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Battling Athlete Anger – It’s All About the Process

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If you are a fitness enthusiast or competitor that finds yourself “freaking out” or doing a “slow burn” when you lose a competition or don’t meet your expectations, you are not alone. This tendency to explode or implode is something I refer to as athlete anger.  

Let me first begin by saying that there is nothing wrong with wanting to win. However, when you become so fixated on winning, you are doomed to experience the opposite effect and all of the emotions associated with it.  These types of athletes are often referred to as outcome thinkers because they focus solely on results. Outcome thinkers truly believe that in order to be happy they “must win all of the time.” However, because winning all of the time is a logical impossibility, you will be continually disappointed and never truly satisfied with your efforts leading to bouts of athlete anger. 

So, instead of playing to win, as an outcome thinking athlete you will end up learning to fear failure because of the impossible expectations that you have placed upon yourself. With an outcome thinking approach you see winning as a “right” that belongs to you rather than a privilege that belongs to everyone and you will do anything it takes to maintain this so-called right, including breaking the rules. That’s why you see coaches getting into altercations and competitors using steroids to get that extra edge over their opponents. 

Now, many coaches and competitors will have you believe that this “winning-at-all-costs” mindset is the only approach out there that will lead you to success in sports and fitness, but nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, every fitness competitor or athlete that I have ever encountered who uses this approach eventually suffers from burnout, stress, depression, anxiety and, yes, athlete anger.

Fortunately, there is an alternative in the form of the “winning-at-the-right-costs” approach known as process thinking. This approach teaches you how to convert negative core beliefs such as “I must always be the best” into positive core beliefs such as “I am doing my very best.” Process thinking also helps you prepare yourself as best you can, perform at a peak level, develop the tools to deal with life’s challenges, and effectively manage your anger.

It may be worth changing your “mind,” don’t you think?

For more information, feel free to contact Stephen directly at

Remember, if you can think it, you can do it!