An expectation is something you expect to achieve, a goal or something to aspire to which in the competitive world of sports, plays a huge part in performance yet in my experience of working with players at high levels there is a common denominator that limits the growth and potential of players.
Unrealistic expectations set by others.
When someone else sets your expectations or the player hears the expectations from others so often they begin to believe them, the only outcome can be failure and it was this situation I found myself hearing from a current client.
This player had played at the highest level, representing his country yet inside he felt he was failing because he wasn’t able to live up to the expectation of others.
The unrealistic expectations he’s heard forever, left him questioning his ability and performance at the end of each game and this had gone on for many years.
He sees himself as a failure in some ways even though he’s doing well in some areas.
We talked and we were able to reframe his thinking and his understanding of expectations and the value of setting his own expectations because when you set your own expectations and achieve them, there is a greater sense of accomplishment and success than when others set you unrealistic expectations.
This reframing of his mindset frees him from the sense of failure of not living up the the unrealistic expectations which does two things:
Allows him to play more freely and with purpose
Heightens his well being
Many players are suffering due to unrealistic expectations placed on them, yet they tolerate them because they think being a professional sports player involves tolerating the hard times because that’s what it takes to win.
Coaches get it wrong when they set players unrealistic expectations, because they are simply setting them up to fail which can lead to some players dropping out of the game, losing motivation and in some instances worse, and who wins in these situations.
If you’re a coach, I urge you to talk to your players about expectations and the value in allowing them to set their own.
If you’re a player then I urge you to learn to set your own expectations and shut out the noise that others place on you.
Thanks for reading and remember to Take action, Reflect, Adjust and repeat
Play with purpose