Losing a race by feeling too much stress of being the favorite

While it is true that the result of a single race does not define the value of an athlete or the success of a career; it does happen, however, that athletes often cannot handle the pressure they experience when they are favored and consequently worsen their performance and lose the race.

They often bring us the problems themselves. We work hard to achieve a high standard of performance and when we have achieved it, we are afraid of the idea of being the favorite, therefore, we worsen the performance level to get out of this stressful situation. But the story doesn’t end there, because a minute after losing we get depressed or angry with ourselves for not delivering the performance we are capable of.

In essence we have gone out of our way to be dissatisfied because we have not had the courage to do what we know how to do knowing that it may not be enough to win.

The solution would be simple: focus on your commitment and performance rather than the final outcome.

The problem is that one would like to have the certainty of success, which a priori is not possible to have. If you do not accept this rule, competitive stress takes over caused by the race, which is the external trigger and determines your inability to compete at your best.

What to do:

Breathing and relaxation: Practice deep breathing techniques and muscle relaxation to calm the mind and body. You can use slow, deep breathing exercises before, during and after the race to reduce anxiety.

Build your pre-race routine: Develop a pre-race routine to help you focus and relax. This routine can include activities such as listening to music, visualization, or stretching.

Talk to a sports psychologist: A professional can help you identify your specific concerns and provide you with personalized strategies for managing performance stress.

Accept and learn from defeats: Defeats are part of sports. Accept the outcome, analyze what went wrong and learn from mistakes. Use these experiences as opportunities for personal growth and development.

Remember that every athlete experiences stress differently, so it is important to find the strategies that work best for you.

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