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What is the cause of sports mental blocks? What is the cause of sports mental blocks?
To answer that, lets first answer this: What is a mental block in sports? Definition: It’s where an athlete physically cannot perform a movement... What is the cause of sports mental blocks?

To answer that, lets first answer this: What is a mental block in sports?
Definition: It’s where an athlete physically cannot perform a movement or motion that they have demonstrated talent and ability for in the past.

A number of baseball players came to us for a mental block known as “The throwing yips.”

This is where a catcher, for instance, cannot throw the ball back to the pitcher consistently.

Literally, the catcher’s arm tenses or freezes up and the ball goes in the dirt or over the head of the pitcher, even when there is no competition going on.

Here’s a professional example:

Steve Sax and Chuck Knoblauch were famous major league baseball players who had difficulty throwing the ball to first base.

Knoblauch was eventually moved to the outfield as it got worse.

Sometimes mental blocks build up over time.

Sometimes it happens all at once where the athlete cannot force themselves to complete a previously-acquired skill.

What is the cause of these sports mental blocks?

We’ve worked with many athletes with such blocks and the one commonality I find with all of them regardless of sport is:

High levels of STRESS.


Here’s the deal, we all have two main functions of the mind, what we call:

The Thinking Mind
(conscious mind).


The Power Mind
(subconscious mind).

The Power Mind (PM) has one major job to do for you and that is to keep you alive and healthy.


That’s all. It doesn’t care about your baseball career. It doesn’t care about your happiness.

And it really doesn’t care about anything. It’s just your bio-operating system installed at birth to keep you alive.

It’s just like a computer program.

Your Thinking Mind (TM) on the other hand, is what you use to make decisions with.

It’s jobs are to look, listen, learn, understand, reason, accept/reject and other such thinking functions.

Your TM wants to do well in baseball or softball. Your PM wants to keep you healthy.

As long as those 2 goals mesh well, then you have no problems.

But, as soon as your STRESS glass overflows (to use a metaphor), then your PM may inject a problem into your game in order to get you to quit so that you reduce your stress.

Stress kills.

It’s the cause of 90% of all doctor visits.

Your PM controls your body and if it’s not happy with your stress levels, it’s going to do something to get your attention to fix the problem.

That something is the mental block.

What’s the solution to mental blocks?

The simple answer to this question is you reduce stress, which in sports generally means, reduce pressure.

We have worked with countless athletes who have released the mental block through the R.A.C.E. Formula process that includes:

  • Mastering emotions instead of fearing them
  • Redirecting their focus away from winning and losing
  • Learning the art of telling yourself better stories (reframing)
  • Clearing out all old mental baggage and unresolved issues
  • Building confidence on internal strengths and abilities instead of external feedback

Of course, quitting your sport will eliminate the stress and pressure and that is what your subconscious wants to accomplish (when your stressed).

Here’s a shortcut to run with.

Change everything you’ve ever wanted to achieve from a “HAVE TO”  to a  “WANT TO.”

There is nothing in life that you truly HAVE to do.Lets do this!

Feature image courtesy Mental Toughness Academy

The Mental Toughness Training Team helps athletes overcome issues keeping them from performing at the top of their game

The Mental Toughness Team

The Mental Toughness Trainer for Youth Athletes, has worked with thousands of professional and amateur athletes on the mental side of their game. They have authored and creator 7 mental toughness programs sold in 28 countries and written to over 16,000 athletes in these blogs.

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