These words cause goosebumps in almost all gymnasts.
“Twisty” Los. It’s the mental mass that causes gymnasts, even those who were at the peak of their careers like American superstar Simone Biles, to lose control of their bodies while in the air.
Biles, who claimed to have mental health issues after dropping out of the women’s gymnastics team final and all-around final Thursday, said she received “twists” during a jump she made in her only routine in the final competition.
Watching Biles nearly stumble was shocking to many, but for those who experienced the unpleasant sensation of their bodies detaching from their minds while on their stomachs, it also brought back bad memories.
“It’s a bit like forgetting the way you flip your body through the air,” former UCLA gymnast JaNay Honest said. “It’s really scary because when you do an exercise like the one Simon does… it’s really dangerous.”
In other sports, it can be called “yepes”. Similar mental blocks suddenly prevent bowlers from throwing the ball across the board or basketball players from throwing free throws. But if it does happen to a player, the repercussions could be much worse than a missed shot or a scoreboard error.
“In our sport, we basically throw ourselves in a swimming pool [sin] water,” tweeted former Olympic gold medalist Dominique Moschino. When the ability to find land is lost — which seems to have been part of the decision [de Biles]The consequences could be dire. She made the right decision for the team and herself.”
Biles withdrew from the team final after competing in the jump, where he was scheduled to perform 2½ spins in the air, but scored 13.766 after completing just one lap. His score, which was calculated from the team’s total, was more than one point lower than his qualifying score on the test. Without Bills, Team USA rallied to secure the silver medal.
On the jump, Biles opened his arms and opened his turn before landing. But, as former Olympian Laurie Hernandez noted on NBC Peacock, Biles’ head was still tilted to the side when he landed, indicating his desire to keep turning. Mixed signals indicated that Biles had briefly lost his position in the air.
Later, the 24-year-old was overheard on TV broadcasts telling coaches that she doesn’t trust herself. Minutes later he withdrew from the competition.
“There are times when you go into the gym and you’re not in a good mood and you need to tell your coaches, ‘I shouldn’t be doing gymnastics today,’ because you just don’t feel safe,” said Onst.
Honest, who helped UCLA win the 2018 NCAA Team Championship, said that in his case his body ended up doing unpredictable things. The 2016 uneven Pac-12 co-champion may have intended to complete a double back on the floor — a back lip with two mid-air laps — but instead landed after a flip.
The feeling became so intimidating for Honest that he tweaked his routine to focus more on laps. But with Biles in the midst of Olympic competition, no drastic changes can be made.
Deconstructing the mental block can be a daunting process. Oregon gymnastics coach Tanya Chaplin said the team is working with sports psychologists and medical staff to train gymnasts on laps. They wonder if it is their own ability or external forces and stress that are exacerbating the situation. Like Honest, they try to solve routine problems, if possible.
Honest, an analyst with Pac-12 Networks, said that when the body is unable to complete difficult skills, it is important to retrain the mind to the basics.
She used mental repetition to help untangle her mind by imagining herself completing perfect skills over and over again. When his mind is ready, he can then work physically by retraining skills on foam pits or on additional mats.
“For me, gymnastics is 10% physical and 90% mental,” Honest says.
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