Everything You Want Is On The Other Side Of Fear...

Fear is an interesting topic today, and generally, it brings up negative emotions and thoughts of failure. Do we have it backwards though... Should we instead be promoting fear to young athletes & adolescents, and helping them get into fearful situations more...

We're taught to run away from what scares us. It's ingrained in us from such an early age. But what if this is backwards. What if we should instead be running toward the fear...

I vividly remember a moment of my old baseball days when I was 16yrs old. I was sitting on the bench for 1st Grade, and had been called into the game - I was ecstatic - until I remembered who was pitching... It was an 18yr old who'd just come back from representing Australia and was throwing in excess of 85mph

I froze. The fear overtook me. My heart rate increased. Palms got sweaty. And I was breathing shallow and quick. I began to tell myself all the reasons I couldn't do this. I began to see myself getting hit, broken ribs, etc.. all the worst case scenario's

But one of the older 1st graders snapped me out of it. He said "Nick. It's just a ball. And, the harder he throws, the further you hit it..."

What did I learn from this? I learnt that I was capable of doing things I didn't think I could do. I learnt that doing the things that scare me aren't as scary as I thought they were - hell, it helped me skydive from 15,000 feet in NZ to get over my fear of heights

Imagine if we could reframe change in the young athletes and adolescents of today

What would this small change do for them... How powerful would this be in helping them grow as athletes and people... If they were taught to face adversity and the things that scare them, then imagine the lessons they could learn about themselves and life

There's a funny thing about "fear"... physiologically, it's the same as excitement. That heart racing, sweaty palms, shallow breath feeling you get when you're scared is the EXACT SAME feeling you get when you're excited

All that changes is the frame we use and the story(ies) we tell ourselves about what's going to happen to us

And herein lies the challenge, as when faced with "fear" - we need to teach young athletes to assess it, and think is this really fear, or am I excited about this opportunity staring me in the face. Generally, it will be fear, but it's simply a disguise that's saying that whatever is about to happen means something to us, and we're scared of the outcome...

But is that outcome truly as bad as you think it could be? What were the honest chances of me getting hit by stepping into that batters box... after assessing it, less likely than normal! As this guy was an Australian pitcher, so his control would be better than most

And by teaching young athletes and teens to acknowledge their fears, see the good in them, and realise the BS stories they tell themselves about what could go wrong, we can open them up to growth beyond comprehension

And also they will grasp opportunities they normally would have let slip...

Nick Maier