Hey there! Let’s talk about something that affects every athlete: fear of change. 

Yep, you heard me right. 

Fear of change can hold you back! 

It can stop you from becoming the best version of yourself. 

As a sports psychologist specializing in ACT therapy, I’ve seen it all.

Let me explain:

What is Fear of Change?

Fear of change is pretty simple.

It’s the anxiety you feel when faced with new situations. 

New coach? 

Or a new team? 

New training method? 

These can all trigger fear of change. 

It’s normal, but it can be a huge roadblock!

Fear of change often stems from the unknown. 

When things change, we lose our sense of control. 

This loss can be unsettling. 

For athletes, this fear can be even more intense. The pressure to perform adds another layer of anxiety.

Imagine you’re an athlete who’s spent years perfecting a routine. 

Suddenly, a new coach comes in with different techniques. 

Your first reaction? Panic. That’s fear of change kicking in. 

It’s a fear that what worked before won’t work anymore.

Fear of change can manifest in different ways. 

Some athletes may experience physical symptoms like sweating, increased heart rate, or muscle tension. 

Others might find themselves overthinking and doubting their abilities. It can also lead to avoidance behavior—skipping practice or avoiding new drills.

Another aspect of fear of change is the fear of losing identity!

Athletes often tie their identity to their sport and routines. 

When change happens, it feels like losing a part of themselves. 

This can be particularly challenging during major transitions, like moving from amateur to professional levels.

Fear of change isn’t just about big transitions. 

Even small changes can trigger it. 

Tweaking your diet, adjusting your training schedule, or trying a new technique can all spark anxiety. 

It’s important to recognize that fear of change is a natural response to stepping out of your comfort zone.

However, in the competitive world of sports, change is constant! 

New competitors, evolving strategies, and advancing technology all demand adaptability.

Athletes who can’t manage their fear of change may find themselves stuck. They might cling to outdated methods or resist necessary improvements.

Understanding fear of change is the first step to overcoming it. 

It’s a common issue, but it doesn’t have to control you. By acknowledging this fear, you can start working towards managing it effectively. 

Embracing change, rather than fighting it, opens up new possibilities and pathways to success.

How Fear of Change Affects Athletes

Athletes often fear change because it disrupts their routine. 

Routine is comfortable. Change is not!

But guess what? 

Staying in your comfort zone won’t make you better!

Fear of change can cause stress, lower performance, and even lead to burnout.

Fear of change often leads to performance anxiety. 

When athletes face new situations, they might worry about not meeting expectations. 

This anxiety can make it hard to focus. It can lead to mistakes and poor performance during crucial moments.

Confidence also takes a hit when athletes fear change. 

They start doubting their abilities. 

What if the new training method doesn’t work? 

What if they can’t adapt to the new team dynamics? These doubts can erode self-belief, which is vital for success in sports.

Fear of change can manifest physically. 

Increased heart rate, sweating, and muscle tension are common. 

These symptoms can negatively impact performance. It’s hard to play your best when your body is in fight-or-flight mode.

When fear of change takes over, athletes may resist improvement. 

They might stick to old methods that are no longer effective. 

This resistance prevents growth. 

It keeps athletes from reaching their full potential. Embracing new techniques and strategies is essential for progress.

Fear of change can lead to isolation. 

Athletes may withdraw from their teammates and coaches.

They might avoid seeking help or discussing their fears. This isolation can lead to feelings of loneliness and frustration, further impacting performance.

Constant worry about change can lead to mental fatigue. 

Athletes might find themselves overthinking every decision. 

This mental exhaustion can reduce motivation and make it harder to stay committed to their goals. Maintaining mental sharpness is crucial for peak performance.

In team sports, fear of change can affect the entire group. 

If one player is resistant to change, it can create tension. 

It can disrupt team cohesion and lead to conflicts. A unified team that embraces change together is much stronger.

Athletes who fear change risk career stagnation. 

Sports are constantly evolving!

New techniques, technologies, and strategies emerge regularly. Athletes who can’t adapt might find themselves falling behind. 

Staying open to change is crucial for long-term success.

The emotional toll of fearing change is significant!

