Confidence For Preforming New Skills in Competition
The quest of every athlete is to perform better in competition.
It is the reason athletes spend countless hours practicing, learning new skills, tweaking mechanics and trying different techniques. Many athletes will hire private coaches to hone their skills and improve their technique at a quicker rate.
Yet, despite all the work and time dedicated to improving physical skills, many athletes find it difficult to perform new skills in competition.
Can you identify with this issue?
Do you have difficulty applying new skills in competition–ones you can perform well in practice?
Maybe you are a gymnast who just learned a new tumbling pass and have been sticking the landings in practice but step out of bounds in meets…
Or perhaps you are a pitcher who has learned a split-finger in preseason but have difficulty locating the pitch in games…
Or possibly you are a golfer working on a new chip shot and are pretty solid during practice rounds, but cannot replicate your performance in tournaments.
If you are having difficulty transferring new skills into competition, you are not alone. This is a much more common issue than you think and it occurs at every level of sport.
The Phoenix Mercury of the WNBA have been having difficulty putting their game together during the 2017 season.
So far, this season, the 7-5 Mercury have had difficulty performing consistently in games and cannot seem to string several victories in a row. After a devastating 31-point loss, the Mercury bounced back for a road win beating the Seattle Storm, 85-82 despite being outscored in the second half.
Mercury center, Brittney Griner, expressed concern over the team’s inability to apply practice skills and strategies into action during the pressure of competition.
GRINER: “I was more worried about the game. With the loss we came off of and everything we’d been working on in practice then translating it to the game. That’s our thing – we’ll have good practices then not translate it, but we did that today. We have to keep doing that.”
What might be going on?
When you first learn a skill in practice, you feel very little pressure to perform. Less spectators and no expectations help you feel no pressure to execute the skill.
Performing new skills in competition is accompanied by more pressure. At this point, a great deal of patience is required because this process is often two steps forward and one step back.
Performing new skills in competition is the most critical stage because this is the place where some athletes lose confidence and get frustrated.
And what makes it harder is fear of failure or not wanting to disappoint a coach or parent.
If you trust in the process and understand that these are normal steps in developing competitive skills, you will be more confident in your ability to perform a new skill and, eventually trust in your ability to nail the skill when pressure is at its highest.
Taking New Skills to Competition:
Performance is a quest or journey. Your goal is to get better each time you compete. And be able to take a “decent” practice game to competition–not your best performance!
The fear can prevent you from performing new skills in competition–the same skills you can so 8 of 10 times in practice.
If you don’t take any risks, you can’t improve and more forward. Sometimes you have to feel the fear and perform your new skills anyway. Let go of worrying about the negative outcome and go for it! You might surprise yourself.
Learn Powerful Trust-Boosting Mental Strategies!
Are you frustrated with practicing harder in your sport only to have your effort undone by your mental game during competition?
Do you feel like your stomach is in a ball of knots and you cant think clearly because you are so anxious and tense stepping on the the field, court, course or track?
Check out our program, The Fearless Athlete!
The Fearless Athlete CD and workbook program is a 14-day plan for unbeatable trust. This program is ideal for any athlete or coach that wants to discover powerful mental strategies to overcome fear, perfectionism, and perform with trust.
Learn more about one of our most popular CD programs in The Confident Athlete Series…
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~Peter, New Zealand