Fear of Failure and Injury
I was working with a female gymnast the last few weeks and I want to share her story. It is not unlike stories of hockey players I've worked with, but her example is fresh on my mind.
We all have fears; we are actually born with two. Just two by the way! Fear of falling and fear of loud noises. We usually outgrow fear of loud noises. We tend to create or develop other fears during our childhood that can last a lifetime. Social fears develop at this time as well like fear of failure and feelings of shame.
I received a call a few weeks ago from a parent of a level 10 gymnast. The gymnast is a high school junior. She could no longer do her reverse double dismount off the uneven parallel bars. State Championships were the next day and she needed to get to Nationals in order to be seen by college coaches. A lot of pressure. And by the way she was having issues since she saw another gymnast have a bad crash and have to go to the hospital. After watching her perform and talking with her, I was able to get her past her fear of injury. It took another couple of sessions to get her over fear of failure, but she got through State and Regional's and is on her way to Nationals. You can ask more about what I helped her with, but I want you to understand about falling down. Hockey players fall down or are helped down a lot. So perhaps this short dialog will help you get up.
As Lou Brock- Baseball Hall of Famer, once said, "Show me a guy who's afraid to look bad, and I'll show you a guy you can beat every time."
What happens when the "The Athlete within You" falls down? The obvious answer is that you get up again. Sometimes getting up is not all that easy. It is easy to say that when you fall down seven times you get up eight times. It is easy to say, never give up, never surrender (this is my offbeat movie reference for those who have seen "Galaxy Quest").
The truth is that it is not always easy. It is one of the things about athletics that is very potent. The object of the game is to be the one who gets up. This may mean winning the contest as that is usually the object of athletic competition. The one who doesn't get up doesn't win. In boxing it's the knockout. That is the extreme, of course. In most other sports the non-winner still gets up, they just don't get to celebrate.
The Athlete within You has lots of opportunities to fall down. It can happen during training every single day. You just don't have the mental energy to keep going. The mentally strong athlete always seems to get up again and keep on going. If I were to assign the reason that these athletes are able to continually pull themselves up it would probably go to motivation. What is their Drive? However, even the most driven sometimes find it difficult to get up off the floor. Often it is because of a loss of energy. It is also usually temporary, certainly debilitating and often associated with some unrecognized fear that affects their confidence. Getting up off the floor all of a sudden seems to be an impossible task. So what is it that the strong athlete can do to get up that eighth time?
Our self worth should be measured by our deeds without comparing ourselves to others or by needing the approval of others. Much of what we do gets grounded in what we learned early in life. So if we are taught shame, we isolate ourselves and our issues. We cannot openly talk about those things we are ashamed of. So if we enter my world of sport and we observe athletes held up by their anxiety and as we lift the veil and help them cope with their sports anxieties and still something is missing, we may need to understand their greatest fear. I often ask the question, "What is your greatest fear?" Maybe it is the wrong question. What is it that makes you feel shame? Can you talk about it? We tell people not to put their self worth in a sport outcome or result. What if they do that because somewhere along the way, instead of finding joy in sports, they found shame?
Fear is a great deterrent to maximizing performance. Fear of failure, fear of shame or fear of getting hurt are fears athletes must overcome. Learning to get back up is the first step.
New addition: post your questions. I will answer mental training questions if you post them here. If you have a question, but want to keep it private just email it to me.
Offering for just a short time Relaxation / Imagery Rehearsal mp3 for Hockey mp3s and can be ordered fromhttp://themental-game.com/imagery-rehearsal-mp3s/
Usually these are special orders, but for JuniorHockey.com I am making them available at the same cost of my relaxation mp3. Make sure you ask for the hockey mp3! I have also lowered the price to$9.95each because I want you to see the benefits first hand of using your mind to help you discover The Athlete within You.
Since I now have some over 20 posts I suspect you have all read my bio by now. I am available for workshops, team and individual consultation, assessment and as a keynote speaker. My new book is called "The Athlete within You- a mental approach to sports and business" It is for athletes and non athletes working to achieve more in sports and life.http://themental-game.com/