Stop The Panic With This Simple Technique

One of the biggest performance killers in sports is panic. Often, when athletes panic they get trapped in their mind at the worst possible moment where their biggest fears come to life. Fears such as choking during competition or replaying in their minds images of their coaches or parents upset and disappointed. These mental images seem to get stuck in time and increase pressure as it gets closer to game time. This mental error is often referred to as catastrophizing. Catastrophizing is when athletes exaggerate a non-ideal situation, such as believing that it will be the end of the world if they do not perform well in an upcoming competition. This mental mistake only increases the pressure more to where the athlete is bound to underperform. 


For athletes to start breaking this bad habit, they must look beyond their biggest fears. One simple way to do this is for athletes to ask themselves the question, "and then what?" This simple question will help lead athletes to move beyond their biggest fears to a safe place where they no longer feel threatened and can now productively focus on the next task.

Example: "If I don't perform well today my coach will take me out of the game!" 

"And then what?"

"And then I will have to sit on the bench while everyone else gets to play and I'll feel like a complete failure."

"And then what?"

"And then I'll be upset the rest of the day and night."

"And then what?"

"And then I will wake up the next day still upset but will go to practice and work even harder so I can be better than I was before."

"And then what?"

"And then my coach will start to see my progress and may even play me more in future games."

This technique helps many athletes look past the potential threat to where they eventually see the opportunity!