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Embracing Discomfort: Why Student Athletes Must Step Outside of Their Comfort Zone

You may be used to feeling comfortable and in control while participating in your sport. However, it's important to remember that growth and progress often come from stepping outside of your comfort zone and embracing discomfort. Here are some reasons why it's important to embrace being uncomfortable as a student athlete:

1. It helps you learn and grow: When you're in a comfortable situation, it's easy to become complacent and stop learning and growing. By embracing discomfort, you challenge yourself to learn and grow in new ways.

2. It helps you adapt to new situations: In sports, you never know what challenges you'll face. By embracing discomfort, you build resilience and the ability to adapt to new and unfamiliar situations.

3. It helps you face fear and anxiety: It's natural to feel anxious or fearful when faced with something new or challenging. However, by embracing discomfort, you can learn to overcome these feelings and push through any challenges that come your way.

4. It helps you improve performance: Embracing discomfort can also help you improve your performance in your sport. By stepping outside of your comfort zone, you're able to push yourself harder and achieve things you may have thought were impossible.

So how can you embrace being uncomfortable as a student athlete? Here are some tips:

1. Take on new challenges: Whether it's trying out for a new team or taking on a new position, look for opportunities to challenge yourself and step outside of your comfort zone.

2. Practice mental toughness: Mental toughness is the ability to persevere through difficult situations and challenges. By practicing mental toughness, you'll be better equipped to embrace discomfort and push through tough times.

3. Seek out feedback: Feedback, whether it's positive or negative, can be uncomfortable to hear. However, it's an important part of the learning and growth process. Seek out feedback from your coaches, teammates, and others to help you improve and grow.

4. Embrace failure: Failure is a natural part of the learning and growth process. Embrace it, learn from it, and use it as an opportunity to improve and grow.

Embracing discomfort is an important part of your journey. It helps you learn, grow, adapt, and improve. By stepping outside of your comfort zone and embracing discomfort, you'll be better equipped to handle the challenges that come your way and reach your full potential as an athlete.

Subscribe to the AMPT Mental Performance podcast for more valuable insights and tips on how to become a better leader and athlete.

Neil Wattier is a Mental Performance Coach leading science-backed performance coaching for athletes at all levels of sport performance. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Psychology at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona and an active member of the United States Air Force Reserve. He has helped individuals and teams realize their full potential while serving as a coach, advisor, and mentor to business executives, senior military leaders, young professionals, youth and adult athletes, fitness professionals, and faith communities.


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