Pressure manifests itself in many ways and in general, will affect logical thinking and optimum performance. The aim of this section is to pass on knowledge to assist everyone to cope and perform better under pressure.
There are good and poor ways of coping with pressure.
Recognising Pressure Symptoms
There are external and internal sources of serious pressure
Pressure breaks your attention span leading to a lapse in concentration.
Pressures usually and most always cause feelings of:
A lack of control over the situation
Tightness of your muscles and breathing
Loss of feeling for the game, its values and participants
This results in:
Loss of basic technique and discipline
Complete breakdown in skills
Results in handling pressure well:
THOUGHTS are positive, confident and flowing in accord with the game.
FEELINGS are calm and in control with a sense of enjoyment and anticipation without effort
FOCUS – on the ‘here and now’, looking for the seam on the ball and wanting the next decision to be yours
Impact of anxiety of performance:
One of the most frequent causes of poor concentration and therefore a build up of pressure is anxiety. Under normal conditions, attention is continually shifting back and forth across a variety of wavelengths.
Under pressure, three things happen:
Attention becomes inflexible
Attention becomes narrow
Attention becomes more internally focused
Dealing with impact of anxiety
Realise that you must have flexibility to be able to deal with pressure
If you allow your attention to narrow, the pressure mounts and it becomes difficult to attend to several things at a time. This is the most dangerous period.
You feel rushed, overloaded and it results in poor decision-making
Increased heart rate
Lump in the throat
Withdrawal or reluctance to talk to players
Try these simple suggestions:
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent
Relax your neck and shoulder muscles
Direct your thoughts inward and realize how tense the rest of your body may be
Try to breathe normally
Feel the heaviness that occurs
Now take a deep slow breath (at least 5 seconds) and feel the tension leave
Continue with a few more deep breaths. Clear your mind of irrelevant thoughts
Focus on the next ball
Thought control – turning negative thoughts into positive
POSITIVE: “Nobody likes it but I can cope with it”
NEGATIVE: “I can’t stand this pressure”
POSITIVE: “Stay calm and watch the ball”
NEGATIVE: “I hope I don’t make any mistakes”