Embrace The Pregame Jitters
Do you ever get butterflies in your stomach before you compete called pregame jitters? Do you get really nervous before the start of a big match or game and can’t relax after the game starts? Most athletes have felt the negative effects of pressure during their athletic career.
Even the best athletes feel pressure before a big game, but they know how to channel the pressure into positive intensity to boost performance. What is pressure and how do athletes experience it?
Pressure is a perceived expectation of the need to perform well under challenging situations. Fear of failure and expectation is tied to pressure. When an athletes worries about disappointing others, for examples, he or she is putting pressure on him or herself to not fail or look silly.
The first step is to understand that pressure starts within you and your thoughts about the big game or about you meeting others’ expectations, for example. High expectations from yourself and others turn into pressure. However, pressure is not some external force that grips you by the neck and strangles you.
Some athletes thrive on the feeling of pressure, whereas others crumble mentally and choke their brains out. Why? Experience, confidence, and beliefs play a vital role in how well an athlete will perform under pressure.
Pressure comes in many forms depending on the person and how an athlete *thinks* about the competition. Some sources of internal, self-inflicted pressure include:
- Expectations you place on yourself about winning
- Pressure to live up to the expectations from others (coach, parents, fans) to succeed
- Thoughts underlying the fear of failure, such as having your hard work not pay off
- Pressure to perform well or lose your place on the team
- Pressure not to blow the game and not feel embarrassed
- Pressure to perform perfectly and not make any mistakes
Pressure is very specific to each athlete and his or her own beliefs and thoughts. An athlete’s beliefs are key here. However, one constant is that pressure makes athletes tense, afraid, and worried, which leads to performing tentatively or cautiously. Tentative play looks like choking to others who observing.
How do you cope with pressure? The first step is to understand the specific pressures you place on your performance. When you understand HOW and WHEN you feel pressure, you can then make it help you instead of work against you.
For example, if you feel pressure from your parents to win or succeed, you have to challenge your own thinking about the expectations you have adopted from your parents. Sometimes pressure comes from expectations you have taken on from others people in your life such as parents, coaches, and teammates. You may think that others have given you these expectations, but they are actually ones you have conjured up based on what others have said to you.
I don’t want to give away the farm here, because I give you all my secrets to coping with pressure in one of my recorded teleclass titled, I Can Cope! Performing Your Very Best Under Pressure.
In this class, I personally help you to identify the type of pressure you place on yourself AND give you 5 mental strategies to perform your best under pressure. Are you ready to learn how to perform your best in crunch-time? Tune into my recorded mental toughness classes to find out!
Patrick J. Cohn, Ph.D.,
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