One of the real tests that we all face is being able to perform in high pressure situations. It doesn’t matter at what level you perform because pressure is always present in some capacity. To win a game, make a crucial sale, hole a putt or achieve whatever result you are aiming for, you sometimes have to over-come intense pressure.
Pressure is really a product of our own perception and where we place our focus. Pressure can arise from both internal cues (our own thoughts, feelings and emotions) or external cues (the crowd, the audience, the conditions etc.) but most importantly it can be controlled. You only have to look at the penalty shoot-out at the Champions League semi-final between Real Madrid and Bayern Munich for examples of this. Some players missed badly and some scored with ease.
So how do some players overcome pressure when others crumble? Well there’s no magic formula that will cure all of our pressure situations but here are five key steps that you can take to gain control of your thinking and your actions when you have to perform under pressure:
- Make a crystal clear decision on what you want to do.
- Once decided, connect fully with what you need to do to perform it. Break it down into a series of key steps and visualise performing them perfectly.
- Block out all distractions so you can focus purely on your performance. Concentrate on each step of the process so your actions flow like you plan them to. Complete connection with your performance is the only place to be, let nothing get in the way.
- Remind yourself that you are fully capable of performing to your best ability and free your body to do what it is capable of doing
- Use verbal and visual cues to trigger positive thoughts and feelings and free yourself to perform with relaxed intensity.
Do you have any special methods for coping with pressure and performing to your best?
I’d love to hear about any examples of situations where you’ve excelled under pressure, or maybe when you’ve cracked!
If you have any thoughts, then please leave them in the comments below.
Thanks and good luck!