How to Eliminate Self Doubt
Self doubt is every athletes worst nightmare. It’s the little voice that veers its head around the corner and says that you can’t run faster during that race or that you can’t make that goal. What if you could turn that voice off? Turn it into a motivator instead of a cheer leader for failure?
Eventually that nasty little voice becomes louder and louder until it turns into a prophet, what it sneers becomes reality as you find you can’t run faster or make that goal. Eventually you’ll find yourself not even trying to make a goal you easily could have. If you’re experiencing that evil little voice in your head before shooting for a basket, you’re not alone. Self doubt happens to everyone, even professional athletes, at some point in their lives whether its on the field or in day to day life. An athlete can be talented beyond measure but if they cave into the voice and doubt their abilities they will never reach what they are capable of doing, the voice will hold them back. So what allows some athletes to overcome the voice? How do elite athletes fearlessly charge forward to make impossible plays on the field? Or come back after seeing their team devastated during the first quarter?
Mentally strong athletes grapple with their self doubt but its how they handle it that allows them to stand apart from the rest of the crowd and be the extraordinary athletes they are. In short they turn fear into power.
Mental toughness isn’t something elite athletes are born with, it’s something they learn over time.
1. The first step toward eliminating the “I can’t” demons in your head is to address what they are saying.
Identify what your inner self doubt. Is it that your not confident in your skills as a player? In your coaching? Whatever it is, if you never face your inner doubt you’ll never be able to conquer it.
2. Ask yourself whats fueling your doubt?
Pay attention to when your experiencing self doubt is important so you can clearly relate why your experiencing these feelings. Are you going into competition knowing you missed the mark at practice so why even bother if you cant do it? Then change the way you’re looking at the situation, its called practice for a reason. Competition should be your time to shine and when you’ll find yourself often proving yourself wrong if you let go of doubt. When you miss clearing the high jump bar at practice it doesn’t mean you can’t do it. It just means your still growing and learning to do it and it will happen in due time.
3. Rephrase the doubt into a positive
“So what if I miss the goal? At least I tried” is a much better approach to the situation than “I missed the goal, I’m awful. I don’t want to miss again “. By creating a habit of rephrasing negative thoughts into a optimistic, positive thoughts you’ll slowly find that your little voice will become less and less negative over time.
Listen to Sydney McLaughin, America’s youngest Olympic qualifier in over 40 years, talk about overcoming her own self doubt here.