By: Dale Trenholm, Sports Results Coach

December 4, 2013 (ISN) – I “can’t” do it; because my friends and coach said I “can’t” since I am too small or not talented enough. Very convincingly I say to myself, I will show you!

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As a coach and athlete over the years, I’ve never included the word “can’t” in my vocabulary. The only time “can’t” has any power is when you believe it within yourself or from someone else. This “can’t” is just a roadblock – a word we can choose to believe or conquer.

Can you think of a moment where “I can’t”, paralyzed you from imagining success and believing in yourself? Maybe this is where you are at right now with your sport. Maybe you are comparing yourself to other successful athletes, or someone’s comment hurt your confidence, or maybe you have had a few or many disappointments that you can’t get out of your head, or maybe you don’t understand what is necessary to reach your true potential, both mentally and physically. Whatever the case, maybe “I can’t” has become part of your vocabulary, affecting how successful you can or want to be? I know this doesn’t have to be the case.

There is a saying: What one man can do, another man can do also! We all have a choice about how we react to every circumstance in our sport and lives. These decisions are what will mold us into who we are as a person and success as an athlete.

We all do, at some point, have these mental roadblocks or “I can’t” kind of attitude, which are just distractions. They distract you from seeing how badly you want to succeed and they shift your focus to the negative part of what you are trying to accomplish. At the same time, “I can’t” is part of the journey of being an athlete. You are not alone; we have all been there.

What choice do you want to make? Success comes to the athlete who can conquer themselves’ with every step along their athletic journey. Success comes to the athlete willing to do what is necessary mentally and physically. When you have followed through to the end of your athletic journey, you won’t have to look back in your life and have to say; what if? You can say: I did my very best, and there was nothing more I could have done.

Here is a little story about the word “can’t” based on a story from my younger years.

I was trying to make the rep fastball team as a pitcher year after year but to no avail. I was told I was too small, didn’t throw hard enough, and so on. This didn’t discourage me, but instead put more fire in me to succeed. It wasn’t until one ball tournament that I impressed the team’s coaching staff that had originally turned me down.

I vividly remember sitting in the camper getting ready for my next game at a tournament when one of the coaches from the rep team came to the door and asked if I wanted to join the team. My performance had impressed him, and, of course, I said a gigantic ‘yes’. That year, our team went on the win the first ever Western Canadian Championship in Campbell River, including ending that tournament with a best pitcher award in Western Canada. This award was the start of many awards, successes, challenges, and disappointments for me with fastball and life.

My success back then as an athlete was because I never accepted the word “can’t” from myself or anyone else. I still live it to this day. I believe nothing is impossible as an athlete if they can imagine it, believe it, and work towards it.

You can do this too: just turn the “can’t” into an image of how you can envision being successful and then go for it. You have nothing to lose, except “what if.” The “how” will take care of itself. Just keep moving forward with courage, consistency, persistence, and magic will begin to happen.

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