Performing Under Pressure
Athletes, It comes down to this: You can be a beast in training (that’s good, that’s ok), the undisputed king of winning practice matches or points, but if your can’t perform under pressure when it counts (competition time) you won’t reach the elite levels.
In my experience of watching hundreds upon thousands of matches (in all sports), when two athletes or teams are of similar level in skills and fitness levels, the one who almost always wins, is the one who can handle stress and pressure best when fatigued. They stay positive under pressure. They focus on solutions, not problems.
The great athletes and teams thrive under pressure, whilst the others talk themselves out of success. They make excuses, they blame, they wilt, melt and fade away.
The difference in the preparation is this:
A mentally tough athlete is someone who has placed their body under tougher conditions during training. They embrace the difficulty and challenge. They ask the coach for more.
They don’t b*tch and moan about conditions, facilities or the weather, in fact, the tougher the better.
You want to be great? Then step up and do it.
Sugar coated practices with high fives and war cries won’t do it. You need the Ugly, the ‘search your soul’ practices. They bring out the reality, not the fantasy.
Players who have been placed under these situations will thrive when it counts more. Their body and mindset is prepared, they’ve been there already. They recognize it, accept it and adapt to it better.
ATHLETE: WANT TO KNOW WHEN THE BEST TIME AND OPPORTUNITY IS TO LEARN AND GET BETTER?
It’s when practice gets ugly, It’s messy, you are ready to throw it in, you are in a negative state of mind, you hate your coach —- YES! That’s when. It’s what I call OPPORTUNITY TIME.
That’s the time you, as an athlete, need to be COACHABLE, TO LISTEN AND RESPECT THE HELP YOU ARE GETTING – NOT FIGHT IT.
The way you compete is directly related to the way you train – your habits, your routines, your attitude, your ability to think and perform under pressure, even your punctuality arriving to training sessions.
My message is this: If you want to perform better under pressure (for example – win those closer matches), then start to take an honest hard look at how you train, think and respond to pressure under fatigue. Are you coachable?
For me, that’s what separates the elite athletes from the nearly elite athletes.
Great athletes ask their coaches to challenge and push them, not vice versa. They want the ‘ugliness’ in practices.
Are you asking for uglier?
Because that’s where Champions are made.