Constant anxiety and stress can lead to feelings of helplessness and despair. 

This emotional strain can impact an athlete’s overall well-being and mental health. 

Managing these emotions is key to maintaining a balanced life.

Fear of change can lead to missed opportunities. 

Athletes might shy away from new roles or challenges. 

They might decline offers to join better teams or try different sports. 

Embracing change opens doors to new experiences and achievements.

Prolonged fear of change can lead to burnout. 

The constant stress and resistance wear athletes down. They might lose passion for their sport and consider quitting. 

Preventing burnout requires addressing fear of change and learning to adapt positively.

Understanding how fear of change affects athletes is crucial!

Recognizing these impacts can motivate you to take steps to manage this fear. 

Embracing change, rather than resisting it, can lead to significant personal and professional growth.

ACT Therapy to the Rescue

ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) is a game-changer! 

It helps you accept your fears and commit to action. 

Fear of change doesn’t stand a chance with ACT. 

This therapy focuses on embracing your thoughts and feelings, not fighting them.


First, we embrace the fear of change! Sounds weird, right? 

But it works. 

Accepting that fear of change is part of the process helps you move past it. 

In ACT, we don’t try to eliminate fear. 

Instead, we learn to coexist with it. This acceptance reduces the power fear has over you. It’s about acknowledging the fear without letting it dictate your actions.

Cognitive Defusion

Next, we use cognitive defusion. 

This fancy term means separating yourself from your thoughts. 

Fear of change and fear of failure are just thoughts. 

They don’t define yo!. 

Through techniques like visualization and mindfulness, you learn to see thoughts as mere mental events. 

This helps reduce their impact. 

For example, you might visualize your fear as a cloud passing in the sky, which helps detach from the anxiety it causes.

Being Present

Being present is crucial!

Mindfulness helps you stay focused on the here and now. 

When fear of change creeps in, mindfulness keeps you grounded. 

Practices like deep breathing, meditation, and body scans can help you stay connected to the present moment. 

This focus prevents your mind from spiraling into “what if” scenarios. It keeps you centered and calm.


Values drive your actions! 

What matters most to you? 

Identify your core values. 

Use them to guide you through fear of change. 

When you align your actions with your values, fear becomes less intimidating. 

For instance, if one of your core values is growth, you’ll see change as an opportunity rather than a threat. This shift in perspective empowers you to embrace change.

Committed Action

Finally, take action! 

Even if it’s scary. 

Commit to steps that align with your values. 

Fear of change won’t stop you if you’re committed. ACT encourages setting small, manageable goals that lead to larger changes. 

This step-by-step approach makes the process less overwhelming. Each small success builds confidence and momentum.

Support System

Working with a sports psychologist trained in ACT can provide additional support. 

They can guide you through exercises, offer feedback, and help tailor the approach to your specific needs. 

A professional can also help you stay accountable and motivated.

Fear of Failure

Fear of change often comes with fear of failure! 

What if you fail? It’s a common worry. 

ACT helps here too. 

Accept that failure is part of the journey! 

Learn from it!

Move on!

Fear of failure loses its grip when you see it as a learning opportunity.

Fear of failure can be paralyzing!

Athletes might hesitate to take risks or try new strategies. 

This hesitation can lead to missed opportunities and stunted growth. 

The pressure to succeed and the fear of the unknown can create a mental block. 

It’s crucial to understand that fear of failure is a natural part of pushing boundaries.

Fear of failure can severely impact an athlete’s confidence. 

Constant worry about making mistakes or not meeting expectations can erode self-esteem. 

This lack of confidence can affect performance and hinder progress. 

Overcoming this fear requires building resilience and focusing on personal growth rather than just outcomes.

Fear of failure often leads to avoidance behavior. 

Athletes might avoid challenging situations where there’s a risk of failing. 

This avoidance can prevent them from improving and reaching their full potential. It’s important to face these fears head-on and see them as opportunities to learn and grow.

One way to combat fear of failure is to reframe how you view failure. 

Instead of seeing it as a negative outcome, view it as feedback. 

