3 Things I Stopped Saying As a Performance Coach to Encourage Growth

by Feb 13, 2023Performance Psychology

Have you said or heard specific phrases that set your evolution back? Here are 3 things I stopped saying as a performance coach to boost progress and growth.

As a performance coach, it can be tough to motivate athletes while staying away from ineffective clichés. Even now, I am constantly learning new methods and philosophies every day despite years of self-editing, experience, and practice.


We have all heard certain cringe-worthy phrases that, instead of furthering our evolution, set us back significantly. You may recall the horror of hearing the following words from your coach, or perhaps, you say them all the time!

From my perspective, as a content creator and performance technician, you can ensure you are on the path to success by removing these expressions from your vocabulary. 

Here are the top 3 things I stopped saying and why they might be hindering your growth:

1) “Mental Blocks Aren’t Real.”

The truth is mental blocks are REAL. But only a few people understand why they are experiencing them or how they aren’t the reason for you to underperform. 

In other words, thinking you are going through a mental block can prevent you from reaching your true potential. 

On the contrary, mental blocks represent fear of pushing your limits and are typically accompanied by uncertainty. For instance, have you ever feared tumbling over while cheerleading? This is defined as a tumbling mental block and represents the inability to exercise complete control over your body. 

Mostly, you might be mistaking what you suffer from as a mental block. The good news is there are several ways you can fix these so-called barriers. The first is acknowledging that they exist. Therefore, especially in the cheerleading world, I aim to educate athletes about what mental blocks are and, more importantly, what they are not!


It can be frustrating to be trapped in a mental block. But pretending mental blocks don’t exist wastes time and energy as they won’t disappear. I have heard numerous coaches use this phrase; however, not accepting reality only multiplies worries, doubts, and fears. 

A more effective approach is identifying the beliefs and attitudes that make you feel mentally blocked. Sometimes, they can be a combination of feelings like wanting to achieve perfection or mental anxiety.

Instead of denying a belief in mental blocks or discouraging their acceptance, I prefer to help individuals with facts. You can outperform anything by educating yourself on these patterns and the reality of what YOU are actually going through!

3) “Fear is a choice.”

Ah… fear is by far the most trying of emotions. It is an invisible energy that impacts behaviour and can choke dreams. Everyone has fear hardwired into their chemistry; thus, it will always be there. But, evaluating fear is a little tricky because it is essentially a reaction, not a conscious decision or ignorance. 

Many people are led astray by believing there is a set way to eliminate fear. To outperform fear, you must learn how to use it to your advantage, regulate comfort and become more vulnerable with yourself. You can choose to ignore fear or choose to face it and excel through a different narrative. This is where learning how to face discomfort is key.

Mike Tyson perfectly defines fear as:

Fear is your best friend or your worst enemy. It’s like fire. If you can control it, it can cook for you; it can heat your house. If you can’t control it, it will burn everything around you and destroy you.

"Iron" Mike Tyson

If you need more help understanding your struggles, or want to have a heart-to-heart on how to break the constant use of these discouraging phrases, feel free to get in touch with me! You can also click the button below to purchase my book, Outperforming Fear 2.0, which comes with its very own workbook your athlete can use to help her work through her mental performance!

Coach Lain is a mental performance and tumbling technique coach from Northern California. Specializing in fear management & psychology, as well as deconstructed movement, he helps student-athletes and coaches better understand their fears in an effort to outperform them confidently and consistently. His podcast, The Fear Less University™, features special guests each episode who lend their wisdom and expertise to help discuss, dissect, and examine some of life’s greatest fears. His second and newest podcast, the Coach Lain Inspires™ Inspirecast, seeks to provide listeners with a daily dose of inspiration.

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