#21: 3 Ways to Help Athletes Manage High Expectations

click here



High expectations are something that many female athletes struggle with.

Many athletes feel like there are so many expectations for them to perform well and if they don’t, then they are letting people down – their teammates, their coaches, their parents, and themselves. I hear this a lot!

Then I hear parents comment that their daughter’s are putting too much pressure on themselves with these high expectations and they have no idea how she got those expectations into her head.

Often, athletes who hold these very high expectations for themselves are focusing on external outcomes such as winning, scoring a certain number of points, getting a certain time, or other outcomes that are beyond their personal control.

This leads to more pressure and anxiety and unmanaged pressure and anxiety leads to poor play. Poor play then makes them feel like they haven’t met the expectation and instead have failed.

It’s a downward, self-fulfilling spiral. Holding these unreasonably high expectations leads to self-sabotage and less confidence because they actually think they have to meet these expectations and then feel there’s no way they can.

Instead, we want out athletes to focus on having high standards. High expectations and high standards are not the same! We’ll talk all about that in this episode.


Usually outcome based like score/time/winning (out of the athlete’s control)


Usually effort/attitude/work-ethic based (In an athlete’s control)

So, the goal is to have no expectations and high standards.

Here’s the process I’ll teach you in this episode on how athletes can navigate the expectations and shift towards standards:

  1. Manage the expectations
    1. Get clear on exactly what they are and who they are coming from
      1. Coaches
      2. Parents
      3. Teammates
      4. Themselves
  2. Stop mind-reading
    1. Realize there are expectations that might not exist
      1. A coach saying “nice job on that double-double last night!” Does not immediately mean they expect that from you.
    2. Who are you playing for? Yourself or your mom, dad, coaches, teammates, etc
  3. Focus on standards of:
    1. Effort
    2. Preparation
    3. Behavior
    4. Process 

Making the shift from high expectations to high standards is a key element we teach in our Elite Competitor Program. It’s imperative to building confidence in our female athletes and enabling them to compete at their best… and it’s something that all athletes can get started with right now. 

Helpful Links:

The BEST way to help us spread the word and get this information into the hands of millions of parents, coaches, and female athletes is by leaving a rating and review on Apple Podcasts. Thank you in advance for joining us on our mission!

All Episodes, Perfectionism + Comparison

listen now

In the latest episode of The Raising Unstoppable Girl Athletes Podcast, Coach Bre shares tips on unlocking the power of confidence to help girl athletes excel.

Do This To Be More Confident In Your Next Competition

listen now

Kylie shares her insights into how utilizing resources like those taught inside ECP has helped her level up by improving her mental game.

How To Train The Mental Game w/ D1 Beach Volleyball Player Kylie DeBerg

listen now

ave you ever had to deal with negative teammates? The ones who bring unnecessary drama or negativity to the team dynamic?

Athlete Tip (How To Handle Negative Teammates)

Know what to say with these top episodes

Your Varsity-level skill set

Listen to our most loved 
athlete tips episodes

Looking for tips for your athlete?