What is Wrong With The Fear of Failure?
One of my mental coaching students, Joe (not his real name) had a unique gift (or so he thought). Since he was overly concerned with what other people thought (coach, teammates, parents, spectators, etc.) about his performance, he often engaged in a process I call mind reading when performing.
While Joe was mind reading, he made assumptions about what others were thinking about him. He literally thought that he could tell what others were thinking about him. Joe’s hidden agenda was to avoid embarrassment, to not make mistakes, and have others think he was a good athlete.
This preoccupation with mind reading what other may be thinking about him caused him to play cautiously and avoid mistakes. He was plagued with thoughts such as the coach will yank me from the team if I miss an open shot or my team will be disappointed in my performance.
Joe’s performance suffered because he did not allow himself to perform freely without the fear of failure, fear of disappointing others, or fear of making mistakes.
Joe is not alone. In fact, many athletes hinder their potential by focusing too much on avoiding mistakes and not embarrassing themselves. They think it is better to play it safe than risk embarrassment or disappointment.
While no one wants to feel embarrassed or get benched by the coach, avoiding mistakes and playing safe are huge distractions to athletic performance, at the very least. This type of thinking actually makes athletes perform worse and then realize what they feared hight happen.
Ultimately, the fear of failure can cause athletes to play tentatively or defensively and actually hinder their ability to succeed. This state of mind certainly makes playing sports half as much fun for many athletes and causes some to drop out of sports.
Caring too much about what others think comes from the phenomenon called social approval. Social approval is defined as the need to be confirmed and validated by other people. In today’s society, many athletes learn *mind reading* when peer approval and gaining acceptance are primary motivators, especially for young athletes.
Let’s face it, we want the respect from our peers. And, whether you’ve been an athlete for 5 years or 35 years, the fear of letting others down can lead to tentative performances! That’s why helping athletes to learn how to play without the fear of failure is so important.
Now I know what you are thinking! You are thinking…. How can an athlete be taught to focus on what’s important, rather than mind reading or focusing too much on the fear of failure? I start by asking my students an important question: ‘Do you compete for yourself OR do you compete to gain respect or approval of people around you?’
This is a tough question for some athletes to answer. Many find it difficult to admit that they compete because they yearn for the acceptance of their team, parents, coach or spectators.
However, the bottom line is that if you want to harness a zone focus and perform at your best, you cannot care about what others think about you and/or your performance. You must learn to overcome mind reading and fear of failure.
I help my students achieve this in many ways. One way is with my teleseminars. For examples, one class I teach is: Everyone is Watching Me! How to Stop Worrying about What Others Think. I cover the techniques needed to stop worrying about what others think to create a stronger mindset.
You can access this seminar and more than 24 other teleseminars in my online mental training program at Peaksports.com. To gain access, visit my popular online mental toughness and sport psychology program.
Patrick J. Cohn, Ph.D.
Boost Your Self-Confidence With Mental Game Coaching!
Master mental game coach, Dr. Patrick Cohn, can help you or your athlete(s), ages 12 and up, overcome mental game issues with personal coaching.
You can work with Dr. Patrick Cohn himself in Orlando, Florida or via Skype, FaceTime, or telephone. Call us toll free at 888-742-7225 or contact us for more information about the different coaching programs we offer!
What are our students saying?
“WOW!!! What a week I had. I was able to perform with a confidence that allowed my style to shine through–no more entering the arena with that “deer in the headlights” look or feeling. I stopped evaluating myself while I was performing, and I actually left the arena after my patterns feeling like I had experienced a lot of fun. Thank you so much.”
~Julia Dreyer, National Champion Equestrian
For All Athletes – Learn Confidence-Boosting Techniques!
D you have a negative self-image of yourself as an athlete that stifles confidence?
No matter ow positive you try to be, are you unable to shake the doubt that rushes into your head when you size up your competition?
Have you labeled yourself as a loser, poor closer, or mediocre athlete and these labels keep you stuck in a rut of self-pity and indecision?
If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, check out The Confident Athlete!
