I recently worked with a high school athlete who was plagued by those nasty inner gremlins. You know the type – that little guy or gal inside your head who would not shut up and kept asking irrelevant questions. This kept my student from developing confidence and playing to his ability.

Joe (not his real name) was a very hard-working golfer. He spent hours at the practice tee and green-honing his skills. He took a ton of lessons to improve his swing and putting stroke. He was very committed to the game. He did all of this so he could play well in tournaments.

However, in competition, he did not excel. Why did Joe struggle in competition if he worked so hard in practice and was so dedicated to his sport? Joe could not shake his inner gremlins - voices inside him that told him repeatedly that he would choke under pressure and kept reminding him of his past failures.

As a result, Joe called himself awful “names” such as “You’re a choker - you choke every time under pressure” and “You're a poor closer - you can't get the job done under the heat.” All of this because he had blown a big lead in one tournament, which he could never forget and let go.

What are inner gremlins? I am not talking about little green men here. I'm talking about the voices of inner doubts, negative beliefs, and negative labels that plague athletes, and leave them to wallow in a comfort zone or to crumble under the pressure.

What would happen if you could banish your inner gremlins of the past before the biggest game or performance of your career? Would this help you perform with a better focus and confidence?

One thing for certain – an athlete cannot perform up to his or her potential unless he or she can uncover and eradicate the gremlins who whisper negative statements at just the wrong time. The first place to start with is to help athletes identify unhealthy beliefs, doubts, and strict outcome expectations that undermine performance.

If we don’t address the inner gremlins, the other work we do to improve focus, confidence, and composure will amount to underachievement. The gremlins will override massive amounts of positive thinking.

Do you want to identify and let go of your past gremlins so you can perform your best under pressure? I have a great teleseminar on this topic called, “I Can Cope! Performing Your Very Best Under Pressure” in my online mental training programs along with more than 24 others waiting for you to tune into. Go check out the topics if you are ready to tame the internal gremlins: http://www.peaksportsnetwork.com/

Author's Bio: 

Want to learn simple, proven mental toughness skills that you can apply to competition? Grab my free online mental training newsletter, Sports Insights Magazine - for athletes, coaches, and sports parents:
Dr. Patrick Cohn is a master mental game coach who work with professional and amateur athletes, sports parents, and teams of all levels. Visit http://www.peaksports.com for more information.