I met a really lovely lady a few weeks ago, and she has helped me to change a perception I have about myself. I have thought this way for most of my life. How can one person give me confidence that I never thought I would have?

I joined a “Back to Netball” group in January. We have some skills training, followed by a short match where we all swap around and try out different positions.

One week I was playing Goal Attack. I said that I was no good at shooting, and passed the ball to the Shooter every time I caught it in the D. She told me to have a go, but I didn’t – I can’t shoot.

I can’t do it

At the end of the session, she took me up to the hoop and got me to keep trying until I got one in. I was so proud of myself! I can’t remember ever having done that before, or ever putting myself in a position where I would need to.

I didn’t see Sarah for the next few weeks as she was going to a later session. When I got a ball through the hoop during the warm-up, I said it was a fluke. She said that I was pretty accurate in my aim – I could be a shooter.

I thought to myself – yes, I could be a shooter. I sent my husband to Looking up at a blue sky through a netball hoop. Shooting for the stars: my new self-beliefspend some of my birthday money and buy a hoop and ball. And, guess what? I can do it! I can shoot! Not every time, I grant you, but at least half of the time (if I am standing close enough!).

I wonder where I got the idea that I can’t shoot? I think it must have come from my school days, and pretty early on. Fair enough, I was a tiddly little girl, and the chances of me getting it in at that age were probably fairly slim, but I’m hardly a giant now.


How could the idea have been introduced? Would it have been my primary school teachers? I do remember some particularly brutal ones. I suppose it could have been the girls in my class. We all know how unpleasant girls can be! It could also have been my PE teacher in secondary school. I was musical, rather than sporty, and the two didn’t seem to go together for many people (except one of the girls who got the Music prize).

This makes me think of the influence that adults can have over children. Sarah told me of a maths teacher who left her feeling as if she was incapable. Another teacher built her up, and she was delighted to go on and pass her GCSE, and not just by the skin of her teeth.

If someone tells us often enough that we can’t do something, there are times we begin to believe it. As adults, we may be able to throw discouragement off and do well, despite what we have been told. But as children, it is much harder. Developing self-belief takes time, and having someone constantly put you down can be demoralising. Studies have shown that self-belief is a major factor in helping us reach a goal.Woman holding what looks to be a red cap from a beer bottle, saying "I'm a winner". Shooting for the stars: my new self-belief

So, whether it is your boss, or a colleague, or your mother-in-law telling you that you won’t manage to achieve something, you may be able to find the self-confidence to prove them wrong. You may be able to find inner strength and do it, despite what they say.

Building people up

Whether it is in your dealings with young people or with adults, have a think about the language you use. After all, it is easy to knock down a tower of blocks, but it takes a long time to build them up again.

I was handed the Goal Attack bib last night. I was able to make two attempts to shoot. And did I get them in? I did. Thank you, Sarah.

Do you have a story of how someone has knocked you down, or built you up?


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  1. Love this – and so pleased to be able to boost you up! 🙂 Hope we’re on the same team in the tournament on Wednesday! x

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