The Overthinking Paradox – you can’t think your way out of overthinking.
Yet that’s what most athletes try to do, and instead, it only makes it worse!
Here are the main reasons why athletes get caught up in The Overthinking Paradox:
High Expectations about Results Setting high expectations about results (i.e., “I SHOULD achieve…”) is a common way of thinking that has costly drawbacks. By doing this your players are essentially setting a trap for their future self. When they don’t achieve the results that they think they SHOULD, then they will fall into The Overthinking Paradox. They get frustrated by not meeting their’s and others’ expectations, and then they tense up and try even harder to control the outcomes. This is called “Forcing It” and it goes hand-in-hand with overthinking.
The Need For Control The struggle to let go of control is at the root of overthinking. Your players want to have control over the uncontrollables. Rather than listening to their gut, trusting their instincts, and doing what FEELS best, they continue to force the results and try to control the situation. Sports are not a math problem or chess game, they can’t control their body to perform perfectly and achieve results. Instead, they need to let go of what they can not control and let their body do what they have trained it to do.
Fear of Failure The bottom line is The Overthinking Paradox is hard for your players to escape because they think failure is bad. So they try to control instead of trust themselves. This leads to failure. Because they failed they try harder and want to control the outcome even more, and the downward spiral goes on and on – a never-ending paradox of overthinking.
The good news is your players can escape The Overthinking Paradox.
Take Ryder McIntryre for example, during his OHL draft year he felt the pressure to perform and started to worry about the scouts – like many players in their OHL or NHL draft years.
He had lots of SHOULDS about his performance, he wanted to control the results and felt that every mistake was all negative (missing the learning opportunities) – not surprising he was in The Overthinking Paradox.
But through joining our programs he learned to stop setting expectations about results, let go of the need for control, and train his brain to perceive failure as a learning opportunity.
He was able to escape The Overthinking Paradox and, as a result, he improved his performance and was drafted in the 3rd round by the Sarnia Sting:
If you find yourself getting stuck in The Overthinking Paradox, then you will really benefit from one of our programs!