Raising Elite Competitors

"How Do I Get My Athlete To Stop Being So Hard On Herself?"

November 07, 2023 Coach Bre Season 2 Episode 166
Raising Elite Competitors
"How Do I Get My Athlete To Stop Being So Hard On Herself?"
Show Notes Transcript

We’ve all been there – watching our young athletes give it their all on the field, only to see them being incredibly hard on themselves afterward. So, here’s the million-dollar question: How can we help them shift gears from self-criticism to a more productive, positive mindset?

In this podcast episode, we’ve got practical strategies to help your athlete shift from self-criticism to a more productive mindset. Get ready to transform your athlete’s mental game!

We talk about:

  • Understanding the Challenge
  • Unrealistic Standards and Perfectionism
  • The Role of Automatic Negative Thoughts
  • Associating Achievements with Self-Worth
  • Practical Strategies to Help Your Athlete

Listen to the full podcast to gain further insights and practical tips on supporting your athlete in overcoming self-criticism!

Episode Highlights: 

[00:00] Helping young athletes overcome self-criticism.

[01:57] Helping athletes overcome self-criticism after performances.

[05:27] Negative thoughts and self-worth in athletes. Athletes often struggle with negative self-talk and self-worth issues due to their association of achievements with their self-worth.

[08:44] Supporting athletes’ mental health. Parents can support athletes by shifting recognition towards their effort, preparation, and response to adversity, rather than solely focusing on outcomes.

[13:23] Helping young athletes overcome self-criticism and develop mental toughness. The importance of mental training for athletes, particularly in handling loss and failure.

Next Steps:

Thank you in advance for joining us on our mission and leaving a rating and review on Apple Podcasts.

