After recently missing Cody Parkey, the 26-yard kicker, left the Chicago stadium under a shower of boos and then death threats, and now sameAll this despite the fact that the goalkeeper's move to the target was actually on the finish line and that Parkey himself was scoring more points against the Eagles that night than the whole of the # 39; offensive Bears (9 against 6).

If Parkey missed the match, he certainly felt what he did, feeling emotionally fed back to the Eagles last Sunday when Alshon Jeffery, one of the League's top receivers, allowed Nick Foles to leave to pass this one in his hands. Marshon Lattimore corner: The game is over. Jeffery remained on the field for half a minute after the game and returned to the sideline, where red-eyed Doug Pederson immediately hugged him.

So, yes, the weekends have been tough for the athletes. Obviously, no one wants to lose a match (or think to do so) as a result of an error. And yet, we have all been there – as players, coaches, excessively emotional parents and fans.

"You will be overwhelmed by these very uncomfortable and distressing feelings," said Lisa M. Stephen, Ph.D., a high-level coach and graduate psychologist from New England. "Allow yourself to feel what you feel – anxiety, anger (with yourself, with others) – it does not have to be rational. Feel it and see what you are go do. "

So whether you're gaining points on the field or sympathizing with those abandoned Eagles, take out your mental notebook and take notes. Your mental health – and even your career – may depend on it.

If you are a player …

Some athletes may stabilize and overcome their distress, while others may sink into negative thoughts, including acute anxiety or depressive feelings, Stephen notes. The way you react to failure dictates momentary and long-term health as well as athletic performance. The most successful athletes will have to face these obstacles simultaneously (1) navigate and normalize the current failure and (2) prepare for future success.

"Allow yourself to feel what you feel, then look at what you are go do. "

1. The current failure

The first wave, after the error, anger, frustration and the long journey back, tries to contextualize your mistake. "Acknowledge that these things happen to all players in all sorts of situations," Stephen advises, "and that's part of everyday life."

It can take work to get there. First, you want to minimize non-constructive criticism by looking for reliable sources of support that can help you build, but not falsely. The key is to develop and identify true statements about yourself that contradict negative cognitions. These cognitions are beliefs such as "I have no talent. I am a terrible player. If you're a top athlete, it's unlikely to be true. "Look at the real data," says Stephen, like videos of yourself and game stats. Work on a more realistic assessment: "I was wrong. It happens to everyone."

Identifying true affirmations also helps you see failure as anomalistic. In your mind, failure should be the exception to the rule and not the rule itself, says Stephen. When you come to this conclusion, you can even begin to consider failure as an essential part of your game – and to remind you that even Michael Jordan has missed 26 potentially winning shots ("I have failed yet and again in my life … and that's why I did it. ") Failure can be one of the most humiliating and pathogenic moments in sport – and moments that reveal the kind competitor that you are.

In your mind, failure should be the exception to the rule and not the rule itself.

For younger athletes without robust statistical sheets (and even for elite ones), visualization exercises can also help to overcome the anxiety or disappointment of the game. Visualize the moments in which you played well, when you were there, playing at your peak. Think of it as a "success story". (Having fun can be an important marker of those moments, when do you enjoy the performance?) Do you see when you've done that three-point hit and ask yourself: What was I thinking? Keep raising your brain to these highlights.

Divisional Round - Philadelphia Eagles - New Orleans Saints

Getty ImagesChris Graythen

2. Future success

Now, build. The hardest part of end-of-season failure is that the athlete has to wait long enough to be traded. But an athlete can use that and turn it into a kind of goal. "If there is information to glean from the error or the incident," says Stephen, "you can integrate them into your training: what do you do? towards? What should I do now? "

It's not about removing the error; it's about contextualizing and then building from that.

Future direction remains essential for an athlete recovering from defeat. The wrong orientation, meanwhile, can release stress hormones, increase anxiety and actually prevent you from improving on the athletic level. "When someone is upset, his brain is not ready to learn," explains Stephen. Calm becomes the first and necessary condition of any sporting improvement. It's not about removing the error; it is about contextualizing then building, leaving behind you reactions of stress. If these negative reactions persist, if you develop thoughts related to your safety, if your thoughts are preventing you from doing anything else, or if you observe an emotional digression – increased anxiety, fewer hours of sleep each night, loss of life. Prolonged appetite, more depressive emotions – ask for help.

Future performance and well-being depends so much on your reactions, so do not just you who recognizes the importance of stemming negativity and non-constructive criticism; your mentors should be as committed to positivity as you are.

Arizona Cardinals - Seattle Seahawks

Getty ImagesAbbie Parr

If you are a parent or coach …

The last thing you want to do is to demolish your player (or your child). "Very few elite athletes I've ever met at any stage are aware that they've made a big mistake," says Stephen. "In a game, the coach can do the most important thing. We must refocus the athlete on what he wants. makebecause they're going to focus on what just it's gone bad. "Putting a player in a goal – oriented state of mind allows him to keep his head in the game as he should. More specifically, it keeps its head always turned towards the future and away from the stress and anxiety of the past fault.

You can not compete without making mistakes.

If the game ends with the error, immediately start setting a context for the player: it is the purpose of the game; people make mistakes in games; you can not compete without making mistakes. These may seem like well-used truisms, but they also help to heal. "If you experience a strong emotional response – and as a coach, you will… and then adjust that. Take care of this before talking to the athlete, so that your words are productive and useful, "says Stephen. We must all understand that competitions are sometimes decided by mistakes. "Adults still have a responsibility to think about how they will regulate their own behavior and what comes out of their mouths." Your words could be repeated in the minds of the athletes for future matches.

Then there is the drive back home, the potential theater of such parental violence. Of course, every athlete is different, and if you're wondering if it's necessary to improve the game, check and ask: What do you need now? Maybe they need to take a ball and restore confidence Maybe they need to be left alone. "The important thing is to recognize that this is not your game; it's your child's play, "says Stephen. If you want to let off steam because you have paid all this money for this league trip, get help, talk to other parents, blow a little, then approach your child when you are more level You can hurt more than your future sports performance, also causing stress and anxiety. And maybe your presence in the game has had an impact on your child's performance. This phenomenon is very real and it is always a good idea to consult a coach you trust to determine your child's stressors. Do not take it too personally, but a stressor could be you.

Divisional Tour - Indianapolis Colts - Kansas City Chiefs

Getty ImagesJamie Squire

If you are a fan …

"Strangely, you do mental work as a spectator," Stephen observes. So practice as an athlete. Use the dialogue to refocus your energies on other important things in your life and put the game into context. It should not be the only thing that brings you joy. Make plans with your friends. Commiserate. Discuss something else.

Put the game in context. It should not be the only thing that brings you joy.

Had the Eagles scored and won, the Saints 'fans would probably have blamed kicker Wil Lutz, who missed a setback for preparing for the Eagles' final training. The fact is that blame is something that is easily transmitted. Most losses, however, are compound losses – a series of decisions and failures at different stages – making the blame not only irreducible, but irrational.

And in the case of Philly's sorrow last Sunday, remember that the Eagles have not just lost the game; the saints, according to each criterion of prediction of success, have just won.