How to Stay Poised During Competition
Do you or your athletes perform well in pressure situations?
When the heat is on do you rise to the occasion or crumble under the pressure?
What makes some athletes perform at a high level during the heat of competition?
Peak performers have the knack of staying calm when the pressure mounts.
Poise and composure allows champions to perform to their potential when a lot is at stake.
Top-tier gymnasts stay poised and can stick the landing when their team needs a near flawless routine.
Elite golfers have the poise to sink the ten-foot putt to take control of the leader board.
All-Star relief pitchers keep their composure when attempting to close out a close game with runners in scoring position.
Top-ranked tennis players rely on their poise when they need a big serve to take game point.
Where does this poise come from?
To some degree, poise is a part of an athlete’s personality. Some athletes are calm by nature while other athletes are high strung.
Even so, calm athletes can become rattled when the game is on the line and some high-strung athletes can keep their composure under tense circumstances.
Either way, there is something greater at play than genetics that allows some athletes to stay poised and keep their composure when the going gets tough.
Poise is a mental skill, one of which improves the more you work on it.
When you work with a mental game coach, you add to your poise…
When you practice poise in pressure scenarios in training, you add to your poise…
When you dedicate time to mental training exercises, your ability to stay poised increases.
Seattle Seahawks quarterback, Russell Wilson, seems to play better during crucial moments and in big games. Wilson’s poise has been his calling card since entering the NFL six years ago.
So far in his career, Wilson has won the Rookie of the Year honor, was selected to three Pro-Bowls, lea his team to a Super Bowl victory and became the winningest quarterback over the first six seasons of a career in NFL history
Wilson is having another brilliant season despite not having a great running attack or a strong offensive line in front of him.
Wilson has a record-tying 15 fourth-quarter touchdown passes, the most in NFL history in a regular season with four games remaining in the regular season.
Wilson doesn’t attribute his success to arm strength, his quickness or any other physical trait.
Wilson sees his greatest asset as his mental acumen which he works to develop daily.
One week, before playing at an unfamiliar stadium, Wilson visualized the would-be stadium surroundings and game situations.
WILSON: “I haven’t been to Jacksonville. I haven’t played there before. This may sound weird but I look up pictures of the stadium, try to visualize what things look like, where the ‘shot clock’ (play clock) is, all those things. Just so I can be comfortable before I get there. That’s just kind of something that I do, on my own.”
This easy practice not only helps Wilson play with poise, it contributes to what he calls ‘separation is in the preparation.’
If you prepare your mind to compete, something many athletes overlook, you will outperform many athletes with similar physical skills.
Winning the game inside the mind is what keeps you poised and takes your game to the next level.
Work on Developing Greater Poise:
Like Russell Wilson, when you go to a new field, rink, or course, get familiar with your environment.
Become friends with the new arena. Visualize yourself playing well in this new environment.
Rehearse yourself performing with composure no matter how big the game or critical play. Expect the unexpected and be mentally prepared.
Get comfortable with new venues to help you keep your body relaxed, quiet your mind and play with the poise of champions.
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