The Art of Self-Critique

Kelsey Griffith, MS



As athletes, we are designed to be self-critical - it’s how we improve. We’ve heard time and time again that it’s okay to fail and that nobody’s perfect. And yet, for those so strongly invested and connected to their product (THINK: result, outcome), self-critique and exploring our faults can compromise confidence. Rather than seizing the “not-so-great” moments as opportunities to learn, we internalize these failures to mean: I’m not good enough.


So, how do we navigate this need to critique and be kind to ourselves? Learn to ask more effective questions!


One way to do this is to engage in an activity called: GOOD, BETTER, HOW?


This exercise is designed to examine what’s going well AND what needs work. More than that, however, the HOW of this exercise forces athlete into that next step… the game plan. How, exactly, do you plan on making improvements?


GOOD, BETTER, HOW? encourages athletes to be active participants in their training; to take small, actionable steps that will lead them to their ultimate goals. It acknowledges that they will see good, bad, ugly, AND awesome training days, and it’s their job to control the controllables and keep on keepin’ on!


Right now, it’s important that athletes engage in self-compassion alongside their self-critique. COVID-19 has brought about a prolonged state of “far from normal,” resulting in all-time high levels of stress. When we’re stressed, our minds are cloudy and it’s much harder to think rationally. When assessing performance – be it in a practice or competition setting – take a beat.


Breathe.

Breathe.

And breathe again.


And then challenge yourself to objectively look at your performance, assess what’s working and what’s not, and ask the question… WHAT’S NEXT?


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