Athletes work so hard to get away from failure and yet feel so close to it at every moment.
ONE STEP AWAY
Athletes seem to always be one step away from failure. When I ask athletes why they get upset after a bad shot, strikeout, or bad score they usually say “I’m better than that, It doesn’t meet my expectations or others, it’s embarrassing or I don’t know, I hate messing up”. Making errors is apart of the game, shooters miss shots, hitters strikeout, and golfers slice the ball, it happens to everyone every game.
From my experience of both playing and talking with athletes, I have concluded that there is reasoning we tend to overlook and that is the fear of doing it again. That once that bad shot, that sliced ball, and that strikeout happen you are now in a downward spiral. One mistake must mean I am not on my game. I am no longer a robot of perfectionism, that one shot has now determined the rest of the game, and yes, leads to embarrassment and someone being disappointed.
Not only do athletes do this in the middle of play but on their way to the game or in warm-ups. “I had a bad warm-up and now the rest of the day will most likely be bad.” That one mistake or a second mistake has now closed off all possibilities and set the future in stone. It will happen again…
Why are athletes always one step away from failure? Athletes work so hard to get away from failure and yet feel so close to it at every moment. Almost as if they hold their breath and with every good moment, there is a bad one coming. Athletes bring the failure with them, they pack it up and wear it on their shoulders. After that missed shot the failure stands taller and it takes over. But, what did they fail at?
There is no easy or quick fix and a lot of times it is more to do with the ecosystem of the athlete than the game itself but, I ask you to look at your failure, what is it and why do you feel so close to it. Why does that missed shot or one strikeout dictate the rest of your performance? Is it possible to have a great game and not be perfect? YES!
WHAT IF YOU COULD CHANGE.
That one missed shot or strikeout has such a huge impact in the mind of an athlete because it invites the reality that it can happen again. Now, you couple that with high expectations, stressors, pressure, and we have a player who is always one step away from failure. This is something coaches, parents, and athletes all need work on collectively. It’s our mindset, expectations, self-worth, the words we use, the thoughts we have, and the perspective we have been given. What if you could change the way you saw the game, the mistake you made, and not turn to failure?
What I want athletes to know at all times is they have power. Power in the belief of possibility, the belief that one, two or three missed shots are just missed shots that will lead to greater shots. The perspective that it is possible you are not one step away from failure but are one step away from success.
“Every at bat or new hole or race is not the same and comes with a new experience, it might be you who is the same. So, I say choose to experience it differently and open the possibility of success!”
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