You’re doing what you’re told by your coach. Arms here, head there, legs like this, and it STILL isn’t working? They say practice hard. Practice makes perfect. And you’re throwing everything you’ve got at this stupid move but it JUST. ISN’T. HAPPENING.

So you’re fed up.

You’re thinking “why do I BOTHER?”

And you start to put in a bit less than 100% effort – because after all, when you did try really hard it didn’t work anyway so “WHAT’S THE POINT?”

Then they all seem to notice. Parents on your back – “You’re not even TRYING!”. “I’m not getting up at Silly O’Clock in the morning to watch you behave like this and not even try!”. Coaches getting cross and sending you off, or spending all their time focusing on the other athletes who are coincidentally behaving nicely.

Why won’t it work?

You can’t help it.  It’s just so frustrating when you’ve been trying so hard and it isn’t working – especially if it was working before and now it just won’t. You get cross. Tense. Stressed. And those hissy-fit stress chemicals start swirling round your body making you even less likely to succeed at this one thing.

If you’re getting the same result over and over when you do something, then you are doing the same thing. If it’s not working, that means that somewhere, there’s a mistake. Something needs to be fixed, tweaked.

When a car won’t start, it doesn’t matter how many times you turn the key in the ignition, you’re doing the same thing again and again and it just won’t start. Check under the bonnet/hood and see if a spark plug needs replacing, or maybe you’re out of petrol/gas.  Until you change that one thing, you will get the same result.

So what is it that you need to change?

What do you need to do differently to get the right result? Take a moment to break it all down into tiny parts – think stripping the motorbike down in the front room. Identify the culprit and make a change, then put it all back together again and hey presto! You can do it. Remember to only change one thing at a time so that you know you’ve identified the faulty part.

It’s just possible that you are doing all the right things, but thinking something else. Listen in to that inner conversation (the one where the gremlins lurk). What are you saying to yourself that is preventing you from going all out to succeed in this move? Whatever story you are telling yourself is not helpful. And you’re believing it.

If you’re telling yourself you can’t do it – then it’s true – because you’re believing it and it’s not working. So tell yourself a different story.

Make sure you believe that you can do it. Perhaps you’ve done it before (so there’s proof!) or perhaps it’s just a matter of knowing that you have learned something equally difficult before and this is no different.

Frustration won’t help you reach your goal. It leads to behaviour which others may misunderstand and remember long after you pick yourself back up. So when you notice the frustration creeping in, take time to just breathe. Detach yourself from the emotion in the situation and break it all down until you can identify the part that needs changing to get the result you want.


Read more about frustration and how to deal with meltdown here.