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Coach Lain’s Top 12 Causes of

PERFORMANCE

Anxieties

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You are not defined by how many times you fail, but how many times you get back up until you succeed!

We’re not so different us humans. Here are 12 common causes of performance anxieties I’ve encountered over the years.

It’s not a contradiction, it’s click-bait!
If you’re not much of a reader,
START HERE!

INTRODUCTION

Centuries of cultural, religious and social conditioning have corrupted our perceptions of fear. Fear is not something that can be “crushed”, “conquered”, “defeated” or “overcome”. Likewise, it cannot be ignored or “willed” away. These “motivational tactics” and catch phrases have clouded our judgment and kept us from properly preparing for the moment when we hit a wall in our development, and are held back from embracing our greatness by crippling immobility and indecisiveness. 

Before you can ever begin to perform with confidence, you must first learn to understand your fear, as fully and completely as possible. Then, and only then, will you be able to outperform your fears. 

In the absence of specificity and understanding, fear THRIVES! If we seek to understand MORE, we can learn to fear fear itself LESS.

Coach Lain

While mine is not a comprehensive or final say in the area of performance psychology, it is a collective work based off of years of theoretical research and empirical research performed every day while coaching. It is a methodology that is constantly evolving and being refined as I am continuously seeking how to help you and your athletes better understand their fears and outperform their performance anxieties. With that being said, let’s get to the question that brought you here in the first place:

Does my athlete have a mental block? 

So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

DOES MY ATHLETE HAVE

A “MENTAL BLOCK”?

In a very simple word, NO. At least not in the way you’re using the term. “Mental Block” is a term used to describe one’s inability to recall some mental action, process, or recall a memory or some specific information. Human beings experience mental blocks more commonly than we realize – writer’s or creative blocks are the most common forms of mental blocks. However, lethologica (also known as “Tip of the Tongue Syndrome”) and threshold syndrome (also known as the “Doorway Effect”) are more common forms of mental blocks that we all experience. Unfortunately, cheerleading and other performance-based sports have adopted the term to describe when an athlete is paralyzed by fear, crippled by performance anxiety and is unable to perform their skill.

DOES MY ATHLETE HAVE A “MENTAL BLOCK”?

DOES MY ATHLETE HAVE A “MENTAL BLOCK”?

In a very simple word, NO. At least not in the way you’re using the term. “Mental Block” is a term used to describe one’s inability to recall some mental action, process, or recall a memory or some specific information. Human beings experience mental blocks more commonly than we realize – writer’s or creative blocks are the most common forms of mental blocks. However, lethologica (also known as “Tip of the Tongue Syndrome”) and threshold syndrome (also known as the “Doorway Effect”) are more common forms of mental blocks that we all experience. Unfortunately, cheerleading and other performance-based sports have adopted the term to describe when an athlete is paralyzed by fear, crippled by performance anxiety and is unable to perform their skill.

The reason us humans have erroneously associated a “mental block” with an inability to perform a physical action is due to our brain’s ability to call other physiological responses into action when trying to use fear to discourage your intended course of action. Fear is an interesting beast because it is psychological, biological AND emotional. From a biological standpoint, fear is VERY necessary to our survival as humans. Working off association, the brain learns to take shortcuts allowing us to process information faster and get from thought to action much quicker. The fear circuit in our brains is an extra special shortcut that allows dangerous stimuli to bypass parts of the brain normally involved in sensory processing. It is the only biochemical response that has the ability to bypass the sensory cortex (the brain’s sensory processing center) and head straight to the amygdala (the emotional processing center). This is a unique feature of fear, in which it can bypass the act of processing information and go straight to action.

This is what is commonly referred to as “fight or flight”, a physiological reaction that happens within the body in which hormones are released to prime the body for action (we can talk about why I believe the term “fight or flight” to be rhetorically flawed another time :D). This is where the confusion of what is and is not a mental block happens. 

