8 Powerful Questions to Help You Stop Doubting Yourself and Believe “I’ve got this!”

Imagine this: you’ve practiced hard to physically master your skill and are getting set to FINALLY do it all by yourself. But just as you’re about to go for it, doubts creep in. You start feeling unsure, fidgety, and end up calling your coach over for just one more spot, even though deep down, you know you can do it. If you’ve felt this internal tug-of-war between wanting to trust yourself and feeling uncertain, you’re not alone.

As a coach specializing in mental performance for athletes as well as a former competitive athlete who has personally overcome mental blocks and confidence struggles, I’ve seen this struggle up close. Today, I am sharing my secrets with you because if you are here, you have likely experienced that feeling of not being confident or trusting in your skills. 

You know what it feels like to go back and forth from day to day, sometimes even moment to moment between I can’t and I’ve got this! You have worked hard to get where you are and deserve to be able to walk in to every practice excited, knowing exactly what to do and think so that it is a great practice no matter what. 

In this article, I’m diving into eight questions that will help you push past self-doubt. These questions are designed to break down those confidence barriers so you can get excited about practice again! Consider this, how will you feel when you know EXACLY what is getting in the way of your confidence and trust and have a plan you can count on? Get ready to say goodbye to frustration, pre-practice dread and those teary car rides home and hello to excitement that will have you dusting off your AirTrak and flipping nonstop. It is time for you to enjoy what you are doing again. 

Note: For a full, in-depth training on this topic, visit mgpcoach.com/ivegotthis

8 Powerful Questions to Help You Turn "I can't!" into "I've got this!"

#1 Why is it important for me to let go of self-doubt and increase my trust in myself and my skill(s)?

I know it’s not fun talking about challenges and things that are holding us back from our full potential but this is important. When you are unsure what is happening and why, you become frustrated and it will be impossible for you to give 100% to your training. So no matter how bad you want to be confident, trust, and do your skills, it will feel hard, like there is this tension inside your chest and you will be stuck. SO what is your goal? Why is it important for you to do the hard thing and work through these questions? Make sure your reason is compelling enough to keep you going even on the days when it is easier just to show up and keep doing what you have always done or not show up at all. Taking time to understand what is happening to you and how the way you’re thinking is getting in your way will give you power. You will be in control again. You will be more motivated, excited to work, and able to see progress. 

#2 What does it look like for me to trust myself and my skill(s)? What do I do, think, and say?

Trusting in yourself means letting go of control and allowing your body do what it knows how to do. It’s thinking, “I’VE GOT THIS!” with a sense of excitement and certainty. It’s not fidgeting, looking back 10 times and finally calling your coach over to spot you, again. You are also not trusting yourself when you say you can only do your skills on a certain mat or spot in the gym. Trust is when you stop controlling, overthinking, and forcing your skills and instead quiet your mind and ‘just do it’ with ease. 

As a mental coach, I love seeing the transformation in my athletes from unsure and doubting to trusting in themselves. My athletes describe it like this: “I just did it,” “It felt easy,” “I wasn’t overthinking”, “I thought sit and jump and went for it”, “I felt afraid but went anyways”, “I was excited to do it”, “I relied on what I have practiced”, “I reached and didn’t think”. They were not held back by fear. They were on autopilot, relaxed, and fully committed to their skill.  Now it’s your turn. Think back to when you started your sport or were just starting to master new skills—what did you love? How did you feel about practices? Write that down and think about what it means to believe in yourself, saying, “I’ve got this!

#3 What does it look like for me to doubt myself and my skill(s)? What do I do, think, and say?

Self-doubt is the opposite of confidence. There are 5-levels of confidence and the lowest is “I hope”.  So when someone asks you if you can do your skill and you respond with “I hope I can…”, it’s like tossing a coin in the air and saying “I have no control over this skill”. Another sure sign of doubt is saying “I can do it if… “. Whether it is a specific mat, spotter, or location or people who either have to or can’t be watching you, your ability to throw your skill is conditional. Doubt also looks like having to ‘trick’ yourself into throwing it or focusing so much on making things perfect that you stop yourself the moment something feels ‘weird’ or off. Here are a few more examples: “I didn’t do it yesterday so I won’t today”, “If I get it, it still won’t be good enough”, I have so far to go”, “Even if I do the skill, I probably won’t be able to do it tomorrow'”. 

What about you? Describe what it is like when you doubt yourself. Ask your parents what they hear you say when you get in the car after practice, overwhelmed by emotion and in tears. Write this down. 

So why is this important. Because the things we 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.

#4 What gets in the way of my trust and causes me to doubt myself? When do I doubt myself and my skill(s)?

If you have skills that you have physically mastered but you struggle to do them without a spotter then there is a gap in your trust. When you can’t throw skills you know you can do, it is FRUSTRATING. So, what is getting in your way? What are the things that are keeping you from believing in yourself that ‘ive got this? Here are the most common contributor to self-doubt: 

