The Right Way to Fail
You’ll be a stronger athlete if you focus on negative emotions.
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“After a race or another sporting event, athletes should take a few minutes to feel badly about any disappointing performance and not allow what we call 'self-protective' cognitions—thoughts like ‘That other competitor didn't play fairly’ or ‘It's not a big deal anyway’—to come up,” Nelson says. Instead, focusing on the disappointment can help prevent it in the future. “When people come across a situation that activates those original unfavorable emotions, we work to avoid feeling them again and (hopefully) make better choices,” she explains, which could mean training with a more laser-focused approach next time.