The Fight or Flight Response (or Acute Stress Response) is when the body’s sympathetic nervous system is activated due to the sudden release of hormones. The sympathetic nervous systems stimulate the adrenal glands triggering the release of catecholamines, which include adrenaline and noradrenaline. This results in an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate.2 After the threat is gone, it takes between 20 to 60 minutes for the body to return to its pre-arousal levels.

Here’s what’s so interesting: these symptoms are the same for both real and perceived threats. If you are experiencing a psychological fear (a perceived threat), you’re going to experience the same physical symptoms as you would when facing a physical threat! This means that when you or your athlete is experiencing a performance anxiety while attempting to perform a physical skill, they might think it is a mental block because they feel mental angst while experiencing physical symptoms! 

The Fight or Flight Response (or Acute Stress Response) is when the body’s sympathetic nervous system is activated due to the sudden release of hormones. The sympathetic nervous systems stimulate the adrenal glands triggering the release of catecholamines, which include adrenaline and noradrenaline. This results in an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate.2 After the threat is gone, it takes between 20 to 60 minutes for the body to return to its pre-arousal levels.

Here’s what’s so interesting: these symptoms are the same for both real and perceived threats. If you are experiencing a psychological fear (a perceived threat), you’re going to experience the same physical symptoms as you would when facing a physical threat! This means that when you or your athlete is experiencing a performance anxiety while attempting to perform a physical skill, they might think it is a mental block because they feel mental angst while experiencing physical symptoms! 

Remember, the skill itself is formulaic and is designed for success. WE, the human variable, get plugged into the formula and make it difficult.

Coach Lain

Remember, the skill itself is formulaic and is designed for success. WE, the human variable, get plugged into the formula and make it difficult.

Coach Lain

WHAT IS “PERFORMANCE ANXIETY”?

Enter the term “performance anxiety”. What you or your athlete is experiencing is not a “mental block”, but instead is a “performance anxiety”, which is an incredibly important term to begin using to describe your reluctance to execute a certain skill due to a heightened perceived stress level. 

Typically defined as “an unpleasant psychological state in reaction to perceived stress concerning the performance of a task under pressure”, anxiety is a VERY common emotional state experienced by athletes at all levels of performance. The medical definition of anxiety describes it as, “a state consisting of psychological and physical symptoms brought about by a sense of apprehension of a perceived threat”. It also goes on to state that anxiety can differ according to the situation and the individual.

Fear is the link between these psychological and physical symptoms. Psychological fear has the unique ability among all of the body’s biochemical responses to manifest itself in physical form. Have you ever gone to perform your skill and began sweating, shaking, or tearing up? What about fighting the urge to cry, out of frustration and confusion? What about your heart, has it ever started beating hard? How about your breathing? Has it ever suddenly gotten harder to breathe while standing there, trying to perform your skill? If you’ve ever experienced any of these symptoms, you now know why! Your brain is trying to confuse your rational, logical mind by causing physical reactions to your illogical, irrational fear.

WHAT IS “PERFORMANCE ANXIETY”?

Enter the term “performance anxiety”. What you or your athlete is experiencing is not a “mental block”, but instead is a “performance anxiety”, which is an incredibly important term to begin using to describe your reluctance to execute a certain skill due to a heightened perceived stress level. 

Typically defined as “an unpleasant psychological state in reaction to perceived stress concerning the performance of a task under pressure”, anxiety is a VERY common emotional state experienced by athletes at all levels of performance. The medical definition of anxiety describes it as, “a state consisting of psychological and physical symptoms brought about by a sense of apprehension of a perceived threat”. It also goes on to state that anxiety can differ according to the situation and the individual.

