In my experience working with junior athletes, one of the main reasons why many will never realize their potential is not due to a lack of ability or desire, but rather the limitations that they place on themselves. To be great requires athletes to break the mold and be willing to make sacrifices. But yet, many players create limitations that prevent them from being the best version of themselves. Let's look at ways to break through these limitations and become more committed to achievement.
I Can't Statements are Killers
One of the most de-motivating statements a player can make is "I can't do it." It simply kills the practice or competitive situation. Most players may be able to do it, but they put limits on what they THINK they can do. Instead of going after the goal they protect themselves from the possibility of failure. How can you beat it? Stop the negative thoughts; be willing to fail if it means learning something; surround yourself with positive people; get extra training when everyone else goes home; put yourself in the best possible position to succeed. Change your "I can'ts" into "I cans".
Know Where You are Headed
Another limitation athletes unknowingly put on themselves is not having clearly defined and stated goals. You have to know where the top of the mountain is so you can game plan the correct route. I have yet to meet a successful athlete who did not consistently set goals. Keep it simple, but write them down. Start out with the end result and work backwards; know the destination and then work on creating the directions to get there.
Find Ways to Separate Yourself from the Pack
I have a saying that players need to "break through their fences", which means they have to find ways to grow beyond their current abilities. Players can break through their fences by finding ways to separate themselves from their personal best, as well as everyone else. Commit to doing more of something each day, such as getting an extra hour of sleep, making better choices at restaurants, or making injury prevention a regular part of the day. These little things increase confidence and make the player feel as though he/she is doing something no one else is willing to do.
Limits exist only if you allow them to exist. Take control of your journey by eliminating the "I can'ts", stating goals, and finding ways to do extra work each day.