Welcome back to the racing elite competitors podcast. I'm coach Bree, a mental performance coach for a girl athletes. And I'm so happy that you're here, whether you have a lot of experience as a sports mom, or you're just getting going on the sports journey with your athlete, you are here because you want to raise a confident, mentally strong girl athlete and you are in the right place. Today's episode is a good one. I actually pulled a question that I got from our community recently all around how to help your athletes stop being so hard on herself. So I recently posted a poll on our Instagram. I'm at elite competitor coach, if you don't already follow me there and this. This is one of the questions that somebody submitted. And I thought it was a great one because it is common. It is so common that girl athletes, especially are just really hard on themselves. They are seeing the things that they did wrong. They're kind of ruminating on these mistakes. So how can we help them shift to more productive processing? How can we help them not be so unnecessarily hard on themselves. Now, before we get into the episode, I do want to give a shout out to an athlete. In our communities. So this athlete is going through the elite mental game, which is our signature mental training program for girl athletes. And also for the parents that support them. And Lindy sent me this text the other day. She said, I just want to let you know that I had a cross country meet yesterday. And I finished first and ran my second best 5k time. I definitely think this program helped me a lot and I only started it on Thursday. I noticed I was able to stop my negative thoughts before they went any further. And this is awesome. Lindy I'm so proud of you. And here's the thing. She is talking, Lindy's talking to about how her negative thoughts came up because negative thoughts are going to happen for your athlete. They happen for us. They are a very normal human experience. However, Lindy had the skill now to be able to recognize that a negative unproductive thought was happening. She was able to shift it to something more productive and then not allow that negative thought to control her. And as a result, she was able to run her second best 5k time. So Lindy congratulations. Good job doing the work. Keep going. Alright, one more thing before we get into this, if you find this podcast valuable in any way, I would so appreciate it. If you shared it with somebody else who you think would get value from it. So, other sports parent. And a friend just text them the link to an episode that has helped you out. That actually helps us out a lot so that we can get more ears on this podcast. More people that we are helping or people we're impacting. And also we can bring on even more guests that will help support you in this journey. As you raise your girl athletes. So. That would be a big help for us. If you share the podcast. Also, if you have a moment to rate and review the podcast, we would love that as well. All right, let's get into this. How can you help your athlete stop being so hard on herself? So, what are we seeing here? Okay. Typically when I hear moms talk about this or athletes talk about this themselves, they recognize it is that they're only seeing the negative, even when good things happen. So, you know, they play match competition, training, whatever it is, they come to you afterwards and be like, oh, that was terrible. And you're like, did we just watch. The same much. I didn't see all the terribleness that you're talking about. And she's like, oh, did you see though that I shouldn't do that pass? Or I missed that. And you're like, but you also pass a lot that were good. You also made some of your serves in, you know, like, so you are trying to pull your athlete basically back towards his positive. She's trying to go negative. It's like this tug of war. That's happening. She maybe will ruminate on thoughts and plays, meaning she can't just like get them out of her head. So she will just continue to like, just be stuck on certain things that you're like, oh my gosh, just let it go. You know, move on. She also might let these practice training sessions, these competitions impact her move for hours or even days. So yes, we expect athletes to be disappointed, frustrated all the things when they don't perform how they want to perform. However, if this is really impacting how she shows up how her confidence is for multiple, multiple hours or days on end. Then this could be a sign that she's got something kind of going on underneath. That's not anything that's not uncommon, but typically this means that she has not learned the skill of being able to train her mind to productively process or notice when she is in this spiral and how to get out of it. All right. Another thing is that she, she potentially has unrealistic standards or expectations. So we often see athletes who struggled with perfectionism. Really struggle with being really hard on themselves. So they have these unrealistic standards. Like I have to be perfect or I can't make any mistakes. You know, just these things that set them up for failure, really because their sport is likely a game of mistakes and that's how we improve this. How do we get better? But she doesn't really want to hear that. And because she has this unrealistic standard, then everything will be a failure, right? There is no way that she can actually maintain this unrealistic standard that she has set for herself. And we are not going to go super deep into perfectionism. In this episode, we have some other episodes that we really talk a lot about what's going on with perfectionism and how to. To help your athlete with that. In this episode, we're going to talk more about, when she is exhibiting those symptoms of like, just beating herself up after a performance or after a competition. So when this happens, I want to talk a little bit about what's going on in your athlete's brain when this goes on. So athletes often feel that they have to be hard on themselves in order to show that they care. They have to like, oh, I just have to show that this matters to me. And if I just go about my day as if it didn't, then I'm not showing that I actually care about this. This also is a normal part of your athlete's brain, automatic negative thoughts, A. N. T. Okay. These are thing. Automatic negative thoughts happen? We also have a negativity bias as a human experience. So your athlete will have negative thoughts pop up. That's we're actually not trying to get her to get rid of negative thoughts. We're trying to help her change her relationship with those negative thoughts. So when a negative thought pumps into her head, then