The Confident Athlete CD and workbook program is a 14-day plan for ultimate self-confidence. This program is ideal for any athlete or coach that wants to discover proven confidence-boosting techniques guaranteed to drastically build self-confidence and improve sports performance.
Learn more about one of our most popular CD programs in The Confident Athlete Series…
What are customers saying?
“I first purchased The Confident Athlete to see how the program went and immediately saw results. I then purchased the rest of the confident athlete series and have noticed a dramatic improvement in my level of play or should I say consistency. I currently play NCAA Division 1 baseball for Lamar University, and even my coaches have noticed a change in the way that I approach the game. My attitude and confidence at the plate.”
~Tylor Prudhomme (Listen to his success story)
“I am a ASP world qualifying professional surfer and after beginning the ‘The Confident Athlete’ I had an almost instant change in attitude about my own surfing ability and my mindset going into competition. By using the Confident Athlete strategies, my confidence has done a complete 180 degrees. I won a local pro/am a few weeks back, and just had my best result of the year in one the last big events on the world circuit this last week in Brazil! It is my secret weapon!”
~Shaun Burrell, Professional Surfer (Listen to his success story)
For Young Athletes and Parents – Learn More About How to Help Kids Improve Confidence Quickly!
We’ve got a great program for you called “The Confident Sports Kid: A 7-Day Plan for Building Ultimate Self-Confidence.”
The Confident Sports Kid is a 7-day program for sports parents and kids to boost young athlete’s performance, happiness and success… in sports and life!
The Confident Sports Kid is two programs in one. There’s a manual and CD for parents/coaches, and a workbook/CD for young athletes.
Packed with mental strategies that you and your kids can start using immediately, this program teaches your athletes how to identify confidence busters, proactively deal with them, manage expectations that undermine confidence, and mentally prepare to stay confident when faced with adversity.
What’s more, our program teaches you, as sports parents and coaches, how you may be hurting your kids’ confidence and gives you instructions for changing your behavior in ways that will improve your athletes’ performance, confidence and enjoyment.
Learn more about one of our most popular CD programs in The Confident Sports Kid Series…
What are parents and coaches saying about our program?
“I appreciate the advice to parents as to how to help your child become more mentally resilient to bullying in sports. The specific advice and scenarios are extremely helpful for any child on a team and very helpful in guiding parents, coaches and administrators in how to deal with bullying in sports. I cannot thank you enough for your input, and I am so reassured to know that there are people like you who are writing articles and doing interviews on such timely and important matters.”
“Dr. Patrick Cohn and Lisa Cohn are to be congratulated! Together, they offer a wealth of knowledge, information, and practical mental tools for sports parents on the substantial “mental game” challenges and pressures facing today’s young athletes.”
~Marc D. Anderson, LCSW, MGCP, Mental Game Coach
For Mental Coaches – Add More Value To Your Mental Training Programs!
This workbook series was designed for coaches and mental coaches to use with their athletes.
The Athlete’s Mental Edge workbooks complement your existing mental training program. Each of the 15 workbooks in the Athlete’s Mental Edge System teaches your athletes a specific mental skill to improve their performance.
For mental coaches, this system is ideal for between session education.
For sports coaches, you’ll be able to conduct 15 team seminars using the workbook system.
In the Athlete’s Mental Edge workbook system, you receive 15 easy-to-read, practical Mental Edge Workbooks on PDF, as well as 16 coaches’ game plan MP3 audio files.
What are coaches saying?
“I am really pleased with the Athlete’s Mental Edge workbooks – they are fitting in really well with my coaching! I find they offer a great framework for doing workshop sessions. I have also used the workbooks with a few individual athletes – for the younger ones (12 and under). They are giving a good structure and framework to our sessions. The workbooks have worked well with all of them!”
~Kerri Morgan, Mental Game Coach
“I am impressed with the willingness and openness of Dr. Cohn to share all of his assets (intellectual, products, etc.) with the MGCP students. You have developed an incredible model/package for mental training. Even though we are paying for your service, you are passing on a legacy built on your contribution to the world of sports. Thank you for that.”
~Tony Melito, MGCP