Turning setbacks into comebacks

5 Steps to turn Setbacks into Comebacks in Sport

It is in great adversity that we grow beyond our limits and expectations.

Setbacks is something that all champions have experienced sometime in their career and this could be because of many factors e.g. Injuries and ill health, not performing well at an event, not being selected or not making the cut etc. Some setbacks can be life changing; however, it remains incredibly inspiring to see how some athlete’s bounce back after a setback. Setbacks can be the inspiration to comeback even stronger and, many of the best athletes embrace setbacks.

Own It – Yes it happened!

Yes, stop with the excuses, what happened did happen. Your initial response, like most people, is normally to be shocked or surprised with a sense of denial. The fact is, it is true, it happened. Accept that it happened!

This is easier said than done and before we can really comprehend what happened, we hover in a place of denial and we even start to bargain with ourselves in how we could have or should have done things differently. You may even be really frustrated and angry and start to blame whoever or whatever. That’s right, it is easy to get caught up in the should have or could have thoughts, but what happened already happened and there is no denying that.

Recognize where you are, step into the moment and allow yourself to look at the situation with a new perspective. The sooner you can do that, the better for you. That is what champions do!

Feel it – Express your emotions

Initially you may feel a bit disorientated or overwhelmed, this is normal. Let your emotions serve their purpose and feel whatever emotions are coming up for you. No need to bottle it up. It is what it is, allow yourself a moment to express how you feel. Remember, emotions are energy in motion, therefore, let it flow, it is your strongest driving force. Use it! Just as you celebrate success, you need to acknowledge all your emotions, good or bad. Learning to sit with your emotions in this way is critical to your self-growth. Remember what you resist will persist, therefore let it out!

Once you have purged all of the emotions you need to remind yourself of WHY you want to achieve what you want to achieve. Your why will get you through in challenging times. Make sure you have a WHY! That is what champions do!

Get help – You are not alone

No need to hide or feel bad about what happened. That will get you nowhere. Now is the time to lean on your support team. You are not alone in this, and talking about it can help you get through your setback. Speak with people you trust and open up about how you feel about what happened. Although your experience of what happened is unique, it can be very helpful, to talk to others who have experienced similar situations. You can also get professional help and many amateur and professional athletes have a mind or mental coach. That is what champions do!

Perspective – What is the meaning you give it?

What if I tell you that: “It is never the situation that is the problem, but it is the meaning you give it.” Yes, how you look at what just happened, is what creates the feelings and emotions. Ask yourself: what is the meaning I am giving the situation? How am I looking at what happened? What is that first reaction that comes up?

Yes, you are disappointed, but how is that going to help you? Although you may feel things are out of control, you have a choice of how you want to look at the situation in a different way.

This is the time to become aware of how you can learn from what happened. STOP asking why it happened and rather start asking what will it take to overcome this.

Remember, the biggest comebacks are the result of setbacks. You can either have the experience break you or make you grow. That is what champions do!

Get on with it – No more ruminating

Remember: Even the darkest night will come to an end and the sun will shine again. To keep on dwelling on the past, will keep you in the past. There is a time to stop and look at the future and start to refocus your attention on what it will take to overcome your setback.

Reconnect with your WHY, and decide what you want to do. Once you know what you want and why you want it, take action towards achieving it. Decide what you want to let go of and start to focus on what you want to change.

Look at what you can change and what you need to do to comeback. Start working on a plan and if you don’t have one, ask and speak to whoever can help you. Take action and get on with it! That is what champions do!

Although we all face some kind of setback in life, how you choose to look at it, will determine the quality of your life. It is in great adversity that we grow beyond our limits and expectations.

About the author:

Bennie is committed in helping athletes, their families, and coaches enrich their lives through sport by: learning life skills, achieving high levels of performance, and enjoying their sport participation.

Bennie has helped many, coaches, parents, sport men and woman from amateur to World Champions with their mental approach to sport and works with client’s individually, on site or from his practice in Boston and also offers workshops and team events throughout South Africa.

The purpose of coaching is to inspire action, and the level of action, is a direct result of your thinking. Through coaching you can raise the level of your thinking, transcend your limitations, overcome challenges and blockages in order to achieve the results you desire.