I’ve recently started coaching a new group of athletes who are prepping for the Manila SEA Games, and one of the more “contentious” discussions we had relates to the Fear of Failure associated with Social Approval.
What’s the Fear of Failure associated with Social Approval?
Simply put, many athletes simply worry too much about what others think about them. I often refer to this as ‘Mind-Reading’.
Although they may not admit it readily, most athletes are driven by the respect and recognition associated with their sporting prowess, and their identity as an athlete. They might believe that they don’t care what others think about themselves or their performance but that’s seldom true.
Social Approval is part of human nature (The world works only when we care how people think! We are all social animals and a communal species that is interdependent) and all athletes are driven by it to a certain extent.
However, when taken to an extreme, it often turns into a source of fear. For example, athletes may be afraid of letting their teammates down or to disappoint their coaches and parents. They often feel tensed and anxious or are afraid to take risks when others are watching.
Does that sound familiar to some of you already?