Dealing with pressure to improve sporting performance
13th September, 20160 Comments
Written by: Robin Tucker – Dip Hyp, Ad Dip PC
There are many metaphors for success. The desire to reach 'peak' performance can be similar to climbing a hill, constantly looking up to reach the top or the next 'peak'.
In sport each time we take to the field or go on the court there is a 'peak' to climb, to perform to a certain standard, the standard we know we can achieve, sometimes we fail to reach that peak. In an article Keith Begley, a sport and performance psychology consultant discusses why the England football team failed in the euros (https://eliteperformancepsychology.wordpress.com/2016/06/30/brexit-part-2-what-the-hell-happened-england/). He lists examples of where elite professionals have failed in one way or another when their past performances suggest they should have achieved.
Begley cites research from the All-Blacks rugby team psychologist Gilbert Enoka who suggested 'the brain delivers three types of response when challenged in a stressful environment – instinct, emotional and thought response. The body always does what the mind tells it to do, this was the problem; 'it isn't one of fitness or physical skill-set'. The issue is that under pressure the mind can 'go from a clear and positive mind to an over-heated, tense and frustrated one'.
The acronym H.O.T (Heated, Overwhelmed and Tense) or 'red head' was coined to indicate where one is no longer in control. Other characteristics might be:
- results oriented
The All-Blacks required their players to have a 'blue head' – 'one of calmness that can maintain clarity of consciousness, situational awareness, accurate analysis and have the ability to make good decisions under pressure'.
Typically, a 'blue head' would have the following characteristics:
- in the moment
- on task
In this manner players would remain on task and 'process the information at hand and make correct decisions'. Clearly the England football team had 'red heads' in the game against Iceland where nothing seemed to go well - the pressure got to them!
Hypnosis is a great way to deal with these issues. Under pressure the 'fight-flight' response is activated and while a certain amount of arousal is necessary it needs to be directed. Hypnosis can help you remain calm, visualise the scene, rehearse the experience, the emotions and learn to deal with them. Triggers can be set allowing you to recognise negative feelings and immediately switch to more positive ones to enhance performance, improving concentration, focussing on the moment and keeping your body relaxed and feeling strong. The pressure will only get to you if you let it!
Through a process of hypnotic relaxation, you can take control of negative emotions, improve your sporting performance and climb up to reach your sporting peak, regardless of pressure.
About the author
Hypnotherapy from a retired naval officer, teacher and football coach. We are all a mix of dreams and fears, my hypnosis is personalised to your unique 'mix' to successfully help you achieve your target. I focus on reducing anxiety and stress and helping people achieve their sporting 'goals!' I regularly post blogs on how hypnosis can help you.
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