Buffering for Athletes

Hello! I am a volleyball coach; I run my own club, coach high school, and also just started the coach certification program. The niche I am going with is helping athletes overcome challenges and become game changers… still may need to narrow it more, but that is where I am at right now.
What I am curious about is what could be buffering for athletes possibly for why the are not performing their best? Could not trying be a buffer? My thought is it allows them to avoid feeling as disappointed as if they were to try their hardest and still lose, or that “it doesn’t really matter” if it isn’t a championship game. I am curious as to specific in-game type situations or during a practice. I am not sure if that makes sense; I know that social media, eating, and all the other buffers are still in play, but curious about athlete or performer-specific buffers. I relate it to the failing ahead of time mentality. Thanks for your help!