Tilly's account describes two issues often faced by sports people — a fear of failure and a fear of being hurt. These can manifest in different ways, not necessarily consciously. Sometimes, for example, they recognise that they are afraid but haven't analysed the different components of the emotion.
Tilly demonstrates that such fears are not necessarily 'logical' and that they may appear in the context of one sport but not in another. As an equestrian she enjoys facing situations that are potentially more dangerous than the competition described here.
I have been rock-climbing for several years now, and despite being competitive in other areas of my life — I have played hockey for university teams and I regularly compete on my horse — I have always hated competitive rock-climbing.
I spoke to Jo about this phobia the night before I was due to go and compete at an indoor climbing competition consisting of several phases including speed climbing, leading and bouldering. Although I knew it was well within my capabilities, I was still dreading it as I had an irrational fear of being branded a failure, not to mention my fear of falling off and hurting myself (highly unlikely at an indoor wall).
Jo and I discussed my fears, and the reasons behind them, and she worked through some TFT sequences with me to help me feel more confident. The following day I was surprised to find I was actually looking forward to the competition, and I realised that it would be fun to compete, whatever the outcome. I entered my section, and had a great day, and as always stayed for the prize-giving as several of my friends were in with a shot of prizes, plus they always give out spot prizes at these events, which are well worth the wait! No one was more surprised than me when the organisers announced I had won my section — literally overnight I had gone from hating the thought of competing to winning my section — what a result!
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