Hey there, parents, soccer enthusiasts and future world champions! Have you ever heard a little voice saying, "You can't do this," right when you're about to take a penalty kick? That's your inner critic, my friends, and today we're going to show that naysayer the red card.

Here's a jaw-dropping fact: did you know that 80% of our inner dialogue tends to be negative? Yikes! Imagine if you had a teammate that talked down to you 80% of the time. You'd probably want to trade them, right? Well, you can't trade your inner critic, but you can coach it into becoming a better team player.

Identifying Limiting Beliefs

Limiting beliefs are like sneaky defenders, always there to trip you up when you least expect it. These beliefs often sound like:

  • "I'm not good enough."
  • "I'll never be as good as [insert player's name here]."
  • "I'm not cut out for this."

Sound familiar? The first step is to recognize these thoughts as limiting beliefs and not actual facts.

Naming Your Inner Critic

Naming your inner critic can be a fun and empowering way to disarm it. So, go ahead, call it something goofy like "Grumpy Gus" or "Debbie Downer." When you name it, you create a separation that allows you to say, "Hey, that's not me talking; that's just Grumpy Gus at it again!"

I've named mine Ivan. And since I named him, I have felt that I have tamed him.

The Power of Positive Self-Talk

Start coaching your inner critic to be a more supportive teammate by countering its negative chatter with positive affirmations:

  • Instead of "I'm not good enough," try "I am constantly improving."
  • Swap "I'll never be as good as Vanessa" with "I have my unique strengths that make me valuable."

Exercises to Kick Limiting Beliefs to the Curb

  1. Affirmation Cards: Create a set of positive affirmation cards and read one before each game or practice.
  2. The Critic Jar: Every time your inner critic speaks up, write down what it says on a piece of paper and put it in a jar. At the end of the week, review them and write counter-arguments.
  3. Role-playing: Practice scenarios where you encounter failure and work on reframing your thoughts positively.

To round it out - Limiting beliefs and your inner critic can be as challenging to manage as any rival team. But remember, in soccer and life, it's not about how many times you fall; it's about how many times you get back up. So the next time Grumpy Gus tries to trip you up, show him that you're the real MVP—Most Valuable Positive-thinker!

Tony  Everett

Tony Everett

Founder & Chief Playmaker

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