What Is Pressure?
The term “pressure” dominates the headlines of sporting events.
Athletes often report feeling so much pressure during major competitions that they find it difficult to perform when it matters most.
If pressure has such an impact on performance, ignoring its presence will only feed it.
By understanding the process of pressure, you can better prepared and equipped to perform in critical moments of competitions.
So what exactly is pressure? How is pressure created? What can athletes do to better perform under pressure?
What is pressure?
Pressure usually refers to the feelings an athlete has about performing in a sporting situation. For example, “I get so anxious when I have to serve for the match” or “I can’t seem to concentrate when the game is on the line.”
Pressure manifests itself physically (increased adrenaline, breathing, heart rate, etc), mentally (positive or negative thoughts about the event) and emotionally (positive feelings of anticipation, excitement or negative feelings of fear, anxiety).
How is pressure created?
The sporting event contains no pressure in and of itself. This is important… there is zero pressure in a sporting event.
Pressure is an internal experience (a feeling) that is created by the athlete.
Pressure is created by how you perceive a particular athletic event.
How you view an athletic event will determine your internal response. (Do you see the situation as a challenge or threat?) Ultimately, your perception of the event will determine how you perform.
Former Los Angeles Dodger manager provided this insight to pressure: “Pressure is a word that is misused in our vocabulary. When you start thinking of pressure, it’s because you’ve started to think of failure.”
When you fear what might happen or focus on the outcome, you worry about meeting your or others’ expectations. This translates into a tentative and controlled performance making it hard to take risks.
What can athletes do to better perform under pressure?
First, you need to understand that you create “pressure” for yourself. If you created pressure, then you can dismantle it.
Stay focused on the process. Ask yourself what is your job right now:
- Is it to win the game or take the shot?
- Is it to win the gold medal or perform the routine?
Then focus on exactly what you need to do in that moment.
You also want to understand the expectations you feel to perform well or win–from yourself and others:
- Are you afraid of not performing up to your own expectations?
- Are you worried about not meeting others’ expectations?
Remind yourself why you started in your sport in the first place. The sport hasn’t changed at all since your early years of competing. Find your fun!
Try these tips to dismantle pressure:
- Tip #1: Who do you feel the most expectations to perform well? How valid are these expectations or are they only “in your head”?
- Tip #2: Identify your job. Anytime you notice your focus drifting, ask yourself, “What is my job right now?” Re-focus on that task!
Successful athletes have learned how to build self-confidence and stop self-doubt. One of our best selling programs, The Confident Athlete, Workbook and CD program can help you do that and improve your game.
Boost Your Self-Confidence With Mental Game Coaching!
Master mental game coach, Dr. Patrick Cohn, can help you or your athlete(s), ages 12 and up, overcome mental game issues with personal coaching.
You can work with Dr. Patrick Cohn himself in Orlando, Florida or via Skype, FaceTime, or telephone. Call us toll free at 888-742-7225 or contact us for more information about the different coaching programs we offer!
What are our students saying?
“WOW!!! What a week I had. I was able to perform with a confidence that allowed my style to shine through–no more entering the arena with that “deer in the headlights” look or feeling. I stopped evaluating myself while I was performing, and I actually left the arena after my patterns feeling like I had experienced a lot of fun. Thank you so much.”
~Julia Dreyer, National Champion Equestrian
For All Athletes – Learn Confidence-Boosting Techniques!
D you have a negative self-image of yourself as an athlete that stifles confidence?
No matter ow positive you try to be, are you unable to shake the doubt that rushes into your head when you size up your competition?
Have you labeled yourself as a loser, poor closer, or mediocre athlete and these labels keep you stuck in a rut of self-pity and indecision?
If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, check out The Confident Athlete!
The Confident Athlete CD and workbook program is a 14-day plan for ultimate self-confidence. This program is ideal for any athlete or coach that wants to discover proven confidence-boosting techniques guaranteed to drastically build self-confidence and improve sports performance.
