The ONE Thing We ALL Do (and we shouldn’t)

Sport Psychology Countering

Hello Outperformer,

I’ve recently been doing performance coaching with a new client. She’s a diver, very high level, and is hoping to land a Div-1 scholarship.

She has a big meet coming up and is worried about a new dive she’s been working on. I’ve had to learn all kinds of fancy diver lingo like “smacking”…which is kind of like when I was younger and used to intentionally belly flop off the diving board.

In my case, it was fun. In her case, it’s bad 🙂

When she told me about her fear, I asked her the following questions:

“How long have you been working on this dive?”
Answer: 6 months

“How many times have you successfully completed this dive?”
Answer: Hundreds, at least

“If we were to walk over to the pool right now and I had you do this dive ten times, how many times would you smack?”
Answer: Probably one…or none

“So, then, WHY are you worried about the dive???”

In performance psychology we call this strategy “Countering.” The easiest way to explain it is that you’re a lawyer and you’re making a counter-argument against your own fears, worries and insecurities that are not grounded in logic.

We ALL do this, too. It is one of the reasons people hire coaches – because our ability to separate perception from reality isn’t always perfect.

Logically speaking, she has absolutely no reason to doubt her abilities. Yet, she still does. If you’ve been worried or fearful of something, take a BIG step back and ask yourself the same rational question. Are you giving yourself an irrational answer?

Aside from pointing out the faulty logic, my other advice was one of my favorites:

Even if the random happens and she smacks her dive, she'll be gathering feedback about what she can do to improve and make it better the next time around. Right?

(Much of the time our worries and fears are also from not wanting to feel like a "failure")

Wishing you a great day and keep Outperforming!