This episode is going to be HUGE. After a previous conversation with Dr. Ali Arnold about mental health in gymnastics, the episode was released and had 1000’s of downloads in the first few days. It seemed that we were hitting on some issues that a lot of coaches, parent, and gymnasts were facing every day.

So, because of the positive feedback, I asked Ali to come back on so we could spend the entire episode focusing on two main topics

  1. How to help gymnasts overcome mental blocks
  2. How to help gymnastics cultures change from fear-based to inspiration based

As expected, the episode did not disappoint. Ali shared truly amazing insight into understanding the ‘why’ of mental blocks in gymnastics, but then graciously offered her entire 6 step system to how coaches, parents, and gymnasts can beat them.

This was where things got really interesting, as Ali used her PhD work to compare the patterns of dysfunctional families to toxic gym culture.

We dive into the characteristics of unhealthy gymnastics training environments, with her 5 characteristics of dysfunctional cultures promoting a mindset of

“Don’t Think, Don’t Talk, Don’t Feel, Don’t Fail, Don’t Trust”


We dive into the characteristics of unhealthy gymnastics training cultures, what the opposing approach to culture would be, and the dichotomies that we may want to avoid in our daily gymnastics lives.

In my opinion, this is an absolute must listen and must share. I think there is so much valuable content from Ali. I can’t thank her enough for her time and wisdom! You can listen to the episode below here,

Doc Ali’s 6 Step System for Fixing Mental Blocks and Fear in Gymnastics

Be sure to share with your gymnastic community! Hope you have a great week.


Dr. Dave Tilley DPT, SCS, CSCS
CEO/Founder of SHIFT Movement Science