how to deal with disappointing results ready to feis irish dancing feising competition oireachtas
Mental Preparation

How to deal with disappointing results

Whether you didn’t get the recall you worked for, you placed lower than you did last year, or you’re just not happy with how it all went down, dealing with disappointing results can be tough. It can feel like you let yourself, your family, or your teachers down. It can be frustrating when you think you danced well, and people you normally beat have come in ahead of you. You can feel discouraged, wondering whether you should keep going (you definitely should). However you’re feeling, there are ways of dealing with bad results so you can put it behind you and get back on that dance floor feeling good.

What does ‘bad’ mean?

According to Talese Fernbach, sports psychologist and mental performance coach, “the term ‘bad’ is a judgment. Judgments, in the field of performance, are considered counterproductive to the mindset and create pressure in the mind. A judgmental mind or judgmental person will stifle their performance by focusing on what they or others think. One cannot perform to their potential while judging themselves and others. It sets their mind in a negative space and disrupts their performance focus.”

We often compare ourselves to others, particularly in a sport where we are ranked and placed, but Fernbach frames it a different way. “The focus on performance should be on the process and not the outcome/results. In the world of performance psychology, if an athlete or performer focuses on the process, the desired results will take care of themselves. Performances sometimes don’t go as planned. When that happens, teachable moments arise to learn from and make the athlete better. If everything always went as planned, we would have nothing to learn from and to work on to make ourselves better. There are no disappointing results, just results. How you look at those results makes or breaks the development of mental toughness and the advancement of your performance to the next level. It’s all in your perspective. When things don’t go as planned, focus on the process and the teachable moments to cope and grow in your performance.”

Repairing shattered confidence

All that said, results can still shake and shatter confidence, making you doubt yourself and your abilities. Fernbach points out that it’s not the end of the world, and the most important thing is perspective. “Don’t catastrophize and dwell on the situation. When things don’t go as planned, you can re-focus and re-build on your performance by focusing on the strengths and positives of the athlete and their performance. It’s sometimes human nature for coaches and athletes to mostly focus on the negatives or what has to be worked on. Studies have shown that when coaches point out all the positives of a practice or performance, the overall level of performance, even in the weaker areas, will improve. People simply perform better when they feel good about themselves.”


The days and weeks after a rough competition are where champions are made, and if you can refocus in a positive way, you’re putting yourself in good stead for the next feis. “Depending on the confidence shattering situation, an athlete can start to bounce back by focusing on some basic technique training, keeping things simple, accentuating the positive, building on strengths and one performance area to improve upon at a time.” says Fernbach. “By focusing on these things, an athlete can come back even stronger, more prepared and with a renewed sense of confidence.”

Have you ever had a setback from bad results? How did you get your confidence back for your next feis? Let us know in the comments or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

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