Basketball Mental Skills Article

Fear of Failure

I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” Michael Jordan

Athletes of all ages, at all levels of competition and experience, can be predisposed to both rational and irrational fears.

When the basketball mind has succumbed to its fears, it can have a crippling effect on many athletes’ decision-making abilities and performance.

Some athletes may not know that their fears interfere with building confidence and mental toughness.

Basketball Psychologists and Mental Game Coaches can help athletes identify their fears and understand how they limit their development and hold them back.

With this newly acquired insight, athletes realize that they will only rise to the level their fear will permit if they allow fear to take charge.

Psychology breaks down fear into many different types, and fear of failure is one of them.

All fears tend to share some common symptoms, mainly stress and anxiety within an athlete.

Being fearful of future events (emotional fear) can rob a good athlete of all the good attributes in their skill set by distorting their reality.

The first and most major hurdle has been overcome by identifying the moments and acknowledging the emotions (stress and anxiety) that cause an athlete to experience fear.

A Mental Game Coach or Sport Psychologist can talk to the athlete about their fear and listen out for keywords such as “disappointment” or “failure” to aid in identifying individual fears.

The fear of failure has proven to be a widespread irrational fear that athletes struggle with.

It causes them to focus on things beyond their control, wasting energy and distracting them from focusing on the things within their control, which can impact their game.

The fear that gets most athletes is emotional.

Emotional fears are numerous and can be triggered in many ways.

One example of emotional fear could be the fear of embarrassment brought on by making a mistake or missing a shot.

The good news is that emotional fear can be conquered and eliminated.

Physical attributes and skills are essential.

When the athletes understand what is happening cognitively, they will acquire an additional mental tool to unlock their maximum potential.

The distinguishing factor between good and elite athletes often comes down to regulating their emotions and overall mental game.

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