I have been asked to give a keynote speech at the upcoming Gymnastics Ontario Coaching Congress October 26-28th in Toronto which is very exciting and timely.
My session, “Managing Fear through the Development of a Competitive Mindset” will address not only how to manage the damaging and sometimes paralyzing effect fear can have on athletes, but also how overcoming fear in sport teaches athletes to overcome fear and challenges throughout life. Once athletes know how to deal with their fears – which can include…
fear of poor performance, defeat, injury, choking, disappointing supporters – they are better equipped to successfully manage life challenges and transfer this knowledge onto others.
Athletes must innovate all the time – whether they are figuring out how to master a difficult skill, optimize their performance on a given day, manage their specialized training regimen, cope with an injury, or maintain composure in high pressure situation. Each elite athlete draws from their own unique training and coaching to manage and overcome their fear – as a gymnast, I used to visualize amazing routines in my head over and over again which helped me to see and feel it in my body.
Developing a competitive mindset to overcome fear is a skill I would argue all elite athletes have to master – it is part of what makes one successful in sport. By transferring and imparting this skill, along with so many others, to situations outside of sport, athletes truly are innovators and educators in life.