poem – handspring on beam

Thanks and Happy New Year to Charlie Amerosa who submitted a poem describing the experience of a gymnast overcoming a fear problem.

The Beast

Homework is done, time to get in the car
Back out of the driveway, the gym’s not that far
Heading down the road, my stomach’s in a knot
What group will I have, do they know I need a spot?

Slouching in the back seat, staring out into space
I used to be excited, but now that’s not the case
Mom interrupts, “let’s go honey, we’re running a bit late”
I snap out of my trance, not feeling too great.

Walking through the door, my palms feeling wet
Nodding at some friends, stretch hasn’t started just yet
Put my bag in the cubby, then on the floor to run,
My eyes glance at beam, this wont be much fun

You see I’m level 7 now and struggling with a new skill
I’m not even 12 years old, but I feel over the hill
It’s the back handspring on beam that’s dragging me down
Haven’t smiled in weeks, have a permanent frown

The groups have been split, level 7’s to BEAM
It could not have been worse, it’s like a bad dream
As we walk on over, I stare at the beast
Of all the events, I love you the least

Coach’s eyes meet mine, “go warm up your back”
“What a great opportunity, to get you on track”
Does he know that I’m scared, having a panic attack?
I have the desire, it’s the courage I lack

It’s my turn to go, I’m trying not to cry
My eyes feel wet, my throat is so dry
As I climb on the beam, my mind filled with fears
I set to go and….get nothing but tears

As a tear hits the beam, I’m in a frozen trance
My heart wants to go, my mind says no chance
Coach says “get down, let me explain something to you”
“When level 10’s are afraid, this is what they do”

“They SET and they GO, they don’t stop to think”
“Their arms go up, they jump back in a blink”
“They tighten their mind, if they hesitate they know”
“The fear will get in, then they just won’t go”

“Use your natural ability, you’ll know what to do”
“You have to trust yourself, as much as we trust you”
“Take a deep breath, and so there’s no misunderstanding”
“The only thought you should have, is to stick your landing”

Back up on the beam, moving kind of slow
My mind starts racing, then I hear “Set…go”
Wipe my hands on my legs, raise my arms over head
This is the moment I always freeze, but this time, instead..

I flew up, arched back, my hands hit just right
As I fly over, I push hard and I fight to stay tight
And in an instant, and to the amazement of all
I had done a back handspring, I did not fall!

My teammates are all cheering, from coach a warm smile
I stuck it, I stuck it, I’m staying up here a while!
So the beast is gone, and now I love beam
It was in me the whole time, or so it would seem

Even though “SET…GO helped me, to get over my fear
There was something special, that I needed to hear
I knew all along, what I was supposed to do
But what really gave me courage, were the words “We trust you”

Charlie Amerosa

Edgewood, New York
Email Flipr110 @ aol.com

photo – Christchurch School of Gymnastics

Published by

coach Rick

Career gymnastics coach from Calgary, Canada.

25 thoughts on “poem – handspring on beam”

  1. What a great poem! When I was a gymnast, I remember feeling that exact same way about doing my first couple of back handsprings on beam. I wasn’t as lucky to have an encouraging coach, though. I would have responded to overwhelming fear much better with positive motivation, rather than the cold…JUST GO!!! Thanks for posting this Rick.

  2. That is really good poem! I am using this for my Language Arts homework. I do gymnastics and i hate beam but i always have a good motavation pop into my head to make me go! And i always do it! well good job for whoever wrote this it is really good. I am also going to email this to all my teammates!! ~Brittany

  3. It’s a really amazing poem!! I hope you keep writing, and remember to have ~fun~ while doing it. I can’t wait to read the next one!!

  4. That is a great poem. Me being agymnast I can todally relate to you. I feel the excat same way. Great Poem!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. im a gymnast too!! i feel the same way when i have to do something hard!! im only in level 4 for my first year but im getting the hang of competing now!! i

  6. oh goodness that poem made me cry. i’m a retired gymnast now but i totally had mental problems. i wish this was written when i actually compeeted. it probly would have helped with the backhands and the giants too : )

  7. wow i have this fear of flyaways since last year when my coach let me fall but this year i have a new coach and your poem, though it’s for backhandsprings gave me courage and now i want to get to the gym and try my hardest to conquer my beast and not to be modest.

    thank you

  8. wow this was exacly how i use to feel…i didnt start gymnmastics until 7th grade and i was always the odd one out but with in four years i was really growing until i hit the back handsprings an the beam it took me a few months but i finnally got them and now i cant stop…here i am now 17 and teaching my own classes…i look back at this poem and remember what it felt like…i let them read this as a bit of encuragement!

  9. Thanks for this great poem. I found it and printed it for my 9 year old to carry in her gym bag. She too is struggling with this skill! I think this has helped her…SET..GO!

  10. That was a great poem. I am 13 and am a level nine training 10. I went throught the same theing when I was a level seven. I went through it again not too long ago trying to get my standing 1 and a half full on beam. Youre exactly right about the SET…GO. This peoem was excellent. I will use it for a class assignment!

  11. This poem is dead on. I am a level 7 now and have been for almost a year, but even though I have been doing it for almost a year I still have days when I am scared to go for it and our coach just tells us to count to three and go. It seems like three isn’t enough time to prepare to do a backhandspring, but after you do it, its not nearly as scary.

  12. I’m a gymanst and I’m trying to go 7. the only thing holding me back is my back handspring on beam. it’s either that or a roundoff which i think is still really scary. I really just want to go for it but in my mind keep going back to when i hurt myself after missing my hand a few times in a row. i didn’t do it again after that which was a mistake and im still really scared to go for it. i hope this poem will help me next time im on the beam!

  13. When I first read this poem, i actually cried! The poem is so beautifully written and i feel like someone finally understands how i feel. I have been struggling with backwards blocks on floor and beam for 3 years. I even know a friend of mine who quit due to a block on beam. I wonder now that i have been inspired to fulfill my full potential, if she would have read a poem like this, maybe she would still be in gymnastics. Thank you for writing this poem and sharing it with everyone. You will never know how much this is going to help me in the future. I will never give up, i will just set… go.
    Thanks again
    ~level8 gymnast

  14. That was a great poem though it did remind me of myself, it also currently reminds me of my friend in level 7. So I’m trying to get her to read it, hopefully it helps. Right now she’s doing front tumbling on the beam, but still working on her flip-flops.
    level 8 gymnast

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