Stop bracing for failure. Prepare to succeed instead!
When athletes are worried about an upcoming game, they often try to reduce their stress by bracing for failure. They may tell themselves, “I’m probably going to lose. It’s okay though. I’m not supposed to win anyways. Besides, I’m not 100% healthy, so I have an excuse.” This type of defense mechanism is often used during games when an athlete is losing. For example, an athlete may say to himself, “I’m playing so bad. Today isn’t my day. I’ll just tell my friends and family that I wasn’t feeling good today.”
Bracing for failure may make you feel better about yourself, but it doesn’t help you perform better, which is what really matters. Instead of protecting your ego by bracing for failure, wouldn’t it be better for you to instead improve your performance by preparing to succeed!? When you’re nervous about an upcoming game, instead of bracing for failure and procrastinating, you can prepare to succeed! You can prepare your body and mind as best as you can to give yourself your best chance of succeeding. You may still end up losing, but at least you gave it your best effort.
Likewise, in high-pressure situations in games, you can prepare to succeed instead of bracing for failure. You can tell yourself, “All I can control right now is my attitude and effort. I can’t completely control whether I win or lose, so I won’t worry about that right now. I might lose, but I’ll deal with that once the game is over. Right now, I’m just going to stay positive and give my best effort!”
The next time you catch yourself bracing for failure before or during games, snap out of it, and remind yourself that you want to perform well and win more than you want to protect your ego!