Perform Your Best Under Pressure in Sport

The biggest problem every athlete has is
learning how to create unshakable confidence under pressure.

Most sport psychologists will never tell you
that virtually all athletes have the exact same reaction
when they are not performing well.

First, they become frustrated and a bit angry.

Second, they lose their confidence, worried
they’re going to get worse and worse.

Third, they tell themselves to ‘get over’
their loss of confidence put pressure on
themselves to feel better, fast.

None of these reactions leads to consistent,
magnificent athletic performance.

Performing your best under pressure in sport
is a matter of emotional self-mastery
in the key moments of competition.

Mastering Fear and Performance Anxiety

To be confident under pressure, you must know
how to handle your fear, frustration, and performance anxiety.

Why? Because these negative feelings
have to potential to destroy your ability to trust
yourself under pressure.

For example,

(a) Let’s imagine that you are playing tennis
and you start hitting your shots into the net.

(b) Instantly, you become upset, because you
want to be more consistent. Frustrated, you try
and guide or steer the ball, which interferes with your
technique enough to erode your game.

(c) By knowing a better way to handle your anger
than trying to steer the ball, you can prevent
this from happening again. Instead, you have a better
plan for how to deal with your anger. As a result,
your emotional climate does not change; you play
even better after your bad shots.

(d) As you get better at mastering fear, you become more
unflappable, more consistent under pressure, and more
impressive to everyone– especially yourself.

By understanding exactly how to manage
fear and frustration when you perform poorly,
you can become immune to virtually any distraction.

Since you found this article, you probably
already know that there many self-help
and sport psychology techniques out there.
You’ve probably even tried some of them.

The problem is that most of these techniques
don’t work.

Why Many Sport Psychology Techniques Fail Long Term

Affirmations, positive thinking, and visualization
(or whatever) pump you up temporarily, but the moment
you stop doing them, your fear and performance anxiety
come back.

This is because you are using a lone “technique” that
may or may not fit the competitive situation you are facing.

Let me give you an example…

Have you ever been told by a coach or
sport psychologist to re-gain your confidence
by thinking more positively?

Did it work?

I’m betting that it worked sometimes, but
other times, it only made you more frustrated
and anxious.

There are times in competition when positive thinking
is the wrong technique. In these situations,
you’re better off not pressuring yourself to be positive.
Here’s why: being positive means finding
something good in the situation, e.g.,
‘It’s great that I lost that competition
because I need a day off.’

The problem with trying to be positive in all situations
is that there may not be anything good
about the problem you are facing. Trying
to force a positive reaction in such a situation will only

deflate you.

Case in point:

Rather than telling yourself to be positive
when things are collapsing around you,
a better idea is to ask yourself for optimism instead.

Optimism is not being positive.

Optimism is the ability to find hope by
believing that the challenges you are
facing are temporary.

If you follow football, you know that the New England Patriots got
off to a rocky start back in 2006.

One cause was the subpar play of Tom Brady,
New England’s Superbowl MVP quarterback.
Brady finally admitted that the trade of a
top receiver and the loss of other offensive
players upset him and the team.

But, like the champion he is, Brady
viewed the slump as temporary. In the middle
of the slump, he said: ”We’ll improve
everybody’s state of mind and body language.
It will be good for our confidence to go out
and play to the level we’re capable of.”

To restore your confidence in a slump,
release yourself from the burden of trying
to be happy and positive right away.
Instead, just try to be optimistic.
Find as many rational reasons as
possible to believe your slump is
temporary. Then, quietly channel
your frustration into performing better.

Soon, you’ll light it up other there, and your confidence
will return.

You can see now that there are many other mental toughness
and sport psychology techniques than positive thinking´┐Ż”
and the sooner you educate yourself in them, the better off you’ll be.

Your friend,
Lisa Lane Brown


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