Anxiety before or during an athletic competition can interfere with your performance as an athlete. The coordinated movement required by athletic events becomes increasingly difficult when your body is in a tense state.
While a certain level of physical arousal is helpful and prepares us for competition, negative thought patterns and expectations of failure can bring about a manifestation of self-defeat.
Does this sound familiar:
- “I play so well in practice, but mess up during games”
- “I’m so nervous in games that I get sick to my stomach”
- “I get so nervous that I don’t even enjoy my sport anymore”
- “I become so anxious in competitions that I lose focus”
Many athletes under perform in competition compared to the ability they show in practice. In my work as a Transformational Life Coach and being a Professional athlete myself, this is a common problem for athletes. If performance anxiety is affecting your sports performance, it’s a mental game issue. If you can perform well in practice, but can’t take it to the field, course, court or mat, it is most likely that anxiety, tension, or fear is getting in the way. The ability to take your “practice game” to the playing field is critical to your success in sport.
Fear of failure is one of the major barriers to success for athletes. The concept of fear of failure is tied closely to fear of rejection and social approval. Fear of failure is also prevalent with athletes who are perfectionists and over motivated. If you have a need to succeed badly, you are likely to fear failing.
Several associated issues come with fear of failure, such as low self-confidence, anxiety, tension, worry about making mistakes, and so on. Some athletes will tell me that fear of failure is what motivates them to practice and work hard.
Fear of failure may be a motivator to work hard, but it’s not a good motivator or mindset for competition.
If you have performance anxiety in sports, you are not alone. It’s a common challenge in athletes who are compelled to perform at a high level. The irony is that the more you want to win or be successful in sports, the greater the chance that fear of failure will hold you back.