By ALP Coach Alison Powers
"I'm 100% sure I can't do this" I told the yoga instructor after she showed us the next pose we were suppose to get into and hold. With tight shoulders and a delicate elbow, I was sure that my body would not get into or like the pose. The nice instructor came over and, in less than a minute, I was in the pose doing something I was convinced my body couldn't do and it actually felt good.
I'm 100% sure I can't do this. All it took was one silly yoga pose and I lost all self confidence in myself and my body. Without the nice yoga instructors help, I would have never tried that pose, would have never learned that I actually can do the pose, that it felt good, and could help me with my tight shoulders. My mind and mental state would have held me and my progress back without even giving myself a chance to try, learn, and get better (or more flexible).
As a coach, I see athletes set their own mental limiters before training and competition even begin. They have set themselves up for failure before giving themselves a chance to succeed. This time, it was me, setting myself up for failure- in front of our athletes.
The mind and one's mental state are powerful tools. If you don't think you can do something, then guess what, you can't. Our body is capable of doing so much more than our mind thinks it can. When it comes to making progress either as an athlete or a person in general, the mind is the limiter.
When it comes to your own training, racing, confidence, bike handling skills, or challenging route with lots of climbing and descending, how is your mental state? If you truly believe that something is too hard, or you are not good enough, or won't be able to complete it, and you don't give your body and chance to really try it and give it a go, then guess what? You just made your own self-fulfilling prophecy and you won't be good enough. You won't get good enough. You won't become more confident. And, you won't achieve the results and goals you have set out for yourself.
When it comes to challenging things, if you really do want to get better and grow as an athlete and/or person, then you must be open minded and willing to really try, give 100%, try your best. Allow yourself to have success. Sure, there is a chance that you won't be able to do that thing, but there is a very good chance that you learn something along the way that makes you better.