A mental block happens in an athlete’s head that creates an obstacle that prevents them from performing a skill. This block can cause a lot of anxiety, fear, and stress. This fear could stem from an injury, fear of injury, or develop over time from using poor technique or not feeling safe doing a skill. When trying to assess a mental block as an athlete or as a coach, the first thing you should do is try to figure out where the mental block started. When you figure out the cause, you can figure out the solution. Everyone requires different things to get over a mental block. For some, it’s a simple fix, while for others, it could be a persistent problem that requires a lot of work to overcome.
Because everyone is different, there is no right way to guide someone out of a mental block. Throughout the whole process, you must be encouraging and be patient. As a coach, it can be hard and frustrating to watch someone go through a mental battle with a skill. But, it’s even more challenging for the athlete to go through the mental struggle themselves.
5 Technique To Over Come Mental Blocks
1: The first is to take a break from the skill.
Removing yourself from the skill and getting some space can help to clear your mind. If you take the pressure off of doing the skill, it can remove some of the stress and fear associated with the skill. Coming back to the skill with a fresh mindset can help so much in getting over the block.
2: Think about what causes the fear of the skill.
Why are you afraid of it? Some common reasons for fear of a skill may be self-doubt, lack of technique, an injury, etc. If one of these reasons is the cause, there are things that you can do to try to get over the block.
3: If you or your athlete are experiencing self-doubt, take a step back, and go through the progressions leading up to the skill.
Once all of the progressions are completed and feel comfortable with each progression, think about how they all combine to make the whole skill. If you have mastered all of the skill parts, you know you can combine them to perform the skill as a whole. Don’t be afraid to ask for some encouragement from your coaches and teammates. If you are a coach, guide your athlete through these progressions and be encouraging. Help them develop the confidence they need to do the skill.
4: If a lack of technique or injury is the block’s cause, then drills can help get over the fear of the skill.
If an athlete doubts their technique, they don’t feel like they can do the skill correctly. Drills are made to make the technique better. They focus on each little part of the skill. Drills build muscle memory and strength for the skill. Training drills with your athlete and explaining how they factor in doing the skill can help the athlete get over the block.
5: Mental visualization is another tool that helps with mental blocks.
When you visualize, you are conditioning your mind to think of the perfect scenario. Visualizing the skills you are afraid of can help remove the block because you are doing it perfectly in your head. This will build mental confidence. If you can convince your mind that you can do it, your body will easily follow. Make sure when you are visualizing that you are picturing the perfect skill with 100% confidence. As soon as any doubt creeps into the visualization, stop, and begin again.A
A mental block is the equivalent of your body going into fight or flight. You are scared of the skill, so you can either run away from it or fight it head on. It might take hours and days of frustration to get yourself or your athlete through this block. However, with persistence, you will succeed. Just think, are you going to let this skill hold you back? You are bigger than the skill that you are afraid of. Fear does not control you or your success in the sport.