How to Overcome Disappointment in Diving

There will be plenty of times when you work hard to accomplish a single task — make Nationals or qualify for NCAA Championships, for example — only to have your efforts crushed at the last moment. The feeling can overwhelm you. Learning how to deal with disappointment is important for every great athlete.

Below are four tips to help you rise above disappointment and cope with those inevitable losses.

Step 1. Stop & Think

When disappointment hits, try to calm down before you react. Disappointment often causes a gut reaction. Give yourself some time to evaluate the situation and cool down. Here are some suggestions that will help you maintain control:

  • Distance yourself: Change locations so you can think clearly. Sometimes merely changing your scenery can help you put things in perspective.
  • Breathe: Take a few deep breaths to help clear your mind and get rid of some of the negative energy you are experiencing.
  • Shift your focus: Think about what this situation will bring to you, rather than what it took from you.
  • Move on: Remember that life goes on. Tomorrow will come, regardless of today’s outcome.

Hot Tip: Stay in Control

Emotions can get the best of you. This may cause you to say and do things you normally wouldn’t. Keep your emotions in check so you don’t exaggerate a situation.

Step 2. Set Goals

Once you are able to calm down, set out a realistic plan and work to execute it. Write out your goals and reevaluate your plans. Consider what goals you already had, and ask yourself these important questions:

  • Are your goals realistic?
  • Do you need to re-evaluate anything?
  • Can you cross a goal off your list?
  • Are you being too hard on yourself?

All these questions are important to make sure you can rise above the current situation, learn from it, and become a stronger competitor.

Step 3. Put Things in Perspective

Remember, you started diving to have fun. While losing is not fun, it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. The power is in your hands — you get to choose. You can either let disappointment keep you down, or you can rise above it. Try to think about the following points:

  • Reminisce: Think back to before you were able to perform a specific dive. Remember what it took to overcome that obstacle? You must realize goals that once seemed impossible can be achieved given time.
  • Look beyond diving: The pain and disappointment you are experiencing are real, but minor in comparison to many problems. Don’t blow things out of proportion.
  • Focus on fun: Diving is meant to be fun. Even in the midst of disappointment, look for the joy you find in the sport.

Hot Tip: Failing & Failure

Remember that failing is not the same thing as being a failure. Rather, think of losing as a step along the path towards success.

Step 4: Rely on Coach & Family Support

The support of your friends, family, and coach will help you overcome disappointment with grace and dignity. These people care for you, want you to succeed, and will help you realize your potential. A friend or a family member can encourage you, help you see yourself beyond diving, and give you a needed confidence-boost. A coach is a great resource to help you focus on your goals, challenge you, and guide you to become a stronger diver. During times of disappointment, it’s important to rely on those who support you.

Resilience is Power

Believe it or not, disappointment makes you stronger. In the moment, it often feels like the pain you are experiencing will break you. Have confidence that this pain is temporary. Beyond the pain lies success. Never stop working to achieve your goals. One day, you will look back at this disappointment as a stronger, more successful diver.

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