One of the grandest myths in today’s age of sports and athletic performance is the notion that “athletes can’t have fear” or “athletes are supposed to be fearless”. Fear is generally considered an immediate reaction towards something that threatens one’s security and safety. It is this sense of apprehension, alarming the individual to enable an instinctual “fight or flight” behavioral response in order to survive. While these talented individuals endure the rigorous pressures of being an elite athlete, the fact of the matter is that everyone experiences fear, it is inherent to human nature. For example, some athletes fear the possibility of failing during a big performance in the pivotal moment of a game. Others fear of losing their roster spot on a team, losing their only source of income to support their family. Some athletes fear whether or not they look the part of an elite athlete, aesthetically or through performance.
As you can see, there are numerous situations where fear can reveal itself to the most talented athletes in the world. Though it does bring on the question of how are these athletes successful despite their anxieties? Stuart Singer, Director and Performance Coach at WellPerformance suggests that being able to recognize and understand where fear originates in the brain can be a great asset toward the development of our athlete’s mental well-being. Watch the video below as Coach Singer describes how the “Fear Center” of the brain is activated and the implications it can have on our athlete’s performance.
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