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fear of failure

Sep 17, 2009
Interesting discussion.

We lost (at 16/18U) a super-athletic, underachieving player this tryout season. She spent a year with us. She was the doubting Thomas type ("I can't hit!" after ground outs, etc)..... She was becoming a full-time slapper, and when things got tough she wanted to swing away. She has ridiculous speed and fantastic power as a hard slapper, an amazing combination, but whenever things got tough she folded mentally and looked for the side-door escape.

We moved up to 18u this fall (a year early for some of our players) and she opted to change teams to stay at 16U. She didn't believe she could excel at the next level, was the story.

After some soul-searching after she surprised us and left, I've come to think that we as coaches have to take at least part of the blame. Yes she was a pain to work with and took a lot of time and energy. Yes, some of her negativity impacted team morale. But because we couldn't get through to her, now someone else is getting the chance to.

Some coaches may see that as a "good problem" to have : >

But I envy her new coaches and am left regretting that we can't be the ones to tap into her massive talent and potential -- by getting her to find a way to believe in herself. Perhaps it would never be possible, but I would have loved to keep trying.

PS--tks for the book recommendations. Kindled the ones I could this morning.
Jun 24, 2013
Man, if it weren't for failure we would still be sitting in the dark.....

Reference to the reported 1000 failures it took to get a lightbulb that worked......

Also don't forget the other side of the pillow, the fear of success...... which can be just as devastating if not dealt with...
Aug 29, 2013
It seems to me that your pitcher has a few issues that need to be addressed.
Her biggest issue seems to be negative self talk and anxiety. There's a method I use with my athletes that can help to counter these issues:
Breathe, Look, Talk. B.L.T. | One Game, One Love.
She needs to realize she is in control of her thoughts and her fear when it comes to pitching.
Your Thoughts Are Your Destiny | One Game, One Love.
It's tough as an athlete to have the burden of success on your shoulders, maybe try this route with her:
It’s Okay to Make a Mistake | One Game, One Love.
It's also not acceptable in my eyes to refuse to pitch. It's a team sport and other teammates are relying on you. Maybe you can shift her focus to helping the team, rather than failing herself.
Team Cohesion… Do You Have What It Takes? | One Game, One Love.