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Home > Programs > How to Deal With Disappointment

How to Deal With Disappointment

Dealing with disappointment can be challenging. At just sixteen Bianca Chatfield won a premiership in her first season at Phoenix and 2 years later was selected in the Australian team. However in 2010, prior to the Commonwealth games, Bianca was dropped from the squad and had to deal with the personal disappointment of a very public omission. Join Bianca on the Couch to gain the benefits of her crystal clear insights into belonging in sport.



Overcoming disappointment

As unpleasant as being disappointed can feel, there is a lot you can learn from it. But in order to overcome disappointment, you must first understand it. Some instances of disappointment can be prevented, however just like in Bianca’s case, sometimes they are unavoidable. Being able to recognise the difference between situations that fall within our control versus factors that are beyond our control is crucial to dealing with frustrations appropriately. 

Managing expectations

When experiencing disappointment, usually our expectations and hopes are out of line with reality. Oftentimes you are wishing for something or banking on something that is out of reach to begin with. But even reigning in your expectations can lead to  disappointment, as no experience is entirely free of it. Our desires can be unconscious and contradictory, which makes it hard to be satisfied with any outcome. 
If you’re a coach or player, while understanding that you have a good chance of winning the final, but it’s not definite, can soften the blow should you lose, you’ll likely still experience disappointment if you don’t win. Instead, managing expectations can put you in a better mindset and position to win. By facing the situation head on, you can focus on the best possible outcome for you and your team.

Developmental influences

The way we handle disappointment is directly related to how we’ve handled situations in the past, all the way to our formative, early experience. Some players avoid disappointment, consistently setting the bar low to avoid risks. However, this can quickly lead to mediocre and unfulfilling experiences.
On the other hand, others seek to avoid disappointment by overachieving. Even though they tell themselves that their expectations are realistic, this may not necessarily be true. Perfectionism rarely brings satisfaction, and more often than not, leads to disappointment as well.

Coping styles

Each player copes with bad news differently. It can often be a self-curative process that calls for personal growth and brings greater resilience, however there are different factors that can affect the way you handle disappointment.
Bianca says that being dropped from the team was really disappointing, and coping with the reality of the situation was really hard. One of the most difficult things to swallow was not receiving the best feedback in the moment, which can really help cope with disappointment.