These thoughts on courage and fear from Dr. Alan Goldberg are essential when it comes to achieving excellence in ultimate:
A lot of people think that courage is the absence of fear. Incorrect! You really can’t have courage without the presence of a fear-inspiring challenge. Simply put, there has to be something fearful in order for you to feel courage. Understand that both the hero and coward feel fear. What makes you courageous is what you then do with the fear that you’re feeling. The coward feels fear and quickly moves away from the source of the discomfort. He/she avoids the behavior or situation that’s frightening. The hero feels the fear, moves towards it and goes ahead and says or does whatever he/she was afraid of despite the fear.
Embracing fear is an ongoing challenge for ultimate players of every level. It exists on the field, in our training, and in our mental preparation. Because of the intense level of dedication that we put into our sport, we naturally face adversity and are challenged to handle the possibility that the outcome won’t match our desires.
Jen Pashley wrote about fear on Skyd Magazine in the context of trying out for Fury, and getting the opportunity to share her experience doing so through writing. It’s easy to see how Jen functionalizes Dr. Goldberg’s idea of moving towards fear by asking herself what is causing the fear and analyzing the situation to take control of it.
But instead of giving up, let’s ask ourselves: why are we so scared of failure? Failure is a part of life. it’s how we learn, how we grow, and how we ultimately succeed. I don’t know if I will end my journey in failure, but I’m not going to let fear stop me from trying.
The opportunity for growth that Jen and Dr. Goldberg find in moments of fear is the key to improving in these situations. We can’t expect to always dominate our fear, but we have to face the situations that initiate it head on if we want to take our ultimate playing and preparation to the next level. The connection in these two writers’ perspectives extends, as they agree that avoiding fear only lets it keep us from our goals and potential.
How have you dealt with fear in the past? Do Jen’s story and Dr. Goldberg’s advice remind you of a situation when you had to meet fear in your ultimate career?