For many athletes, performing well when under a lot of pressure can be a challenge. Even athletes who excel at every practice and who put their all into their sport sometimes give in to pressure and allow themselves to be negatively affected by it. If that’s ever happened to you, it’s important to
The big thing to remember about overcoming pressure is not to get all serious and stressed about your performance at the wrong time. The time to stress and to try and be perfect is at practices. It is not, surprisingly, at games. While it’s okay, of course, to want to do well at any game, you don’t want to put undue pressure on yourself before you start playing because it’s just going to backfire.
And, while that harmful pressure before a big game can come from outside sources, like coaches or even well-meaning friends and family, more often than not, it comes from inside. That’s why, before a competition, it’s important to guard your thoughts and your attitude. Don’t let yourself think things like:
l This is the big one
l I HAVE to do well
l If I make a mistake, everyone will hate me
l The whole team is counting on me
l I’ve got a scholarship riding on this
l I have to prove myself
These kinds of thoughts are very damaging, and when you allow yourself to think them, you are setting yourself up for a disastrous game. It’s better, before a game, to simply tell yourself, “I’ve worked hard. I’ve done all I can. Now I’m just going to play and do my best.” If you go into it with that attitude, you’ll stand a much better chance of playing well since you’re not putting all kinds of pressure and stress on yourself...and you won’t have those hanging over you during the game.
Remember, your game-day focus should never be on anything but having fun and making use of the skills you’ve worked so hard for. Remember that, and you don’t ever have to fall victim to pressure again.