Term of Award

Spring 2016

Degree Name

Master of Science in Kinesiology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Health and Kinesiology

Committee Chair

Daniel Czech

Committee Member 1

Brandonn Harris

Committee Member 2

Barry Munkasy


A mental block is a phenomenon in which an athlete’s mind no longer allows them to perform a physical skill that was previously well-learned and automatic. This phenomenon has received attention in gymnastics and trampoline but the literature is lacking an investigation of this phenomenon in all-star cheerleading. The purpose of this study was to examine the phenomenon of mental blocks by obtaining it from the first-person perspective of cheerleaders themselves. A purposeful sample of 8 all-star cheerleader participants was interviewed and transcriptions were analyzed utilizing qualitative analysis. Four main themes were found: 1) specific to backwards moving skills, 2) mind and body dichotomy, 3) fear of performing the blocked skill, 4) pressure and negative self-belief. From these themes, research may be conducted to determine the cause of mental blocks as well as ways to help cheerleaders overcome them.