Fear of winning?

Although it may sound strange to some readers, but athletes and coaches are very familiar with this phenomenon as they witness repeated performances where expected outcomes are not nearly achieved. It is not necessarily fear of winning that athletes are concerned about; after all, that’s why they compete. However, it is the consequences that come as a result of winning that some athletes fear most about.

Athletes feel high levels of stress trying to perform at their best all the time. For some, really excelling at a performance may suddenly bringfears the expectation of having to perform at that level all the time. Such an expectation imposes the extra burden of not wanting to disappoint those close to him in the event that he is unable to match his high performance. The remedy would then be to perform just below his capabilities to avoid such a negative reaction.

For other athletes, they fear the unknown. More achievements bring greater attention from others. Suddenly, athletes may feel potential criticism and scrutinizing as very stressful to handle. It is called the comfort zone for a reason, after all!!

There is also the psychological angle. An athlete who is raised in a family context where his normal developmental aggressive stage is subdued by parental control, he may subconsciously develop a submissive behavior in adulthood. The athlete may subconsciously perceive aggression as subordination toward his parents and such disobedience brings feelings of guilt.

Regardless of the sources of fear of success, it can limit an athlete from achieving his/her best. Usually, procrastination and difficulty to set goals are typical symptoms shown by those who fear being successful.

Try to practice the following tips:

As Lovett indicates, if the pressure comes from within, then work on writing meaningful goals that can be achieved, practice breathing relaxation and celebrate each successful step.

If the source of stress comes from outside, then let people around you know to celebrate your successes with minimum festivities.

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