I clearly remember walking up to take a penalty kick in one of my highest pressure soccer games. I was the third kicker (out of five) and my team was counting on me being consistent and level headed. I stepped up to the line, planned which direction I was going to shoot, and struck the ball….straight into the goal keepers arms. I remember thinking, “I always screw up in high pressure situations.”
I didn’t realize it then, but I was playing victim to what so many athletes experience in their careers. Too often, we create excuses that hinder our ability to perform our best and reach our goals. Here are three excuses that athletes constantly tell themselves that are detrimental to their success:
“I’ll never be as good as her”
Self-doubt…that’s what I hear. You are looking at this in the wrong way. Shift your focus from what you lack towards what you can improve upon. It is a huge advantage when you can train or compete against someone better than you. Trust me! You’ll find that you set higher goals, work harder, and improve faster. Also, try re-phrasing your excuse this way, “well, if she can do it, I can too!”
“I always mess up in high-pressure situations”
Believe me, I’ve been there! Cut yourself a break. I’m sure there have been times when you succeeded under high-pressure, but you are selectively remembering the times you failed. Remember, you are seriously hurting yourself when you make generalizations about your performance. Start telling yourself that you rise up to the occasion in high-pressure situations. Say it over and over again until you believe it. Then, start keeping track of the times you are successful. This will be your secret weapon against your competitors some day.
“I don’t believe in setting goals”
Goal setting can be scary and time consuming. But, without having a clear direction on where you want to go, you’ll stop improving and stall-out. All you have to do is break down your goals a little bit. What is it you’re working on? What particular skill are you hoping to master? By when? See…you just set a goal. Every athlete has the ability to set goals, all you have to do focus on the incremental steps towards improvement.