Each failure provides valuable information about what works and what doesn’t. This perspective shift can reduce the fear associated with failure and encourage a growth mindset.

Adopting a growth mindset is key to overcoming fear of failure. 

A growth mindset focuses on learning and improvement rather than fixed abilities. 

Athletes with a growth mindset see challenges and failures as opportunities to develop their skills. This approach reduces the fear of failure and fosters resilience.

How to Identify Fear of Change

Notice if you’re avoiding new opportunities!

Are you sticking to the same routine because it’s safe? 

That’s fear of change! 

Self-assessment is key. 

Be honest with yourself!

Common Signs of Fear of Change

Avoidance Behavior

Avoidance behavior is a clear indicator! 

If you’re skipping practice because a new coach introduced different drills, or avoiding meetings where changes are discussed, fear of change might be at play. 

Avoidance can manifest in subtle ways, like procrastination or finding reasons to delay new plans.

Physical Symptoms

Physical symptoms can also signal fear of change. 

These might include increased heart rate, sweating, or muscle tension when thinking about upcoming changes. 

Physical discomfort often accompanies anxiety about new situations, making it a tangible sign of fear of change.

Overthinking and Indecisiveness

Overthinking every decision related to change is another sign. 

If you spend excessive time weighing pros and cons or imagining worst-case scenarios, fear of change could be the culprit. 

Indecisiveness, where making decisions becomes a paralyzing task, is also common.

Resistance to Feedback

Resistance to feedback and suggestions for improvement can indicate fear of change. 

If you find yourself getting defensive or dismissive when coaches or teammates suggest changes, it’s worth considering if fear is driving this resistance.

Emotional Reactions

Emotional reactions like frustration, anger, or sadness when faced with the prospect of change can also be telling. 

These emotions might arise because change threatens your sense of stability and comfort. Recognizing these emotional responses is crucial for identifying fear of change.


Self-doubt often accompanies fear of change. 

Questioning your ability to adapt or succeed in new situations is a common experience.

If you frequently doubt your capacity to handle changes, this can be a sign that fear of change is holding you back.

Reluctance to Set New Goals

Reluctance to set new goals or take on new challenges can also indicate fear of change. 

If you’re avoiding goal-setting because it involves stepping into the unknown, fear of change might be the reason. 

New goals often require new approaches and adaptations.

Comparing to Past Successes

Constantly comparing new opportunities to past successes is another sign. If you find yourself longing for the “old ways” and fearing that new methods won’t measure up, it’s likely fear of change influencing your perspective. This nostalgia can prevent you from embracing necessary changes.

Seeking Reassurance

Seeking excessive reassurance from others about changes can also be a sign. 

If you need constant validation from coaches, teammates, or family that the change is “okay,” it might indicate underlying fear. 

This need for reassurance can stem from a lack of confidence in handling change.

Journaling and Reflection

One effective way to identify fear of change is through journaling and reflection. 

Write about your thoughts and feelings regarding upcoming changes. Look for patterns of anxiety, avoidance, or negative thinking. 

This practice can bring subconscious fears to the surface.

Self-Assessment Tools

Using self-assessment tools can also help. 

There are various questionnaires and surveys designed to identify fear of change. 

These tools can provide insight into your mindset and highlight specific areas where fear is most pronounced.

Professional Guidance

Seeking professional guidance from a sports psychologist can provide valuable insights. 

They can help you identify signs of fear of change that you might overlook. 

A professional can also offer strategies to manage and overcome these fears effectively.

Identifying fear of change is the first step in overcoming it. 

By recognizing the signs and understanding how this fear manifests, you can take proactive steps to address it. 

Embracing change and learning to navigate it confidently will pave the way for growth and success in your athletic journey.

Overcoming Fear of Change

Start small!

Try new things in low-pressure situations. Gradually, fear of change will lessen. Build a support system. Coaches, teammates, and family can help.

Embrace a Growth Mindset

Adopting a growth mindset is essential for overcoming fear of change. 

View challenges as opportunities to learn rather than threats. 

Embrace the idea that abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work. 

This mindset shift makes change feel less intimidating and more manageable.

