Term of Award

Spring 2016

Degree Name

Master of Science in Kinesiology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)


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.