she has the scale to notice that it's not productive. How's it feel to pause, get back to the present moment and shift it to something more productive. And that's a skill that can be learned. And one quick note on that, that's exactly what we teach inside our free training for sports moms. So if you haven't already checked that out. That's@trainhergame.com and we go through how to help your athletes specifically shift those negative thoughts. We go more into a deep dive there. On that we also talked about the negativity bias. So, as we make sense of experiences, your athlete, and also us. We tend to focus on the negative things that happen. So this is actually something that's very normal that your athlete is doing. So, I want us to recognize if we're getting angry at our athletes, if we're like, I'm there to, I'm totally with you. It's frustrating because you're like, can we get out of this negativity? This is not helping. However know that this is normal. Every person has automatic negative thoughts. Every person has a negativity bias. And here's the other big thing. I already kind of hit on this, but typically why this happens is because athletes do not have the skill to process. How do not be hard on themselves. They see it as like, this is just happening to me. Instead of, I actually have skills to get myself out of this and be on a more productive path. And so athletes don't have skills to navigate that all of these things will happen to them. It is a guarantee that your athlete will have negative thoughts. Your athlete will have times where they're going to be hard on themselves because they've. feel like they have to, this is a very normal part of being an athlete. But the difference between athletes who do that and the athletes who don't go down that path and down the spiral and beat themselves up for days at a time. Are those athletes actually have skills to shift those thoughts. They have skills to stop and pause and be present and know like, Hey, this isn't helping me. And they have strategies and skills to navigate that. All right. Here's another big thing. And this does hit on a little bit on perfectionism, but another reason why this happens is athletes often associate their achievements and their outcomes with their self-worth. And so they feel that what they do is who they are as a result when they are out there. Doing something that is potentially not up to their unrealistic standard or does he doesn't have a great outcome. Now they are taking the on, they're wearing that as this is who I am. And therefore since I missed all those shots, then I am not a good person. I know that sounds extreme, but that's what they do. They associate all of the outcomes, the times the scores to they are as a person. And they wear that. And, you know, so that's why they're going through their day. And they're like, oh, just so like, Down and out, because if I didn't do good, that means I am not good. You know, I'm not seen as valuable and whoever's eyes that they're trying to, find value, their coach, you, teammates, just who they are as a person they're always kind of looking outward. And so we really want to, that's why it's so important that we de-link our athletes. Who they are away from what they do right there. Sport is what they do. And it's a part of who they are. It's what they're passionate about. And some way, it's not all of who they are. And when we only praise the outcomes, when we only recognize the outcomes, we only recognize the achievements. We were actually unintentionally reinforcing that for our athletes. We are reinforcing the idea that you are achievements when you do things good. I'm going to recognize that outcome and you're going to get a lot of praise and skin. If you're a really good. And therefore they want more of that. They want to please, whoever is giving them that recognition more and more and more. And that's where the pressure. Layers on, and here's why outcomes and achievements are actually not a hundred percent in your athlete's control. There's so many other factors like the other team, the rough, the coach. There's a lot that goes in to an outcome. And so if athletes are associating their outcome with their worth, then they're automatically tying their self-worth to something that they can not control. And something that changes from day to day from training training, from competition to competition. And so it's really important that we are able to de-link who they are from what they do. And as parents, we can really support that. We can support who they are as people we can recognize their qualities that go beyond their sport. We can also really shift where we're putting our praise or recognition or attention from outcome. And I'm not saying we ignore the outcome, but we shift a little bit away from that towards what is in their control, their attitude, their effort, their preparation, how they respond to adversity, all of those things that athletes were like, Hey, I actually can control that. And if I focus on that, the outcome is. Actually going to be better when they're focusing on things that are in their control. And so that is actually as we shift into how you can help. That's the first thing that you can do is really pay attention to where you are placing a lot of your recognition and your praise. Because we can unintentionally cause our athletes to be super hard on themselves because they're trying to meet the standard that again, unintentionally might be reinforced through our praise and our recognition. The other thing. You know, a lot of us get this wrong and I'm saying a lot of us meaning like a lot of those parents that are raising athletes. But we get this rabbi trying to fix her and trying to get her to think something different, trying to get her to be positive right away. And I get this, like I said earlier, it's so hard to see them like in that slump. And it's so hard to see them like, Struggling. And you're like, there's no reason for you to be hurting yourself. Look at all the good things. Like we see it from this other perspective. They're in it, and this is challenging for them. And so the best thing we can do is actually be the space for them to experience whatever they're experiencing. Now, we don't have to agree with them, validating their emotions and their experience and saying like, Hey, that sounds really hard. Like tell me more about that. That's not actually saying, yeah, you are the worst one on the team. You really did screw up that whole game and yada, yada, yada, all the things that she's saying to herself. No, we're not agreeing with that. We're saying things like. You know, That's not true, but it would be really hard to