Fear is the link between these psychological and physical symptoms. Psychological fear has the unique ability among all of the body’s biochemical responses to manifest itself in physical form. Have you ever gone to perform your skill and began sweating, shaking, or tearing up? What about fighting the urge to cry, out of frustration and confusion? What about your heart, has it ever started beating hard? How about your breathing? Has it ever suddenly gotten harder to breathe while standing there, trying to perform your skill? If you’ve ever experienced any of these symptoms, you now know why! Your brain is trying to confuse your rational, logical mind by causing physical reactions to your illogical, irrational fear.

Fear is the link between these psychological and physical symptoms. Psychological fear has the unique ability among all of the body’s biochemical responses to manifest itself in physical form. Have you ever gone to perform your skill and began sweating, shaking, or tearing up? What about fighting the urge to cry, out of frustration and confusion? What about your heart, has it ever started beating hard? How about your breathing? Has it ever suddenly gotten harder to breathe while standing there, trying to perform your skill? If you’ve ever experienced any of these symptoms, you now know why! Your brain is trying to confuse your rational, logical mind by causing physical reactions to your illogical, irrational fear.

It’s time to stop listening to the LIES of fear and start hearing the TRUTHS of technique.

Coach Lain

It’s time to stop listening to the LIES of fear and start hearing the TRUTHS of technique.

Coach Lain

FEAR AS A MOTIVATOR

First of all, great job! You are now starting to understand how to get to a point where your focus should no longer be to “overcome”, “conquer” or get rid of your fear. Why? Because that’s impossible! Fear is intrinsically woven into our DNA as human beings.

Biologically speaking, fear is there to warn us of “clear and present” dangers, things we should avoid as they will most likely end with us getting injured or killed if we don’t change our intended course of action. The most important takeaway here is that biological fear is a result of a clear and present danger.

First of all, great job! You are now starting to understand how to get to a point where your focus should no longer be to “overcome”, “conquer” or get rid of your fear. Why? Because that’s impossible! Fear is intrinsically woven into our DNA as human beings.

Biologically speaking, fear is there to warn us of “clear and present” dangers, things we should avoid as they will most likely end with us getting injured or killed if we don’t change our intended course of action. The most important takeaway here is that biological fear is a result of a clear and present danger.

Psychologically speaking, fear is an irrational response to discomfort, or any thing the brain perceives will cause us discomfort or distress. This is usually a response to us trying something new, different or unfamiliar. If the brain is an ancient calculator, constantly calculating our odds of success and failure based on the level of risk it perceives, then “new” and “unfamiliar” are always going to run a higher level of risk! So “new” to the brain is always to be avoided if it causes us any form of discomfort or distress. But this feeling we experience when trying or facing something new can also be a great indication of when you’re about to step out of your comfort zone and try something amazing!

SO HOW DO I “OUTPERFORM” MY FEAR?

The important takeaway here is that psychological fear is irrational, and is the brain’s natural response to anything outside of its zone of comfort, scope of understanding, and feeling of complacent safety.

This means two things: First, that any reaction of fear that you have, rational or irrational, is completely natural; and second, it’s a great indicator of when you’re about to do something amazing!

When you are able to not only be able to recognize the symptoms of your performance anxiety, its triggers and the reasons behind it, but also understand the specifics of your own particular fear, you will be able to begin to recognize your fear as not something to be afraid of but instead something that is telling you you’re about to try something new!  

SO HOW DO I “OUTPERFORM” MY FEAR?

The important takeaway here is that psychological fear is irrational, and is the brain’s natural response to anything outside of its zone of comfort, scope of understanding, and feeling of complacent safety.

This means two things: First, that any reaction of fear that you have, rational or irrational, is completely natural; and second, it’s a great indicator of when you’re about to do something amazing!

When you are able to not only be able to recognize the symptoms of your performance anxiety, its triggers and the reasons behind it, but also understand the specifics of your own particular fear, you will be able to begin to recognize your fear as not something to be afraid of but instead something that is telling you you’re about to try something new!  

