Today, I want to talk about something that continues to come up in coaching session with athletes dealing with performance anxiety, fears, and mental blocks, TRUST. These athletes want their skills back but as we peel back the layers, we discover that what they TRULY want is …
- Trust that their body can perform their skills safely on-command
- Confidence that comes with feeling good about their skills
- The ability to work on new skills, progress to the next level, and an opportunity to grow
- Approval of teammates, parents, and coaches who believe in them
- An understanding of what is happening so they know how to overcome it
As a mental performance coach I help athletes get clear on these things so they understand what is happening and see options for moving forward. By becoming aware of what they truly desire they regain hope, but to really make progress on overcoming their challenges and fears they need to remove the things getting in the way of what they want. For most of the athletes I talk with, these are the things creating the gap in their TRUST…
- Unnecessary pressure from themselves and others
- Putting trust in things outside of themselves like coaches and mats
- Fears of negative outcomes like injury, disappointment, and failure
- Frustration from not doing what they are supposed to do
- Perfectionism that says nothing is good enough
- Focus on the distance they have to go and how far behind they are
- Feeling like they are alone and no one understands what they are going through
If you are dealing with a mental block, or you are a parent of a child struggling, which of these sound familiar? When you think about what is said after practice and the comments offered through tears after ‘bad’ practices, which of these do you feel are being reflected?
At this point, we have talked about the goal, where we ultimately want to be, and where we feel stuck. So what is the solution? What do you do to close the gap from self-doubt to confidence and trust? Here you go…
4 Strategies for Improving Trust in Your Skills
1. Shift focus to things that are ACTUALLY helpful.
So often, athletes think about all of the things that can go wrong. They tell themselves to “just throw it”, or “don’t fall” which only causes them to feel more pressure. Instead, find something to focus on that is helpful, relevant to the skill you are about to do, and does not put pressure on you. To give you some things to consider, you can choose a part of the skill to think about or set mini-goals for what you will do that rep. You can also choose a positive thought that will help you believe that you can do it. By shifting your focus this way you will feel less nervous and more clear about what you need to do so you can increase your trust.
2. Increase your belief in yourself and your ability to do your skills.
This has to do with confidence. There is a false idea that some people are just born more confident than others but this is not true. Confidence and trust are mental game skills which means they can be improved with tools and exercises which I teach my athletes. The goal is to pay attention to the small wins and progress you are making. Spend time to really think about why you deserve to be confident and trust in yourself. The goal is to shift away from the things that are going wrong and dig into all of the things you are ACTUALLY doing to move forward.
3. A practice plan and intention for your mindset.
The mental component is essential for success in sports because it controls how well you can access your training. All of the private lessons and in the gym work you have put in to master your skills does not matter if you cannot trust yourself to do them when it counts. Before practice, decide on goals for yourself. What do you want to accomplish and why is it important for you to push through your fear? Decide what you will say to yourself and think as you work. By walking in with a game plan you regain control over your skills which builds your trust.
4. A solid support system to encourage and motivate you.
Who do you have in your life that can hold you accountable to letting go of the unhelpful things and shifting to more helpful ways of thinking? Who do you have that can encourage and support you and understands exactly what you need to be your best? Consider if you are being honest as you share or if you are holding back afraid they will see you are not perfect. You need someone you can be honest with and not feel judged. Find a friend, family member, or coach and have a conversation with them about what you are struggling with. Allow them to remind you that it is ok to not be perfect and that you are okay. This will help you take action and focus on the truth so that you change your beliefs and build your trust.
There you have it! Just think, how amazing it will be when you have a game plan where you can get excited for practice, you walk in confident, you know what to focus on while you are working on your skills, and you leave feeling accomplished. These 4 strategies will help you do just that! Let us know how it goes > mgpcoach.com/contact
As a mental performance coach, my job is to help them through this process. I teach them mental game skills and tools so they know exactly how to improve their confidence, trust, and focus every practice. I help them figure out what is causing them to stay stuck and what is going to get in the way of them mastering their skills. If you want to learn more about mental performance coaching and how it can help you improve your trust and performance then sign-up for a no-cost PErformance Check Session today. Click the link here, complete the precall form, and book your session today!