Simply Not a Brawl Amongst Athletes
With only a few more days of Winter Olympic trials, tribulations and triumphs to watch, the biggest challenge athletes from around the world face is not necessarily their competitors: It is the pressure. As witnessed during Sunday night’s ice dancing original dance competition, the ability to cope with pressure was critical. With numerous skating couples taking major spills during their performances on Sunday night, the pressure was on thick to at least stay on their blades (rather than their bottoms) during Monday night’s free dance. Nevertheless, that undeniable pressure led to conservative, lackluster performances by many of the couples on Monday night.
So how do you cope with pressure yet perform with precision, flare and momentum? Well, it’s not easy, but experts say pressure comes from within only if you allow yourself to be intimidated by a particular situation (like, the ice dancing finals or a certification exam). In addition, because each person is different and feels pressure in different ways, you have to identify your own weak points and admit them so that you can address them to improve your performance.
Here are some helpful hints to combat pressure and boost your confidence:
- Focus on the processes rather than the outcome. If you think about acing or failing an exam rather than focusing on what you can do to succeed, pressure tends to seep in. Focusing on the processes rather than the outcome will also improve your concentration and consistency.
- Visualize success. Often you see ice skaters on the sidelines mentally going through their routines and visualizing flawless landings. Taking time to visualize yourself performing with precision, flare and momentum will help you do just that when it comes to crunch time (aka, test time).
- Develop personal positive affirmations. Positive thoughts and statements definitely improve people’s confidence. We have all heard the motto, “If you believe that you will fail, you will. And if you believe you will succeed, you will.” Thinking and acting positively is a prerequisite for achieving success in life.
- Do not strive for perfection, because you will only set yourself up for failure. This should be an obvious statement, but it needs to be said: Nobody’s perfect! Striving for something that is unattainable and ambiguous, like perfection, just increases the pressure upon your shoulders. Instead of saying, “I want to attain a perfect score,” say, “I want to perform as well as I can.”
- Finally, physically and mentally relax. If the pressure is really getting to you, take a relaxing soak in the bathtub, treat yourself to a massage, do your yoga exercises, etc. If you physically relax, your mind tends to relax as well.