How Professional Athletes Should Manage Their Fear?

25 Mar 2017

Self-preservation is a clear natural instinct and it could cause people to think and act in different ways when they face a looming threat. Fear is a normal occurrence and also a necessary defense mechanism. It is integrated into our DNA as a tool of self-preservation. Even for the bravest athletes, it is impossible for them to completely eliminate fear. Fear doesn’t always cause us to act cowardly and it may transform into a positive habit, by causing us to feel concerned and respond to possible problems in the future. Professional athletes know how to work with fear and achieve their goals, despite their fear. Fear may affect us negatively, if we lack confidence, awareness and preparation.

Fear may emerge if we may get injured or even killed. Injuries, pain and defeat are commonplace in sports, this may cause a degree of anxiety, even among professional athletes. However, those who can control their fear, will brace themselves, perhaps even clenched their teeth, while enduring intense training sessions and highly competitive matches. Professional athletes should be aware that even fear can have favorable effects in their lives. Fear allows us to respond to any threat physically and mentally. It means that fear should be acted upon, acknowledged and recognized. Many fear responses are emotional and psychological. Fear may cause rapid breathing, trembling, elevated heart rate and degraded fine motor skills, even before the match begins.

Fear allows us to make conscious decisions to make real acts. The most important thing is to avoid causing fear to produce freezing effects. In this case, we will start to have self-preservation instincts and we surrender our rational thoughts. Fear causes much more than butterflies in our stomach, we will have reduced performance and more significant emotional effects. It is important to make sure that fear could have multiple positive physical responses. Pre-contest jitters may emerge among new athletes, but we should be able to manage them. So, it is important that we are able to recognize any of the symptom, including negative ones. With proper steps, we should be able to replace doubt and any fear-induced emotion with confidence.

When handling fear, we should be able to identify threat. This should allow us to dissect and demystify threats. Eventually, it would be much easier for us to deal with those threats. By indeitfying threats, we will know our enemy and we can begin the assessment process. Proper defense can be achieved only if we know the weaknesses and strengths of our opponents. We could do this by watching recording of previous games. We should know how, when and where threats present themselves. Our preparations should be based on past knowledge and experience. Coaches should become experts of human behavior, so they are able to manage the emotion of individual athletes and the entire team. By dissecting and demystifying threats, we should be able to avoid fear of getting injured or even killed. Legitimate fear should result in positive habits.

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