Building The Mentality for Handstand Training
Any form of inversion training will challenge your mind as well as your body. For most people wanting to start training toward a freestanding handstand, it can be quite scary, and they may have a difficult time finding the confidence as they start their journey.
What I typically recommend to my students is to start by getting comfortable with their hips over their head and putting weight into the hands and wrists. This can be quite uncomfortable, but does that mean we shouldn’t practice it? No, it just means that we need to expose our body to the feeling of being uncomfortable.
The process of shedding fear from our physical bodies seems to be a scary task in itself. However, the pros far outweigh the cons. This process is very individualized, and can take months, weeks, days or hours… it really depends on the person. One of the biggest challenges I see when I teach my students is not just the physical side, but more importantly the mental challenges they face.
Overcoming Fear in the Handstand
I remember years and years ago I was scared out of my mind to try and kick up into a handstand, even against a wall. I really wanted to learn the handstand so I was diligent in practicing it. Even though there were not as many great tutorials and information out there as there are today, I had to just go for it.
To achieve the kick-up, it took many repetitions to build confidence in my ability that I actually was not in danger and wasn’t going to hurt myself. Trust me – I know what it feels like when people struggle with kicking up to the wall, or walking up the wall.
Learning to perform a handstand as an adult (or any other inverted skill), is not the same thing as learning a handstand as a kid. Most kids are pretty flexible and fearless. Plus, if they do fall, they don’t fall as hard and can recover much easier.
I have noticed when teaching adults, they are much more fearful of falling and hurting themselves. They tend to tell themselves they can’t afford to get injured. So the mind plays tricks and prevents us from “taking the plunge.”
As a teacher, one of my jobs is to help prepare people to build up their confidence so that when they do “take the plunge,” they have a successful experience they can re-create. By trusting in their abilities, that confidence will most likely carry over into other areas of their life outside of training.
I find this is the ultimate win-win situation. When a student of mine shares their journey of overcoming a particular obstacle in their training, and how it reflects other aspects in their life, I find the true value is within that awareness and realization. In that moment, it’s not about the handstand; it’s about their commitment to taking the plunge and going all in.
If you really want to achieve something, don’t let a few unsuccessful attempts, or your mind, prevent you from letting it happen. You are so much stronger then you think you are.