Fear of Failure And Tentative Play

Fear of Failure

Are You Afraid to Fail?

More and more, athletes I work with on the mental game come are held back by fear of failure. Fear and fear of failure are a constant source of stress or anxiety that sabotages your or your team’s performance.

In sports, most of the fear athletes have is based on their perception of the importance of a performance or game AND what they assume others think about their performance.

The immediate fear is about avoiding poor results or fear about the negative consequences of a poor performance.

Athletes worry about letting their team or a coach down. They worry about disappointing a parent or not performing up to a parent’s expectations. They worry about many things that are often not under their direct or immediate control.

Most of this worry is unnecessary or just conjecture.

What’s most important is to know what type of fear holds you back. Fear of failure often is often rooted in what you assume others think about you, which we call social approval. Here are some top sources of fear:

  • Fear of losing a match, game, or race – you badly want to win
    and are afraid you will not win.
  • Fear of negative social evaluation – you fear others will view
    you as a failure in sports.
  • Fear of embarrassment – you are afraid to embarrass yourself in
    front of others if you don’t perform well.
  • Fears of letting others down – you do not want to let others
    down such as a coach, parent, or teammate.
  • Fear of not performing up to others’ expectations – you worry
    about not meeting others’ expectations for you, such as a parent.

Do any of the above fears sound familiar to you? The first step in managing your fear of failure is to understand the specific source of your fear so you can deal with it head on.

For example, if you realize you’re afraid to let down your parents with a poor performance, the obvious solution is to learn how to play for yourself instead of others. Of course, easier said than done when it comes to changing this behavior.

Fear of failure is linked very closely to perfectionism. Many perfectionists hold high expectations that can set them up for failure. But a strong characteristic of perfectionists is that they focus too much on avoiding mistakes and failure.

When you think too much about avoiding mistakes, you focus on what not to do and perform more tentatively or controlled — thinking this will help you overcome the fear. But over control does has the opposite affect (a tough lesson for perfectionists).

I work with a lot of students who have fear of failure and perfectionism. For that reason, I’ve developed some specific mental game solutions to help perfectionists overcome fear of failure.

(1) We recently added a new e-book to our online mental training program at Peaksports Network: titled, “I Can’t Make Mistakes: How to Overcome Fear of Failure, Perfectionism, and Lack of Trust.”

You can check it out all out member here:

Sports Psychology & Mental Toughness E-book Library

(2) I’ve also produced a CD program, part of The Confident Athletes series, titled, “The Fearless Athlete” that helps athletes overcome fear of failure, perfectionism, and lack of trust.

“The Fearless Athlete” CD program, has been getting nice reviews:

“Since getting The Relaxed & Fearless Athlete CD programs for my son, I have seen a 100% improvement in his approach to each game. His results are outstanding this season…as compared to last year.”
~Mark McCormick

You can check it out “The Fearless Athlete” program here:

“The Fearless Athlete”

Your Confidence Coach,

Dr. Patrick Cohn

p.s. If you become a member of Peaksports Network, you receive 30% off “The Fearless Athlete” and most other Peaksports.com programs. So you might consider both options:

Sports Psychology & Mental Toughness E-book Library

p.p.s. Peaksports members can login and download this new e-book

“I Can’t Make Mistakes!” Ebook

Boost Your Self-Confidence With Mental Game Coaching!

Master mental game coach, Dr. Patrick Cohn, can help you or your athlete(s), ages 12 and up, overcome mental game issues with personal coaching.

You can work with Dr. Patrick Cohn himself in Orlando, Florida or via Skype, FaceTime, or telephone. Call us toll free at 888-742-7225 or contact us for more information about the different coaching programs we offer!

What are our students saying?

“WOW!!! What a week I had. I was able to perform with a confidence that allowed my style to shine through–no more entering the arena with that “deer in the headlights” look or feeling. I stopped evaluating myself while I was performing, and I actually left the arena after my patterns feeling like I had experienced a lot of fun. Thank you so much.”
~Julia Dreyer, National Champion Equestrian

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For All Athletes – Learn Confidence-Boosting Techniques!

D you have a negative self-image of yourself as an athlete that stifles confidence?

No matter ow positive you try to be, are you unable to shake the doubt that rushes into your head when you size up your competition?

Have you labeled yourself as a loser, poor closer, or mediocre athlete and these labels keep you stuck in a rut of self-pity and indecision?

If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, check out The Confident Athlete!

