By using negative words like HAVE TO and CAN’T we vocalize our fear of failure. Teaching athletes to keep a positive and growth mindset is important because being an athlete means you will fail multiple times a day, and that’s okay! However, you must learn to fail, and not be afraid of that failure. Here are two words that athletes should avoid using to stay in the right mindset.

HAVE TO– Instead of saying have to, say you WANT TO. When we say, we HAVE TO do something we create a belief that someone is forcing us to do something. For example, when a coach gives an athlete a specific workout, and the athlete asks “do I HAVE TO?” This athlete is creating doubt, and does not have the desire to accomplish the workout or their goals. To have a productive training session change your word choice to WANT TO, and the overall atmosphere and morale of you and your teammates will increase. Have a drive and a WANT to work towards your goals, and not do something because someone is making you do it.

CAN’T-Instead of saying can’t, say not yet! This is the most used, and most hurtful, word to our goals and mindset. When we say, I CAN’T, we are telling our brain that our body will not be able to perform the action. We have put up a mental road block on our path towards success. By changing the outlook, and saying NOT YET to something, we are keeping our path clear to continue towards our goals. Coaches may even respond to you when you say can’t with “not with an attitude like that!” If something seems hard try it anyways because you never know what you are capable of until you try.

Are you having a hard time finishing your training sessions strong? Do you/or your athlete feel defeated before even attempting your session? Watch what you say, and try changing a few words in your training vocabulary. Teaching athletes to keep a positive and growth mindset is important for their mental health, and goals.

Failing is part of life and all sports. When we learn to fail, and learn to overcome that failure we learn to have resilience. When we get knocked down we learn to get back up!