Pressure in sports is a very common thing to experience. When people can’t control this pressure or move past it, it often gets in the way of their athletic performance and potential success level. Sometimes this feels like life or death scenarios in which the athlete either delivers what is expected or suffers extreme consequences. If you often feel this way before a game, event, or meet, here are some tips to help you get past the pressure and feel good about your game.
Think About “Pressure” Differently
Redirect your thoughts on pressure into something positive. Instead of thinking about the pressure you feel as a potential for failure, think about your potential for success and achievement. Embrace the moment as well as you can and, by doing this, think about the situation causing pressure as a way to test your limits, complete a challenge, or overcome a fear. This may be hard to do, but it is worth it.
Recognize Symptoms of Being Under Pressure
This is an important step because realizing the root of the problem can lead to fixing it. When you begin to feel immense pressure or anxiety endued by pressure, take mental note of your surroundings or what happened to trigger this feeling.
Reduce Sources of Pressure
This is a lot harder to do than it is to say. In a lot of ways, pressure—whether it is internal or external—comes from sources that are completely out your control. There are ways to reduce this pressure, however, if you recognize that sources of pressure for you come from things like your phone, family and friends, coaches, being in certain spaces, etc., avoid them as much as possible. Don’t go on your phone, respectfully ask your friends and family to remain at a distance, and take other preventative measures to achieve the highest level of calm possible.
Remember You’ll Have More Opportunities
Feelings of pressure can come from feelings of losing chances, wasting time, and failure. Remember that in whatever you are doing, you will always have more than one chance at success. Instead of putting too much emphasis on this, redirect your thoughts into thinking that your current opportunity is an immediate chance to have fun and do your best.
Breathing is not only a practice of relaxation. Breathing, and truly focusing on inhaling and exhaling for 3 seconds each, is about bringing your mind and focus back into reality. Breathing will help dissipate feelings of anxiety and panic through the performance of a regulated and timed motion.
Remember That You Belong
When dealing with pressure, you might find it difficult to trust your game and talent. If you begin to feel this, remember that you are part of a team and that you belong in it. If your team has confidence in you, then you should have confidence in yourself.
Stay Mindful & Focus On What You Can Control
It is easy to become entirely obsessed with something that one is passionate about and dedicated to. This may lead to feeling pressured about things that you cannot control. What you cannot control is pointless to dwell on so focus instead on what you can control such as the pressure triggers you can ignore and breathe.
If you are looking for sports psychology or counseling services to help you deal with your sports-related pressure, contact us at Mindset First. Our expert Sports Psychology Services can help you manage the pressure that you feel. Contact us today at 905.660.9284 to book an appointment.