I have done a number of group workshops recently to different groups of younger athletes from football and cycling around belief.  It has been interesting to see how the athletes have been receptive to idea of the importance of self belief in sport. At the start of the session it was obvious that the majority of the athletes had never considered what belief really was and had never contemplated what their beliefs were and how they influenced all their decisions. They were still in school mode. What I mean by school mode is that they wanted the answers to be given to them and were initial unwilling to explore and find the answer for themselves.  At school they spend all day learning about other people as opposed to learning about the most important person, themselves.  This is a difficult skill and it was clear that for the vast majority of them they had never done anything like this; look at themselves and actually considered what influences their behaviour.  They were keen to investigate their beliefs but were unsure of how to go about it.  This is a skill that young athletes need to practice and reinforce, the ability to investigate what influences their actions.  They were very interested in the fact that beliefs are formed in 2 ways.  Either slowly over time (being repeatedly told you are not good enough) or from a one off moment (like a phobia so for example being stuck in a lift).  The athletes struggled but were keen to understand the idea of 'reference points' that are used to support the beliefs that they have.  These reference points are very similar to the legs of your dining room table. They will keep the table stable.  The stronger reference points or the more of them there are the more stable the belief.  As a result the athletes have to question the reference points that hold stable their beliefs. If the belief is negative and holding them back then they need to identify new reference points which would make the existing belief unstable as the old reference points as no longer strong enough. As a result a new postive belief is formed (or a nice new table!) as the new reference points reinforce this new belief.  The athletes seemed, at times to focus on the reference points that reinforced negative beliefs as opposed to concentrating on the positive reference points.