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How to Let Go of Disappointments in Competition

Letting go, can be one of the hardest things for an athlete to do after experiencing a disappointment in competition. 

Over. Next.

Two words.

Two powerful words when it comes to sports and emotional control.

The play is over. Focus on the next moment.

Simple. Powerful. Yet so hard for many athletes to do.

This weekend, my daughter swam the 50 back on a 200 meter individual medley relay team...

As she touched the wall, the official did what every swimmer dreads – she raised her hand and disqualified her.

My daughter finished her leg of the race and exited the pool. I could tell from her body language that she new she was disqualified and disappointed. From her perspective, she let both herself and her team mates down.

I sent her a text and said, “Let it go. One race does not determine the next. The relay is over. Focus on your next event.”

Her swim coaches echoed the same advice.

I was so proud of what happened next...

My daughter dropped time in five of her...

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Why to Drop Expectations

Having certain expectations can get the best of us.

If curiosity killed the cat, expectations stressed the athlete...and I mean REALLY stressed the athlete.

There is a big difference between goals and expectations. 

Goals are aspirational.

Expectations are what we internalize and believe we should achieve.  When we don't achieve our expectations we may be brutal on ourselves for falling short.

Athletes often have ambitious goals and unrealistic expectations.  It's important to have goals. It's counter productive to have unrealistic expectations. Unrealistic expectations often lead to disappointment, anger and frustration that can derail performance.

How do you know if you have unrealistic expectations?

List your expectations.  Be honest and really list them. Then do a google search to see who has actually accomplished your expectations on a consistent basis.

There are examples of some of the expectations athletes have shared with me.

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