Mental Blocks – we all experience them at some point (if not multiple points) in our aerial journey. A mental block is the inability to remember or think of something we normally can do. In the aerial world, we get these mental blocks when we try to do a specific move and, while our bodies have the capability and experience to achieve it, our minds get in the way by sending fear or doubt. Whether it’s getting our straddle from the air or getting into the proper setup for an intermediate drop, we will all, at some point, hit a mental block and start to question “what if I really can’t do this?” This seedling of doubt can easily grow and create more fears if not confronted right away. I am all too familiar with these kinds of fears and doubts, so here are some helpful ways I’ve found to overcome these mental blocks:
1. Believe in Yourself
I know this sounds cliché, but we can be our worst critics and often experience mental blocks when we don't believe in ourselves. Many times we’ll be frustrated and think “I’m not strong enough” or “I’m just not capable of doing this”, but most times the real problem is our lack of confidence. If we spend our time getting down on ourselves about not getting a move, then we only let that mental block grow stronger. Recognize that you do have the ability to achieve your goal; all it takes is more time, practice, or modification. Also, take the time to reflect on all the great things you’ve accomplished before reaching this mental block –build up confidence that is stronger than your doubt!
2. Talk to your Instructors and set up a Private Lesson
At AerialCLT, we pride ourselves on having instructors that are very caring and encouraging; we always want every student to succeed! If you are struggling, don’t hesitate to talk to your instructor about it – that’s why we’re here! Your instructor can identify if your challenge is more about trusting your strength, trusting the apparatus, or overcoming a fear of heights. Furthermore, by talking to the instructor, you can figure out the specific things you can do to improve: for example, maybe it’s practicing your set up multiple times near the ground so that you don’t blank out in the air or using knot work to train your body more. Your instructor can also help you set up a private lesson to get more one-on-one training. Private lessons can help you grow exponentially; they let you focus on exactly what you have the most trouble with, they let you learn at your pace, and they give you undivided attention.
3. Team up with a friend (You’re not alone!)
When experiencing a mental block, it’s easy to think that you’re the only one struggling, especially if you see your peers having no trouble at all. Well, you’re not alone! If there is a particular move or concept you need to work through, you can easily find a fellow aerialist that can split a private lesson with you. AerialCLT encourages a great sense of camaraderie at every class; you will have peers cheering you on and applauding when you overcome that mental hurdle. While each aerialist has their personal journey of self-development, each class promotes a team effort in overcoming fears, so don’t be afraid to reach out to your peers for encouragement too!