4 Thinking Errors That Steal Your Excitement for Tryouts (A letter to Cheerleaders and Gymnasts)

It’s that time of year again… tryouts are right around the corner and the pressure is on! Maybe they are in the next few weeks OR you still have a few months before the big date, but you can feel your chest getting tighter and tighter as the day approaches. This can be especially true for athletes dealing with a mental block or who are so close to throwing a new skill by themselves. Self-doubt sets in and you may be wondering “Am I going to be ready?” “Will I get my skills in time?” “Is it even worth me trying out?” … If this is you, I promise you are not alone. I hear it all the time from my athletes and parents. Just like I do for them, I am here to support you and cheer you on too!

The truth… There are some common ways of thinking that tend to cause so much unnecessary pressure for athletes about tryouts. The way you think can make or break your performance no matter how talented you may be.  As a mental performance coach, I help athletes understand how their mindset affects their performance. How would you like to walk into your next tryout head held high with confidence, excited to show off all of your awesomeness?! If you said YES, then keep reading as I share the 4 most common thinking errors about tryouts that crush your confidence and steal your excitement. 

4 Thinking Errors That are Stealing Your Excitement for Tryouts

#1 “There is only X number of spots and the competition is too fierce!”

Sound familiar? You received your tryout packet or heard through the grapevine that they only have 18 spots to fill this year. Dramatic music starts playing in your head as you begin ranking yourself against everyone you know who is trying out. Even if you KNOW how amazing you are, you can’t help but wonder if someone is going to show up out of nowhere to steal your spot. What you are doing is allowing the talent of the other athletes to dictate your confidence. The challenge with this is that you have no control over who shows up or what skills they have so you feel nervous. This thinking error creates reactive confidence and self-doubt.

#2 “I have to have my skill by tryouts, or I will not make the team!”

Oooo, this is a BIG ONE! But how is this a thinking error when it is true? … Really take a second to think about that. Is it ACTUALLY true that you HAVE TO have your skill to make the team? The decision of who makes the team and who does not lies with the coach/judges. Just like you, they cannot control who shows up or what skills they have. It is THEIR JOB to make decisions based on what they think is best for their team. This is not your responsibility so do not take it on.

Another thing to consider is that this thought is NOT HELPFUL. If you are feeling pressure to do your skill already and add to that a deadline and negative consequences if you do not get it, then you are only adding to the stress. If you have a mental block this is adding fuel to the fire. The key is to shift your focus to things you can control that ACTUALLY help you do your skills.

#3 “I am not a strong tumbler so I should not try out!”

It is so interesting how a weakness in one area can overshadow every other skill you have and make you feel like you are not good enough. If you are struggling to master a skill or you have been stuck with a block it can feel as though you are not doing a good job as an athlete. So, a mental block on your back hand-spring turns into “I am not a good tumbler”, which then turns into “I am not a good cheerleader” and possibly could even affect you outside of your sport and make you doubt your confidence in yourself.

The sports of cheerleading and gymnastics are made up of many different skills. It is ok to be struggling in one area and STILL BE A GREAT ATHLETE. Let me say that again for the people in the back… You can be AN AMAZING GYMNAST and/or CHEERLEADER even if you are struggling with one of your skills. Focus on all of the areas of the sport you excel in as well as all of the amazing things you are and do outside of your sport.

#4 “The pressure is too much so I don’t think I should try out!”

(*hand slowly goes up*) You know what I am talking about… But “Last season was so stressful!” … “I am worn out and just need a break!”… “I want to have time to hang with my friends and do fun things!” YES! I TOTALLY hear you on these things but let me ask you a question… Is it possible that you are making excuses so that you do not have to keep falling short of your strict standards? *pause for reflection*

Do you expect to be perfect and have all your skills a very particular way and are tired of leaving practice feeling like you are not good enough? Ouch! I am not judging here at all because I was right there with you basically every season as a competitive cheerleader. What if you were able to release some of the pressure you put on yourself? Would you be excited to tryout then? You can! Understanding how to manage stress and expectations is a valuable life skill and this is your opportunity to master it.

Which thinking error sounds familiar? Again, you are not alone if you have had these thoughts because they are so common. The secret is that you can take control of your thoughts and make them work for you instead of against you. This means that every time you have a fear or negative thought similar to the above you can choose to let it go and replace it with something that is more helpful. You can trade your fears and anxiety for excitement and confidence. 

If you are dealing with a mental block or just fears and anxiety related to tryouts or the upcoming competition season, I would love the opportunity to support you. Now is the time to start working on your mental game so you can be ready to tryout with confidence!

As a Mental Performance Coach, I help athletes turn anxiety and fears into confidence and joy. Through 1-on-1 private coaching, learning content, and application guides I teach athletes how to master their mindset so they can achieve their biggest 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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