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Helping an anxious kid in a sport when the coach is making it worse?


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Usually DD10 memorizes fairly easily without realizing she's doing it, but her cheer coach seems to be feeding DD's anxiety-and when DD gets anxious, especially when we're talking something that already is in her weak areas (motor skills or sensory triggering), that's it-it's like she's starting from ground zero all over again. Yesterday, she went into practice feeling pretty confident, and after practice couldn't even do the routine by herself at home because she was so uncertain and worried. A lot of times this happens when there's one step or skill she's not 100% sure of.


I've talked to the coach about this (last night in fact), but honestly, I don't know how to make it better. The coach is trying not to put pressure on DD-but if she corrects anyone else, DD's anxiety starts building. She's trying not to change DD's position in the formation or DD's choreography, but changing it for anyone else affects DD, too. 


DD really needs to just get to the point where she knows what comes before and after a given point no matter what and is confident in it. She has an amazing digit span and working memory, so I KNOW she has the ability to remember sequences. It's just a matter of convincing her that the same skills that work for her in, say, math or Latin work here and that she's got this.


The music really isn't a help-it's a techno-type remix that doesn't have much to hang anything on except for the beat being clear. It's not like "Oh, this move always goes on this word" And about 90% of the time, the coach doesn't have them practice to music anyway.



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I wouldn't assume her ability to motor plan with working memory is as high as the others.  Minds In Motion has a GR-8! workbook that does this.  I bought both the books this weekend to try.  They make sense to me, and since they take nominal time to implement as part of a morning/warm-up routine, they can't hurt.  At least that's my thinking, lol.

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I was going to suggest practicing without music at first until I got to the end of your post. I can't do rhythmic things until I have the moves memorized first. If she does have the moves memorized, but is having trouble with the real-time production of those moves, I suggest doing them over and over in head, thinking about how it feels to do them correctly. If she has certain spots that are a hang up, work on those spots, making her brain think about how it feels to do them right, then backing up to the move before, one move at a time and rerunning it in her head. I would **not** play music at the same time she's thinking through it because she might have to slow it down in her head.


That is how I survived anything rhythmic in gym class. I am better than I used to be, but I used to have to watch other people clap, and I couldn't clap and sing at the same time. 


**Oops, edit.

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You wrote: "... she was so uncertain and worried. A lot of times this happens when there's one step or skill she's not 100% sure of."


While we have this word 'anxiety'?

What is behind this, is a thought of 'Doubt'.

Where as we attempt to do something, this thought of Doubt emerges?

So that we stop, and start over again.

But then this thought of Doubt emerges again?

So that we start over again.

Which has a snowball effect, with its disruption of thinking.

That rather confirms the Doubt.

We can never be a 100% certain of our ability to do anything.

We can only be certain, that we will probably be right.

Placing trust in ourselves.

Accepting that sometimes we make a mistake.

But not let this occasional mistake, undermine the trust we have in ourselves.


Where their is no such thing as a 100% sure,

But 99% can give us strong confidence.

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