Basketball Psychology

Sports Psychology for Basketball Players & Coaches

Overcoming Fear of Failure

“I’ve failed over & over & over again in my life & that is why I succeed.” Michael Jordan

No matter what you do, you will at a point in time experience some kind of failure. Failure is a part of life. Many athletes are faced with the fear of failure because of the feeling of rejection associated with it.

Athletes who are scared to fail usually experience fear, anxiety, tension and worry about scoring and this can affect their mental game which will, in turn, affect their performance negatively.

Basketball psychology stresses that athletes develop a fear of failure when they start to worry about not achieving what they have worked hard to obtain, such as winning a championship.

Sports psychology for basketball helps athletes understand that mistakes will help you to grow as a person and more importantly as an athlete.

Perfection is impossible and mistakes are bound to be made.

This article will look at the signs that show that an athlete is experiencing fear of failure and also what can be done to overcome such fears.

Common Fears of Failure

The fear of failure is very detrimental to the success of an athlete. Hence, it is very important for coaches and players to know and study the different signs of fear so they can tackle it appropriately. Here are the common types of fear.
• Reluctance to get involved
• Fear of losing a game
• Fear of embarrassment if you don’t perform well
• Fears of letting others down
• Fear of making mistakes and not performing perfectly after having worked so hard at it.

Since every player is subject to these fears, it is imperative to reflect on your own game and find out if you have them.

How being fearful can affect your game.

It is very important to address the issue of the fear of failure. The fear of failure can have a strong presence in the life of a basketball player as this can hold the player back from reaching his true potential.

It is not difficult to understand why most people are afraid of failing. They prefer to restrict themselves by playing safe and avoiding any risks.

Athletes fail to realize that playing safe puts you out of action. You choose to overlook potential opportunities and push yourself into being an average player.

An athlete who is afraid of failure will always perform cautiously. A cautious player is a weak link in the team. Opponents will notice this and take advantage of the situation.

Fear of failure also tends to create a negative mindset of thoughts thereby affecting a player’s basketball mental toughness.

Ways to Overcome Fear of Failure

Fear of failure is a huge barrier that stops athletes from performing their best. Basketball players, who have learned how to overcome fear on the court, tend to have a better mental basketball game, as well as an improved performance. Below are a few tips which will aid you in overcoming the fear of failure.

• Acknowledgement of your fears – The first step in overcoming your fears is by becoming aware of what you fear, then knowing the cause of them.

• Read positive statements – Have a small note of positive statements that you can read anytime you are stressed. This will put you in a relaxed mood.

• Learn from your mistakes – Change the way you look at failure. Review what happens and use the information to do better the next time.
Understand that failure gives you an opportunity to learn and go back to the drawing board to change what isn’t right.

• Take action – Don’t procrastinate, make sure you act. Action breeds confidence and mental toughness.
Set simple goals that are achievable and make sure that you practice hard to meet those goals.

• Ask for help – If needed, talk to a mental game coach or sports psychologist who can help you manage your fears. They will teach you mental tools to help you succeed.

• Train mentally – Mental training is very important. Physical training is no longer enough. Improving basketball players’ knowledge and experience in this area will help in eliminating fears. Failure is in some cases is better than not trying at all. Let your thirst for success be greater than your fear of failure. Focus more on your gains from success rather than worrying about failure. Making mistakes is a part of the game.

• Download the free mental game assessment and get started on Improving your Mental Game in Basketball.

Updated: November 7, 2017 — 9:54 am

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