Why do athletes struggle to throw skills they know they can do?

[Edited transcript below]

If an athlete knows they can do the skill, then why do they still have trouble with it?

Knowing you can do the skill… that’s being confident. A common source of tension for athletes with mental blocks is knowing they can do it but they still can’t make their body go. A lot of the reason the know they can do it is because they used to have it. 

There’s experience with the skill. But instead of using that as confidence boosting fuel, sometimes that does more harm than good. Athletes adopt a belief that they SHOULD have the skill. So that’s not necessarily true confidence. It’s not that “I know I can do this.” Its “I should have this. I should be able to do this, because I know I can do this.

 There’s a big difference in true confidence you can feel in your bones and judgement and shame from not being able to do something you SHOULD be able to. 

Another reason why athletes struggle to throw skills they have mastered has to do with comparison. 

Comparing yourself now, today, to where you were two months ago or a year ago. That’s actually harmful for athletes who have mental blocks. That puts more pressure on them and more judgment, more fear and just negativity around that skill. Make it harder for them to go.

So that’s one of the biggest challenges. When they say, I know I can do this, but I still won’t go, a lot of that is them just acknowledging that they have a mental block and they’re stuck and they’re not where they’re supposed to be, which is not helpful.

How can you get your body to throw a skill, even when you are afraid?

The solution is building up and stepping into that true confidence. 

So practicing confidence and using that to build up their trust as well in themselves, that I can do the skill. And one of the easiest ways to start being able to do that is focusing on progress.

So start noticing the little things you’re doing. Not, I didn’t do the whole skill. 

There’s so much attention on did I do the skill, yes or no? And that’s a big bar to meet every single day versus what did you accomplish? It’s like, oh, well, I did two extra reps than I normally do, or I ran harder than I normally do.

I really blocked off the floor. Whatever the case may be, even if it feels insignificant, noticing those little bitty wins. And not just noticing them, but writing them down and reviewing it. Journal about it. Write it down so that you have proof that is concrete proof of, like. See, I do good things.

See, I’m making progress even if I’m not doing the whole skill. That’s what it takes to bridge the gap from where you are to where you want to be. Okay. Now, I believe in myself, I trust myself, and I can just do this skill.

That's it! Now it's your turn.

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Until next time, remember that a mental block is simply a challenge you are working through. You are strong, can do hard things, and have totally got this!

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