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Managing Fear - What do you do?


Fear is a common hurdle in any sport. Most athletes face it at least once in their athletic careers. Coaches face the frustration of fear in their athletes. Often fear can lead to an athlete quitting a sport they love. How we approach fear can determine the outcome. First I will tell you that you can not yell someone out of their fears. Yelling only increases the likelihood the fear will continue and skills will continue to be lost. A gymnast who is afraid to let go of the bar does not let go because you screamed at her. The first step to conquering fear is understanding what the athlete is actually afraid of.

If you are afraid of spiders I will not force you through your fear by screaming,"Just hold the spider." "It's not going to bite you!" You won't believe me and increasing the pressure to hold the spider might actually increase your anxiety and fear. I must first understand what it is you are afraid of to be able to address your fear.

Seek to understand your athletes fear. Is the athlete afraid of letting go? Is the athlete afraid of falling? Is the athlete afraid they will hit their feet on the low bar? You must first understand fear to conquer it. The next step is to evaluate that fear in order help the athlete psychologically. Do they know how to fall safely? Are there mats below? Do they know when to let go? How do they avoid hitting their feet? Next you must help them to visualize completing the skill successfully. What the minds eye sees becomes reality. Put a plan together. It may take steps. It may mean a spot or starting on the pit bar. Seeking to understand fear is the place to start.

If you are struggling to help your athletes through fear there is help. Spero Works provides counseling and consultation to address fear.

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