The Confident Athlete CD and workbook program is a 14-day plan for ultimate self-confidence. This program is ideal for any athlete or coach that wants to discover proven confidence-boosting techniques guaranteed to drastically build self-confidence and improve sports performance.

Learn more about one of our most popular CD programs in The Confident Athlete Series…

The Confident Athlete: A 14-Day Plan For Ultimate Self-Confidence

Check out all of the products in The Confident Athlete Series!

What are customers saying?

“I first purchased The Confident Athlete to see how the program went and immediately saw results. I then purchased the rest of the confident athlete series and have noticed a dramatic improvement in my level of play or should I say consistency. I currently play NCAA Division 1 baseball for Lamar University, and even my coaches have noticed a change in the way that I approach the game. My attitude and confidence at the plate.”
~Tylor Prudhomme (Listen to his success story)

“I am a ASP world qualifying professional surfer and after beginning the ‘The Confident Athlete’ I had an almost instant change in attitude about my own surfing ability and my mindset going into competition. By using the Confident Athlete strategies, my confidence has done a complete 180 degrees. I won a local pro/am a few weeks back, and just had my best result of the year in one the last big events on the world circuit this last week in Brazil! It is my secret weapon!”
~Shaun Burrell, Professional Surfer (Listen to his success story)

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For Young Athletes and Parents – Learn More About How to Help Kids Improve Confidence Quickly!

We’ve got a great program for you called “The Confident Sports Kid: A 7-Day Plan for Building Ultimate Self-Confidence.”

The Confident Sports Kid is a 7-day program for sports parents and kids to boost young athlete’s performance, happiness and success… in sports and life!

The Confident Sports Kid is two programs in one. There’s a manual and CD for parents/coaches, and a workbook/CD for young athletes.

Packed with mental strategies that you and your kids can start using immediately, this program teaches your athletes how to identify confidence busters, proactively deal with them, manage expectations that undermine confidence, and mentally prepare to stay confident when faced with adversity.

What’s more, our program teaches you, as sports parents and coaches, how you may be hurting your kids’ confidence and gives you instructions for changing your behavior in ways that will improve your athletes’ performance, confidence and enjoyment.

Learn more about one of our most popular CD programs in The Confident Sports Kid Series…

The Confident Sports Kid: A 7-Day Plan for Building Ultimate Self-Confidence

Check out all of our products in The Confident Sports Kid Series!

What are parents and coaches saying about our program?

“I appreciate the advice to parents as to how to help your child become more mentally resilient to bullying in sports. The specific advice and scenarios are extremely helpful for any child on a team and very helpful in guiding parents, coaches and administrators in how to deal with bullying in sports. I cannot thank you enough for your input, and I am so reassured to know that there are people like you who are writing articles and doing interviews on such timely and important matters.”
~Julie Goot

“Dr. Patrick Cohn and Lisa Cohn are to be congratulated! Together, they offer a wealth of knowledge, information, and practical mental tools for sports parents on the substantial “mental game” challenges and pressures facing today’s young athletes.”
~Marc D. Anderson, LCSW, MGCP, Mental Game Coach

Athlete's Mental EdgeFor Mental Coaches – Add More Value To Your Mental Training Programs!

This workbook series was designed for coaches and mental coaches to use with their athletes.

The Athlete’s Mental Edge workbooks complement your existing mental training program. Each of the 15 workbooks in the Athlete’s Mental Edge System teaches your athletes a specific mental skill to improve their performance.

For mental coaches, this system is ideal for between session education.

For sports coaches, you’ll be able to conduct 15 team seminars using the workbook system.

In the Athlete’s Mental Edge workbook system, you receive 15 easy-to-read, practical Mental Edge Workbooks on PDF, as well as 16 coaches’ game plan MP3 audio files.

Athlete’s Mental Edge Workbook System

What are coaches saying?

“I am really pleased with the Athlete’s Mental Edge workbooks – they are fitting in really well with my coaching! I find they offer a great framework for doing workshop sessions. I have also used the workbooks with a few individual athletes – for the younger ones (12 and under). They are giving a good structure and framework to our sessions. The workbooks have worked well with all of them!”
~Kerri Morgan, Mental Game Coach

“I am impressed with the willingness and openness of Dr. Cohn to share all of his assets (intellectual, products, etc.) with the MGCP students. You have developed an incredible model/package for mental training. Even though we are paying for your service, you are passing on a legacy built on your contribution to the world of sports. Thank you for that.”
~Tony Melito, MGCP

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