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Do you choke under pressure

We are all skilled at what we do. We are so good at some of the things we do, we perform them without even thinking sometimes.

Take walking for example.

For most of us, we stand up and put one foot in front of the other but this has always been the case. Think about a toddler learning to walk. Walking isn’t natural for them. They have to learn to pull themselves up, learn to stand alone, and take a few tentative steps with lots of falls in between.

Only months later, the coordination of the mind and body allows the toddler to walk safely and competently.

Simple yes?

Not always because although we learn skills proficiently, we don’t always execute them correctly especially under pressure.

In sport, we call this choking.

Imagine this scenario.

You are due to take part in a race, competition or match, you have trained hard and if you have a routine, you know it well.

However, when you finally take part, you start to overthink it. You start making mistakes or get tired, you think some more, and you lose your train of thought and start telling yourself, you aren't good enough.

You get ‘Paralysis by analysis'

Don’t worry there are some powerful techniques that you can use to stop overthinking.

Keep it simple:

When I am working with my gymnasts, I help them to contain their thoughts to just one main focus just before they execute the skill. Many use the word “Stick” to help them stick a landing.

You can do the same in any performance situation.

You can use words such as ‘Confident’, ‘Composed’ or ‘Relax’. This will get you in the right state of mind and focus on your manner rather than the pressure.

Stop using negative words:

We have all been there. We are waiting to speak to someone important or doing a presentation and we start telling ourselves:

‘Don’t mess up ’
‘Stop being a D**k ’
‘I can’t show that I am nervous’

The mind doesn’t recognise words such as ‘Don’t, Stop and Can’t’ so guess what you are telling yourself!

Do this exercise:

‘Stop thinking about Chocolate!’

What are you thinking about?

CHOCOLATE!

Think about what you want to happen and it may well happen.

MIND Dump:

If you find that you are overthinking. Get into the habit of mind dumping.

This is your moment to write down all of those negative thoughts and get them out of your head.

If you do think after a 10-minute mindfulness session, you will be amazed at how much you will write down.

Then replace the thoughts with positive intentions, visualise them, and make them come alive.

This way you will focus only on the task at hand and not your limiting thoughts.

If you are an adult that takes part in sport or fitness, I have just set up a new Facebook Group Sport Psychology for Adult Athletes I would love you to join us. I have set it up as I understand that as adults we do sport for different reasons than youth and elite sport.


However, if you are in this category, you can join The Mental Performance Hub For Sport

Much Love

Jox

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