Set Incremental Goals

Break down larger changes into smaller, manageable goals. 

This step-by-step approach makes the process less overwhelming. 

Achieving these smaller goals builds confidence and momentum, making the larger change feel more achievable. 

Celebrate each small success along the way.

Practice Self-Compassion

Be kind to yourself when facing changes. 

Understand that it’s normal to feel anxious or uncertain. 

Self-compassion reduces negative self-talk and helps maintain a positive mindset. 

Remind yourself that it’s okay to make mistakes and that every effort is a step towards growth.

Visualize Success

Visualization is a powerful tool.

Picture yourself successfully adapting to the change. 

Imagine overcoming obstacles and achieving your goals. 

This mental rehearsal can boost confidence and reduce anxiety. 

Visualization makes the unknown more familiar and less daunting.

Develop Resilience

Building resilience helps you cope with change more effectively. 

Engage in activities that strengthen your mental and emotional well-being. 

Practices like mindfulness, meditation, and deep breathing can enhance your ability to stay calm and focused during transitions.

Seek Professional Support

Working with a sports psychologist can provide valuable support. 

They can help you develop strategies to manage fear of change and offer techniques tailored to your specific needs. 

Professional guidance can make a significant difference in navigating changes successfully.

Create a Positive Environment

Surround yourself with positive influences. 

A supportive environment can make a big difference in how you handle change. 

Coaches, teammates, and family members who encourage and support you can boost your confidence and provide reassurance during transitions.

Focus on What You Can Control

Concentrate on aspects of the change that are within your control. 

This focus can reduce feelings of helplessness and increase a sense of agency. 

By taking proactive steps and making deliberate choices, you can navigate change more effectively.

Reflect on Past Successes

Think about times in the past when you successfully adapted to change. 

Reflect on what strategies worked and how you overcame challenges. 

Drawing on these experiences can provide confidence and remind you that you have the capability to handle new situations.

Develop Coping Strategies

Identify and develop coping strategies that work for you. 

This might include deep breathing exercises, journaling, or talking with a friend. 

Having go-to methods for managing stress can make change feel less overwhelming.

Engage in Positive Self-Talk

Replace negative thoughts with positive affirmations. 

Encourage yourself with statements like, “I can handle this,” or “Change is an opportunity for growth.” 

Positive self-talk can shift your mindset and reduce the fear associated with change.

Stay Flexible

Flexibility is key when dealing with change. 

Be open to adjusting your plans and approaches as needed. 

Staying adaptable helps you navigate unexpected challenges and reduces the stress of rigid expectations.

Practice Patience

Change takes time! 

Be patient with yourself as you adjust to new situations. 

Recognize that progress may be gradual, and that’s okay. 

Patience allows you to stay committed without becoming discouraged by setbacks.

Engage in Continuous Learning

View change as an opportunity to learn and grow. 

Engage in activities that expand your knowledge and skills. 

Continuous learning fosters adaptability and prepares you for future changes, making each transition easier to handle.

Build a Routine

While it’s important to embrace change, maintaining some aspects of your routine can provide stability. 

Keep certain practices and habits constant to create a sense of normalcy. 

This balance can make it easier to manage new changes.

Commit to Action

Finally, commit to taking action despite the fear. 

Even small steps towards change can build momentum and confidence. 

The act of moving forward, regardless of fear, empowers you to overcome obstacles and embrace new opportunities.

Overcoming fear of change is a process. 

By adopting these strategies and staying committed to growth, you can reduce anxiety and thrive in new situations. 

Embracing change opens the door to personal and athletic development, paving the way for success.


Fear of change is tough! 

But it doesn’t have to hold you back. 

ACT therapy offers tools to overcome it. 

Embrace your fears! 

Commit to your goals! 

And for those looking for a supportive community, check out the Success Stories Membership. It offers training to handle fear of change and fear of failure. 

Plus, you’ll join a like-minded group of high achievers. 

Don’t let fear of change stop you. 

Become the best version of yourself!

Remember, fear of change is just a hurdle. 

With the right mindset and tools, you can overcome it. 

So, what are you waiting for? 

Embrace the change and go for greatness!