“unBlocked: The Walls Come Tumbling Down” Review & Summary: A Cheerleading Must-Read!

by TheCheerBuzz
"unBlocked: The Walls Come Tumbling Down" by Jeff Benson

Let’s talk about something familiar in cheerleading: “mental blocks.” It’s a term we often hear, but many people don’t quite get it, and that’s where misunderstandings come in.

In this article, we’ll have a look at these blocks and how they’re explained in “unBlocked: The Walls Come Tumbling Down” by Jeff Benson. Learn how this book clears up the confusion around mental blocks in cheerleading, and how to overcome them!

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“unBlocked: The Walls Come Tumbling Down” by Jeff Benson is an essential guide for cheerleaders, parents, and coaches. With his vast experience in cheerleading and a master’s degree in counseling psychology, Benson offers valuable insights and strategies to tackle mental blocks.

The book is divided into four main sections, covering the causes of mental blocks, understanding the athlete’s mindset, resolving blocks, and preventing them from coming back.

The writing style is clear and straightforward, making it accessible to everyone. Drawing from his personal experiences as an athlete, coach, consultant, and more, he breaks down complex concepts in simple language.

The use of illustrations, case studies, and real-world examples, like those from Simone Biles and “Grey’s Anatomy,” makes the book relatable and easy to understand. The book’s organization guides readers through the entire process of understanding and addressing mental blocks in cheerleading.

Who Is It For?

This book is very much for everyone! If you’re a cheerleader, a parent, or a coach, this book has something for you. Even gym staff, owners, and industry professionals – we think everyone would benefit from reading this book.

Benson makes sure his advice works for everyone involved in cheerleading! It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting or have been cheering for a while. It doesn’t matter if you’ve experienced a mental block or not. “unBlocked” is like the ultimate guide, helping everyone understand each other better and making cheerleading a fun and positive experience for all.

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Approach to Mental Blocks

In the book, a mental block is defined as “any thought of fear, whether conscious or unconscious, that undermines a skill or skills that an athlete has been able to perform several times with excellent technique, in multiple venues, and in front of many people.”

He goes beyond this definition to explain what isn’t a mental block, offering examples like when an athlete learns a new skill with improper technique and then tries it on a different surface. If the athlete, their coach, or parents expect them to confidently perform the skill, they unknowingly set unrealistic expectations.

Benson makes it clear that this isn’t a mental block but a realistic fear. Importantly, the book caters to anyone experiencing these types of fear, providing loads of helpful information and strategies to manage anxiety and fear of skills.

Benson emphasizes a crucial point that someone with a mental block doesn’t lack will or desire. Rather, it’s a basic human response to fear and danger.

He sheds light on the misconception that mental blocks are treated like a disease – something to be feared as the worst possible outcome. This also shows why the book is really important. It helps people understand each other better, know what others are going through, and see how everyone plays a part in dealing with mental blocks.

Mindset & strategies

Moving into Section 2, the book explores mindset as a general topic, backed by research and reflective exercises. Benson delves into the differences between fixed, growth, and mixed mindsets.

The focus then shifts to the mindset of the “triad” – the athlete, parent, and coach. The book emphasizes self-awareness for everyone in the triad, offering exercises, assessments, and charts for readers to evaluate their situations.

Topics like praise, goals versus expectations, and the balance between focusing on the end goal and the process are also discussed.

A very important note that Benson highlights is that 75% of the work in overcoming a mental block happens outside of the cheer gym. The book’s third section introduces multiple strategies, both inside and outside the gym, to lower fear and rebuild trust.

Helpful tables are included to assess athletes’ fear levels related to different skills, surfaces, and having someone spot the skill, allows for the identification of problems, along with examples.

The final section discusses why some athletes may experience a relapse in getting a mental block, outlining three main components that may have caused this. Additionally, the book provides a list of phrases for coaches and parents to use, offering support to their athletes in various scenarios.


“unBlocked: The Walls Come Tumbling Down” is a must-read for everyone in cheerleading. Jeff Benson’s expertise, combined with clear writing and real-world examples, makes this guide invaluable. It doesn’t just practically help with mental blocks, it also helps everyone understand each other better, and create a supportive and thriving cheerleading environment.

Ready to learn more and overcome these mental hurdles? Grab your copy of the book here!

The book is available on Kindle and in paperback. You can also read a sample of the book by following the link to it above. Happy reading!

"unBlocked: The Walls Come Tumbling Down" book by Jeff Benson from Mind Body Cheer
Image: Jeff Benson, mindbodycheer.com

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