Part 1: Recognize
As a mental coach, one of my FAVORITE things is seeing my athletes begin to trust themselves. We hop on the zoom call and as we get started and I ask what they are celebrating they are smiling, talkative, leaning in, and excited to tell me what they have been up to. I hear comments like “of course, I can do it” and “I can do that for sure!”. It is a reaction to what they believe to be true… that it is possible for them to do their skill and they are excited to do it.
This incredible moment happens BEFORE they get their skill by themselves. Way too many athletes feel like they have to wait to do their skill perfectly before they can trust in themselves or be confident… that is not true! If you are thinking, “Yes! That is something I do”, I am so glad you are here with me. In this post, I will help you get clear on what it looks like to trust or doubt yourself so you can identify unhelpful patterns keeping you stuck and move towards more effective ways of thinking.
(P.S. Be sure to read to the end so you do not miss out on your free gift)
WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE TO TRUST?
The official definition in the sports performance world is, “Letting go of conscious controlling tendencies and allowing one’s skills to be run off from motor memory (or what you practiced) instead of conscious directives from the mind.” In other words, it is allowing your body to do what it knows how to do. This is where the belief of “I’VE GOT THIS!” comes in.
So, what does this look like for an athlete in the gym? The athletes I work with describe their trust with phrases like, “I just did it”, “It felt easy”, “I wasn’t overthinking”, “I thought sit and jump and went for it”, “I knew I could do it”, “I was excited to do it”, “I was on autopilot”, “I relied on what I have practiced”, “I felt relaxed”, “I committed to the skill”, and “I felt afraid but went anyways”. Let’s chat about this last one for a minute because this is a big one. Sometimes we think fear means something bad is happening and is a sign that we are not ready. There is also this belief for many that it is not ok to be afraid and that they SHOULD feel 100% confident…. That is not true!
Now it’s your turn. Take a moment and imagine what it feels like to trust your skills. Think back to a time when you “knew you could do it.”… What did it feel like? What did you think or say? In other words, what does it look like to believe, “I’ve Got this!”. If you are having trouble, think back to when you first started your sport and what you loved about it. Remember the thrill you felt with mastering skills and getting to a place where your performance felt easy… describe that.
WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE TO DOUBT?
Self-doubt is the opposite of confidence. There are 5-levels of confidence and the lowest is “I hope”. This means that doing your skills is like a flip of a coin where you have no control over the skill. Does this sound familiar?
Maybe this shows up by you relying fully on your coach or putting parameters around when you can do your skills. A common phrase I hear is, “I can only do it if [insert a specific surface, coach, people are present or not, etc.]” You feel like you have to trick yourself into doing your skill. Instead of feeling ready and excited to perform you think, “It feels weird”, “I didn’t do it yesterday so I won’t today”, “even if I do the skill, it won’t be good enough”, “I have so far to go”, or in moments of defeat “I am falling behind everyone else and do not have what it takes”. These thoughts and feelings cause you to freeze, and hesitate and are a reflection that you do not believe in yourself or your abilities.
I know these are not the easiest to think or talk about, but there is power in identifying them. Like a monster in a dark closet that turns out to be a plain old shirt when the light turns on, by calling attention to your negative self-talk you regain your power and can choose more helpful ways of thinking. So, ask yourself, “What does it look like when I doubt myself?”. What do you think or say to yourself? What does it feel like in your body? Parents, think about what your child says after practice when they get in the car with tears or slumped shoulders. By getting clear on ways self-doubt shows up for you, you will have the power to trade your “I can’t!” for “I’ve got this!”
So, why is this important? Because the things we think, say, and do are a reflection of what we believe to be true. By getting clear on what it looks like to trust or doubt yourself you can catch yourself in the moment. Once you catch yourself you can choose a different way.
At the beginning of this post, I promised you a gift… If this post resonated with you and you want to dive even deeper into this learning and receive 1:1 support from a coach who knows what it takes to get you to trade your doubt for confidence, I invite you to schedule a FREE Performance Check Session with me. To schedule your call, all you have to do is click this link, complete the form, and book your session. (Availability is limited so book your session today.)
Getting unstuck and living in the “IVE GOT THIS” Trust zone is possible. Mental blocks and challenges are real but there is a solution to overcoming them in a way that allows you to keep your confidence intact. My goal is for my athletes to feel good about where they are, see the progress they are making, and have fun in the sport they love. Too many athletes burn out or allow their fear to steal their joy and it does not have to happen. Contact me today so I can support you.