New doesn’t always have to be something scary. It can be an indication of you about to step into the next stage of your development as an individual and athlete, and a step towards embracing the greatness you were designed for! Fear is not something you can get rid of, and psychological fear is your brain’s response to discomfort, distress and low confidence. If we can seek to understand more, we can learn to recognize our acute stress responses that trigger our performance anxiety, and gain a greater understanding of oursleves and our abilities. In a way, we can learn to fear fear itself less! The more you work to understand your fear, and the more often you do so, the greater your confidence will be in understanding that fear. With greater understanding and confidence, we can outperform ANY fear! 

THIS WAS GREAT! WHERE DO I GO FROM HERE?

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Coach Lain is a traveling performance coach specializing in technique, fear management and performance psychology, and helping athletes to build up their confidence through understanding to better outperform said fears! He is a neuroscience enthusiast who shares his obsession for understanding fear on his podcast, The Fear Less University. You can find him on Instagram where he is most active throughout the day.

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THIS WAS GREAT! WHERE DO I GO FROM HERE?

HIRE ME TO SPEAK AT YOUR EVENT

Coach Lain is a passionate, enthusiastic educator eager to speak at your school, gym or next event!

BOOK A CLINIC, CLASS OR SPEAKING EVENT

Whether it’s training for your athletes, coaching staff, or a group of your parents, Coach Lain Helps!

CHECK OUT MY FREE RESOURCES

From Youtube to Spotify, I’m working every day to provide you with quality content to consume!

Outperforming Fear

Learn How to Use Your Fear to Perform at Your Highest Level

Before you can ever begin to perform with confidence, you must first learn to understand your fear, as fully and completely as possible. Then and only then will you be able to outperform your fears.

Get my eBook, Outperforming Fear, in which I outline my TOP 3 STEPS for effectively outperforming any mental fear or performance anxiety you’re struggling with! If you or your athlete has been crippled by performance anxiety, fear, or frustration, has been unable to perform and is at their wit’s end, this is the book for you!

Click the button below to claim your FREE digital copy today!

Shipping late December 2019! 

 

Outperforming Fear

Learn How to Use Your Fear to Perform at Your Highest Level

Before you can ever begin to perform with confidence, you must first learn to understand your fear, as fully and completely as possible. Then and only then will you be able to outperform your fears.

Get my eBook, Outperforming Fear, in which I outline my TOP 3 STEPS for effectively outperforming any mental fear or performance anxiety you’re struggling with! If you or your athlete has been crippled by performance anxiety, fear, or frustration, has been unable to perform and is at their wit’s end, this is the book for you!

Click the button below to claim your FREE digital copy today!

Shipping late December 2019! 

 

Learn How to Use Your Fear to Perform at Your Highest Level!

Fear Less University
A High Performing Podcast for High Performing Individuals!

The Fear Less University is my podcast where we discuss, dissect and examine some of life’s greatest fears. What we do is not an exact science, but in all things, we seek understanding. Because if we can seek to understand more, we can learn to fear “fear itself” less.

I’ll admit, the cover is a little “click bait”-y, but it serves a purpose. One of the ways to redefine the culture is by utilizing the vernacular to convey new ideas!

In this episode of The Fear Less U, I identify 3 ways to outperform your fear and overcome your performance anxiety!

Listen for FREE TODAY on these trusted platforms!

I love your podcast! I feel like I don’t need to be so hard on myself, and I can just go back to the basics just to make sure everything is good. I’m going to try to share my fears with my coach to see if that helps, as well as just working on the basics and slowly move on til I know I feel more comfortable!

Kylie

CONTACT

I'm always looking for new programs and teams to work with! Fill out the contact form and let's get to work! Or you can always email me directly!

Coach Lain, LLC | e: info@coachlain.com | p: 650.648.3719

Coach Lain, LLC
e: info@coachlain.com 
p: 650.648.3719

© 2020 Coach Lain LLC. | All Rights Reserved.

© 2020 Coach Lain LLC. | All Rights Reserved.

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