Letting go of the need to control and trust your skills

Performance = Potential – Interference

As I have mentioned countless times here on the site, in my trainings, and everywhere I speak, FEAR is the #1 interference to performing to your potential, especially in competition.

  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of success
  • Fear of disappointing others
  • Fear of emotions

Trust Your SkillsThere is a sub fear of those main fears above we can call:  “Fear of loss of control” and this occurs regularly with athletes.  It gets triggered because of a belief program instilled in the unconscious mind that says:  “If I can control things, then I can prevent the bad thing from happening.”

This is directly opposed to what every good coach teaches that you need to:

Trust your skills.

(Way to go coach/parent if you have preached this!)

In the video below, I did a little thought experiment with this and used a couple other stories to give you the A. Awareness needed to eliminate this kind of interference.

Comment or ask me questions below to help you understand how to apply it to your sport…or life.

Let’s do this,


8 thoughts on “Letting go of the need to control and trust your skills

  1. Cassondra Kovach

    I believe that this is exactly what my daughter struggles with in gymnastics. She lost her back tumbling skills and now will sometimes do them and sometimes not. She is only 8 so she hasn’t been able to communicate what is going on but I can see in her that she wants to be in control and therefore by not doing the skills, the fear of lack of control and injury go away. I would love some techniques on how to get her to let go of this fear. She is an amazing gymnast and has a ton of potential but this interference is definitely holding her back! We have been doing the mental toughness academy but this video is really the root of her problem!

    1. Craig Sigl Post author

      Hi Cassondra, it sounds like she needs some stronger medicine for her skills block. I would recommend some 1-1 work with one of my trainers. (I only work with people for 3 month coaching and very expensive). I will send you an email. Thanks for commenting and let’s get her the help she needs.

  2. rajan d

    I have a swing thought when I swing. I think most people do. Isn’t that a form of trying to ‘control’? How do we even not have a swing thought when swinging? ie is it even possible to completely give up ‘control’?

    1. Craig Sigl Post author

      Excellent question Rajan. There’s a balance to be made and giving up total control may not be useful for everyone and all the time. I have advocated using a swing thought for golf in order to occupy the conscious mind so that it doesn’t interfere with the unconscious swing. If it works, use it!

  3. Murray H.

    Thanks for the very interesting talk. To reinforce your point, I recall that many years ago, I consulted with a psychologist because of serious anxiety problems. During my first session, the psychologist asked me if I felt the need to control as many things as possible… I did… She then explained the link between anxiety and need for control: It is a well known pattern. Anxiety is caused by worrying about the future, and efforts to control are trying to influence the future to avoid bad outcomes.

    Your post will make me change my mental approach before each golf shot. I realize I have never truly tried to “Trust And Let Go”, then see what happens, except when putting. Not coincidentally, putting is my strength. I should apply my state of mind when putting to the rest of my game.

    Beyond golf, I can see benefits to giving up control in other aspects of life.


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