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Article: Replace Unrealistic Expectations with Lofty Goals Related Resources
Replace Unrealistic Expectations with Lofty Goals
© Patrick J. Cohn, Ph.D.


Bob Rikeman, baseball coach at Rollins College asked: "How do you coach players that have unrealistic expectations?" Great question Bob. Most athletes maintain high expectations especially if they have had past success. I ask athletes to not perform with any expectations, low or high, because they only set up athletes for failure especially if they are unrealistic or irrational, such as throwing a no-hitter every game in baseball, win every game, or not make any errors. When an athlete doesn't meet these expectations, frustration, irritation, anger, or feelings of failure emerge.

The best option is to replace expectations with confidence. With expectations, you presume many things such as how well you should play, how many errors you can make, and how smart you should play. It's do or die. A player's expectation is doomed at the first sign of an error or a loss.

Some people equate expectations with confidence. They are not the same. Confidence is the belief you can perform a task or play well, but it doesn't mean you absolutely must perform well. Confidence helps you play better, but expectations are judgements about your performance. As an athlete, you need to not to set yourself up for frustration with high expectations. Instead, be confident that you can win, but don't expect it.

It's also better to replace expectations with set goals in which you strive for. Goals are changeable and not as absolute as expectations. You strive for your goals, but that doesn't mean you have to achieve them. Expectations are absolute beliefs about one's game, which is not achieved can make players unravel. Goals are more flexible and help the athlete to focus on the process of execution. For example, a baseball pitcher can set a goal for number of walks allowed, hits allowed, and strikeouts for each game. This way when you give up a hit, you can play on with composure. If you have a question for Dr. Cohn, please contact Peak Performance Sports!


Dr. Patrick Cohn is a leading mental game coach, author, and professional speaker in the field of sports psychology. Visit www.peaksports.com for more info.

 

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