On Top of Your Game

Abstract:This article discusses measuring how athletes react to performance failure. The author, who was formerly an automotive engineer and now works with athletes, compares the building and launching of a new car with developing an athlete and an athletic team. She identifies the main difference as what occurs following failure. In the world of mechanical systems, we talk openly about failure. We plan for failure. We expect failure and come up with contingency plans. We even give failure a numeric value so we understand the impact of that failure on the rest of the system and can prioritize its importance. This has not always been the case in athletics, however. Failure is not always discussed. Failure carries with it many raw emotions, and most center on career-ending consequences. The author argues that it is for this exact reason that we must understand failure in the world of athletics. When things go wrong, adjustments must be made. This would be similar to the process control area of the …

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