feel like that. I get that, you know, tell me more, what happened out there that made you that's making you feel like that? What do you think it is? And just allow that space like, Hey, do you want me to listen to you? You want me to help you come up with solutions? And that goes a long way to help her process. Sometimes we think by doing that, it's going to make it worse. Like she's just going to go deeper and deeper into the negativity. When reality it's actually the opposite. And so listen, validate. So that she can have that space just to process emotions. And so she's not getting the subconscious message that these emotions are bad. That my mom can't handle me when I'm not being positive. Like I just have to be positive, and happy all the time, because if you're expecting that, and again, unintentionally, we do that because virtuous trying to get her to change her mood right there. And I do understand that too. Like when our athletes struggled, the whole family struggles, right. When our athletes are. They don't have skills to come back from mistakes and they don't have skills to process their performance. The whole family really suffers from that, right? Like the car ride home kind of sucks. And the community go out to dinner because she's in like a terrible mood and you're like, Hey, come on. This is supposed to be fun. You know, and so I totally get that, but the more that we can actually build our own emotional capacity to handle that for our athletes. The more, we're actually giving her the message that like, Hey, I'm in this with you and you're going to get through this, this emotion. Isn't something that you have to be scared of. Like I'm right here. You know, you can feel that way. And I get why you're feeling that way. Let's get through it together. And that actually signals to her like, that her emotion is okay, and this is a good thing because when our athletes are not facing their emotions or pushing them down, and they're just like putting on a happy face, that's when they really start to struggle, mentally as an athlete and as a person. When we just tell them like, Hey, you gotta just to be positive. You gotta just be happy all the time. When in reality they're going through stuff. And while it might seem very lucky went to you, like this is not a big deal. It is a big deal in her world. And so we need to treat it like that. The other thing that I have talked about this as, like, I just don't naturally actually know how to stop this spiral. It's not something that day learn. From their coach, their coaches not teaching it. So don't expect her coach to teach it. Coaches are not trained typically. And this side of the game, although they do expect your athlete to be mentally tough. So that's the catch is she needs to be mentally tough. She needs to know how to handle loss and failure and not a good game. And all of those things, your coach is expecting it, but her coach is not trained how to teach it. So, it's our job. It's your job to make sure that she has the opportunity to develop this skill. Right. And expecting her to just like snap out of it or be confident or be mentally tough when we haven't given her the skills to do that is like, Telling my kids like, Hey, I'm gonna throw me in the deep end right now. And you don't know how to swim yet, but you'll figure it out. Just come on, swim. Get your head above water. That's actually not teaching her that skill. And so being able to productively process. Her performance and recognize those negative thoughts and shift herself talk like I mentioned Lindy at the beginning that athlete who ran her second best 5k, you know, not getting carried away with those negative thoughts. That is a skill. And that is a skill that can be developed and has been developed by thousands of athletes actually inside our program. But it is a mental training skill that athletes can learn and do learn and practice. And again, if you want to get a taster on how to get started with all that, that's exactly what we teach inside our training for sports moms. So it's@trainhergame.com. That's that free training. Check it out. We go deep into that. And here's the one thing. I'll leave you with. Mental training. Isn't just for athletes who are struggling. Right. And so you're listening to this episode because potentially your athlete is hard on herself and you're like, yeah. I gotta figure out how to help her. Not be so hard on herself. However athletes will at some point in their career face, all the things that athletes face, failure, disappointment, mistakes comparison coaches that they don't jive with teammates. That are not the greatest that's a guarantee. And is your athlete prepared to handle those things? And if she is not developing her mental side of the game, likely that answer is no, because these are skills that are not just things that she's born with. And giving your athlete mental training skills actually gives her a competitive advantage. It gives her a competitive advantage over athletes who are not doing those things. And when she is in those situations, you are going to start to see other athletes kind of fall apart. And, you know, the sense that they're letting those mistakes really ruin. Their opportunities and they're getting in their own way and they can't get out of their head. Whereas your athlete, she is prepared for those moments. She knows what to do. Right. She has those skills. And so that's why Mental training is obviously very useful for athletes who are in the thick of it. And like really are recognizing that they're struggling in their sport. However what's great is that these skills can be front-loaded and preloaded so that your athlete is prepared for what's coming. All right, moms. I hope that this was helpful in helping your athletes. Stop being so hard on herself. Remember that this is normal. Your athlete has automatic and you get a thoughts and being able to pause, shift those thoughts to something productive is something that athletes can develop as a skill on your side of things. Make sure that you are validating her experience. You are giving her space, her emotions get airtime. No matter how extreme they are, right? You are that safe space for her to productively processed. Make sure you're shifting where you are putting your praise and your emphasis away from those outcomes and achievements and more into who she is as a person and what is in her control. And again, continue to provide her with those skills to build her own mental game and her own mental toughness as well. All right, moms. I am coach Bri mental performance coach for girl athletes. And I will see you in the next episode of the raising elite competitors podcast.