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Mental blocks series - Part 2: Overcoming doubts and working through setbacks.

When someone is struggling with a skill or experiencing a setback the temptation is to increase the amount of training they are doing or request some 1:1 coaching to address it. However, it is important to remember that they are not being lazy, unmotivated, or giving up on skills so more training isn’t necessarily the answer.

It is often the case that we want to do the skills. But we have some doubts creeping in. The definition of self-doubt is experiencing feelings of uncertainty about one or more aspects of yourself. We know that in situations like this a low level of self-criticism can boost our motivation and can inspire us to work harder and hone our skills which will increase our confidence. On the flip side, we also know that too much doubt and fear can hold you back from performing well and reaching your full potential.

Here are some areas to explore if you are experiencing doubts:

You aren’t your thoughts - Question how accurate or helpful they are. Negative thinking is a mental habit that consumes us more than it should. You can undo your habits, too. It just takes patience and commitment.

Is your inner critic taking over? - No one holds us to a higher standard than ourselves. You wouldn’t put down a friend for not passing a test or your brother for not winning the cup final he played in, so why do that to yourself?

A dose of self-compassion - Self-doubt means that you’re holding yourself back. Focus on what you are doing that is helping you to grow and improve. You may find it useful to think about the good things that you are doing in training and not just thinking about the skill that you are struggling with.

Time to reflect - Self-reflection is a fantastic tool; it reminds us that we’re capable of what we want to achieve. Have you had doubts on skills in the past or experienced other setbacks? Reflect on those experiences and think about how those experiences can help you now.

Reduce comparisons - Remember that this is a key theme in our #itsmyjourney work. When we are experiencing doubts or setbacks, we can find comparisons creeping in. Instead of comparing yourself to others, focus on yourself and your goals and how you will work through this challenge (with the support of people around you).

You are not alone - It’s okay to ask for help, especially if self-doubt is a persistent obstacle that you’re facing. Talking about our feelings and insecurities with coaches, parents and friends allows us to relieve ourselves of some of the stress we may be experiencing.

Keep an eye out for our next blog for more information: What do we know about mental blocks?

This content has been developed as part of our #itsmyjourney project with Valleys Gymnastics Academy


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