you can start reflecting and usually, it leads to better competitions next time.

Swedish Lesson of the Blog:

Competition - Tävling

Horrible - Fruktansvärd

Take a deep breath - Ta eat djupt andetag

It happens sometimes - Ibland händer det

Emelie Beckman, C'25