Learn more about one of our most popular CD programs in The Confident Athlete Series…
What are customers saying?
“I first purchased The Confident Athlete to see how the program went and immediately saw results. I then purchased the rest of the confident athlete series and have noticed a dramatic improvement in my level of play or should I say consistency. I currently play NCAA Division 1 baseball for Lamar University, and even my coaches have noticed a change in the way that I approach the game. My attitude and confidence at the plate.”
~Tylor Prudhomme (Listen to his success story)
“I am a ASP world qualifying professional surfer and after beginning the ‘The Confident Athlete’ I had an almost instant change in attitude about my own surfing ability and my mindset going into competition. By using the Confident Athlete strategies, my confidence has done a complete 180 degrees. I won a local pro/am a few weeks back, and just had my best result of the year in one the last big events on the world circuit this last week in Brazil! It is my secret weapon!”
~Shaun Burrell, Professional Surfer (Listen to his success story)
For Young Athletes and Parents – Learn More About How to Help Kids Improve Confidence Quickly!
We’ve got a great program for you called “The Confident Sports Kid: A 7-Day Plan for Building Ultimate Self-Confidence.”
The Confident Sports Kid is a 7-day program for sports parents and kids to boost young athlete’s performance, happiness and success… in sports and life!
The Confident Sports Kid is two programs in one. There’s a manual and CD for parents/coaches, and a workbook/CD for young athletes.
Packed with mental strategies that you and your kids can start using immediately, this program teaches your athletes how to identify confidence busters, proactively deal with them, manage expectations that undermine confidence, and mentally prepare to stay confident when faced with adversity.
What’s more, our program teaches you, as sports parents and coaches, how you may be hurting your kids’ confidence and gives you instructions for changing your behavior in ways that will improve your athletes’ performance, confidence and enjoyment.
Learn more about one of our most popular CD programs in The Confident Sports Kid Series…
What are parents and coaches saying about our program?
“I appreciate the advice to parents as to how to help your child become more mentally resilient to bullying in sports. The specific advice and scenarios are extremely helpful for any child on a team and very helpful in guiding parents, coaches and administrators in how to deal with bullying in sports. I cannot thank you enough for your input, and I am so reassured to know that there are people like you who are writing articles and doing interviews on such timely and important matters.”
“Dr. Patrick Cohn and Lisa Cohn are to be congratulated! Together, they offer a wealth of knowledge, information, and practical mental tools for sports parents on the substantial “mental game” challenges and pressures facing today’s young athletes.”
~Marc D. Anderson, LCSW, MGCP, Mental Game Coach
For Mental Coaches – Add More Value To Your Mental Training Programs!
This workbook series was designed for coaches and mental coaches to use with their athletes.
The Athlete’s Mental Edge workbooks complement your existing mental training program. Each of the 15 workbooks in the Athlete’s Mental Edge System teaches your athletes a specific mental skill to improve their performance.
For mental coaches, this system is ideal for between session education.
For sports coaches, you’ll be able to conduct 15 team seminars using the workbook system.
In the Athlete’s Mental Edge workbook system, you receive 15 easy-to-read, practical Mental Edge Workbooks on PDF, as well as 16 coaches’ game plan MP3 audio files.
What are coaches saying?
“I am really pleased with the Athlete’s Mental Edge workbooks – they are fitting in really well with my coaching! I find they offer a great framework for doing workshop sessions. I have also used the workbooks with a few individual athletes – for the younger ones (12 and under). They are giving a good structure and framework to our sessions. The workbooks have worked well with all of them!”
~Kerri Morgan, Mental Game Coach
“I am impressed with the willingness and openness of Dr. Cohn to share all of his assets (intellectual, products, etc.) with the MGCP students. You have developed an incredible model/package for mental training. Even though we are paying for your service, you are passing on a legacy built on your contribution to the world of sports. Thank you for that.”
~Tony Melito, MGCP