  1. Expectations. These are standards you place on your performance that have to happen for you to have a good day. Consider, what has to happen for you to have a good day? What are the things you HAVE TO do or SHOULD be doing? If you are blocking on a skill it is likely that one of the main reasons why is an expectation that you have to throw it by yourself. The moment you hesitate or have a challenging rep you judge yourself and become defeated. 
  2. Perfection. Lets talk about this word for a minute. How does it make you feel? Would you say “Yes, that’s me and proud of it!” “Guilty but I know I shouldn’t be”, or “Not me!”? Let me guess… when you do your skill everyone tells you how beautiful it is. You likely progressed in your sport quickly. You care about doing a great job and hear comments like you are coachable. When you do your skills you not only have to do them but they have to feel and look a certain way and everyone needs to be happy. Be honest, can you relate? Yes? Then you are perfectionist tendencied, but don’t worry! Perfectionism is not a bad thing at all. It is actually a really good thing and likely the reason you have had the success you have up to this point. BUT, it’s also the reason you’ve been stuck. There are unhelpful parts of perfection that cause you to struggle to appreciate progress and put a ton of unnecessary pressure on yourself.
  3. Social Approval. Fear of letting others down or being rejected is a HUGE source of pressure in sports. Do you feel like you have to get skills to make your coach happy or because they are already in the routine? Have you ever felt pressure from your teammates telling you “you’ve got it” or “just do it” because what you really heard was “you should be doing this!”.  What about allowing a ‘look’, ‘tone’, or presence of another person to put pressure on you because you don’t want to feel embarrassed or make them angry or disappointed? Yes? Then you are allowing social approval pressures to interfere with your trust. Another challenge with social approval is comparison with others as well as yourself. Do you feel pressure when teammates master a new skill and feel like you should be further along than you are? This is a big challenge. 
  4. Focus on the past or future. Maybe you have been stuck in a skill before and assume you will again. Or, you fell last practice and worry it will happen. Or if you did really well, you feel like you have to keep it up. These are all examples of focusing on the past which will cause you to doubt yourself. What about thoughts like “If I get this, it will go in the routine and that is too much pressure”, or “If I don’t get it today, then I will not have it in time for the competition (or tryouts)”.  Thinking about the cost if you don’t throw a skill or judge yourself by comparing the past to the present will only get in the way of your trust.
#5 What can I think about that is ACTUALLY helpful for doing my skill(s)?

We discussed the things that get in the way of your trust. So what is helpful? Shift to those instead. What are the things that keep you focused on your skill in the moment, are actually helpful for doing the skill and do not put pressure on you? Consider a back hand spring… common thinking patterns that may feel familiar are ‘just do it” ,“throw it”, “go for it”, “I have to have this for competition”, “if I don’t throw it I wont make the team”, “is someone behind me?”, “is my coach really going to spot me?”, “don’t baulk” . THESE ARE NOT HELPFUL. These fuel fear which is the source of mental blocks. Instead, consider something that would (1) be helpful, (2) keep you focused in the moment, and (3) not put pressure on you. What about “push through your toes'”, “big swing”, “dip and explode”, “breathe, I am safe”. The more you practice replacing unhelpful thoughts with more helpful ones, the easier it will be.

#6 Why do I deserve to be confidence and trust in myself and my skill(s)?

Confidence and trust are mental game skills which means they can be improved. There is a false idea that some people are just born more confident than others but this is not true. There are tools and exercises I use to teach athletes how to actually build trust and confidence in themselves.  I love this idea because that means if you are not as confident as you want to be, you can do something about it. Here is an easy place to start to build confidence and trust in yourself. After practice, instead of focusing on what you didn’t do, ask yourself what you are proud of yourself for. Be intentional and take time to notice what you did well. Then write it down. This will reprogram your brain to focus on the good things which will boost your confidence and affirm that yes, you absolutely have got this! 

#7 What will I do or think differently during my next practice to move forward in my skills?

The mental component of cheer and gymnastics is essential because it controls how well you can access your physical 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. Just like you would make a plan for what to focus on at practice, you need to decide how you will think and feel at practice. For each physical rep that you complete, what mental rep will you be doing? This is exactly what a mental coach like me is for. We help our athletes create with practice plans for strengthening their mind while they strengthen their body so they can truly master their skills and perform them when it counts most. Decide how you will practice being confident and trusting in yourself and write it down. 

#8 How will I stay accountable to thinking in a way that is more helpful? Who in my life understands what I am going through and can encourage me?

Who do you have in your life that can hold you accountable to letting go of the unhelpful things and being more positive? Who can encourage and support you and understands exactly what you need to do your best. Who will you be honest with about how you are without feeling judged or letting them see that you are not perfect. Who is going to remind you that it is ok to not be perfect and that you can make mistakes? Choose this person or group of people today. When we do not feel good about where we are we assume others feel the same way. You must have people in your life who can remind you of the truth that you are amazing and deserve to be confident in yourself today. If not, you will probably let the wrong people and comments stand in your way. Don’t let that happen. Choose your support circle and encourage each other daily!

Getting unstuck and living in the “IVE GOT THIS” Trust zone is totally possible. Mental blocks and challenges are real but there is a solution to overcoming them in a way they allows you to keep your confidence in tact. 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 leave their confidence and trust to chance and burn out or allow their fear to steal their joy. That does not have to be your story. I have created a free workbook to help you work through these questions as well as a full training on this topic so you can take control of your trust today. Visit www.mgpcoach.com/ivegotthis to grab your freebie. 

If you are struggling with your confidence, unable to trust yourself, or just ready to reach your full potential, I would love the opportunity to support you. 

As a Mental Performance Coach, I help athletes turn anxiety and fears into confidence and joy. I teach them mental game skills and tools so they know exactly how to improve their confidence, trust, and focus every practice. Through 1-on-1 private coaching, learning content, and application guides, 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 so they can achieve their goals.

If you want to learn more and see if Mental Coaching is right for you, I invite you to schedule a 30-minute no-cost Performance Check Session. 

Click Here to sign up. Spots are offered on a limited basis so reserve yours today!

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