unnamedOften in sport, winning isn’t everything – it’s the only thing! Many athletes and coaches believe that losing represents failure and that it should be avoided. Maybe you are like so many athletes for whom losing is so devastating. This mindset is responsible for much of the fear of failure that athletes experience at all levels of competition.

Viewing failure as shameful creates unecessary anxiety and tension. The thing to know is: Failure cannot be avoided. The greatest have failed at times, and so will you. You perfect your game through adversity and failure. You have to look at failure as a lesson from which you can learn. If you see failure as an opportunity for improvement, it will make it easier and will help you to relax and to think how to go beyond your present level of performance.

As a child you learned from repeated failures to master one of the most difficult and challenging skills: walking!

How many times, when you’ve experienced failure, did you tell yourself, “I’m no good! I can’t do it! Why trying so hard?” Your failure might have been so damaging. It doesn’t have to stay so hard for you. First, just remember that setbacks are only lessons in improvement. They’re the only way we can progress in sport.

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Start to see the things as they are and accept the truth about them. Do not fight failure. Of course it’s easy to lose confidence in yourself when you try as hard as you can but continue to do worse. But rather than get discouraged and quit, learn something from each “failure”.

As a tennis player for instance, you will experience setbacks in the vast majority of the tournaments you’ll play. That’s a fact.

Each experience we have has for us valuable knowledge – but only if we choose to see and accept it that way. The greatest lesson is always to redirect failure and setback to that they work for you, not against you.

From failure to opportunity – There is a technique that can be used when you experience disappointment as a result of a poor performance, setback or failure.

  1. Record the objective facts about the event: “I lost 7/6 in the third set”.
  2. Record your subjective judgment of your performance: “I’m not a good player, I choke every time when I have to close the match”.
  3. Record your emotions to this judment: “I’m so disappointed and frustrated, I feel devastated.”
  4. Record the objective data or fact that support the judgment you made in 2)” “There is none”.
  5. Record what you’ve learned from setback: for example, “I need to train physically harder and improve my footwork.”
  6. Based on step 5), record how you feel now: “I’m still disappointed but I’m okay. I’m a better tennis player because of it, and I look forward to my next match.”
vida mind – mental conditioning – mental training – sport psychology
Australia – Melbourne – Sydney – Adelaide – Canberra – Brisbane

You can shift from disappointment to a more positive and confident mindset using visualisation. In a relaxed state, imagine yourself performing as well as you can, making the right shots, the right moves, and exhibiting strength, fluidity and consistency. See yourself having fun competing, being strong and confident. Then say to yourself, “If anyone is going to beat me today, they will have to be at levels they’ve never before reached.” Feel that you force others to be at their very best. Dwell totally on your game, knowing that the outcome will take care of itself.

vida mind – mental conditioning – mental training – sport psychology
Australia – Melbourne – Sydney – Adelaide – Canberra – Brisbane