Saturday 7 May 2016

Coping with pressure

Pressure manifests itself in many ways and in general, will affect logical thinking and optimum performance. The aim of this section is to pass on knowledge to assist everyone to cope and perform better under pressure.

There are good and poor ways of coping with pressure.

Recognising Pressure Symptoms

There are external and internal sources of serious pressure

Pressure breaks your attention span leading to a lapse in concentration.

Pressures usually and most always cause feelings of:

A lack of control over the situation

Tightness of your muscles and breathing

Loss of feeling for the game, its values and participants

This results in:

Loss of basic technique and discipline

Complete breakdown in skills

Results in handling pressure well:

THOUGHTS are positive, confident and flowing in accord with the game.

FEELINGS are calm and in control with a sense of enjoyment and anticipation without effort

FOCUS – on the ‘here and now’, looking for the seam on the ball and wanting the next decision to be yours

Impact of anxiety of performance:

One of the most frequent causes of poor concentration and therefore a build up of pressure is anxiety. Under normal conditions, attention is continually shifting back and forth across a variety of wavelengths.

Under pressure, three things happen:

Attention becomes inflexible

Attention becomes narrow

Attention becomes more internally focused

Dealing with impact of anxiety

Realise that you must have flexibility to be able to deal with pressure

If you allow your attention to narrow, the pressure mounts and it becomes difficult to attend to several things at a time. This is the most dangerous period.

You feel rushed, overloaded and it results in poor decision-making


Increased heart rate

Lump in the throat

Upset stomach

Withdrawal or reluctance to talk to players

Try these simple suggestions:

Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent

Relax your neck and shoulder muscles

Direct your thoughts inward and realize how tense the rest of your body may be

Try to breathe normally

Feel the heaviness that occurs

Now take a deep slow breath (at least 5 seconds) and feel the tension leave

Continue with a few more deep breaths. Clear your mind of irrelevant thoughts

Focus on the next ball

Thought control – turning negative thoughts into positive

POSITIVE: “Nobody likes it but I can cope with it”
NEGATIVE: “I can’t stand this pressure”

POSITIVE: “Stay calm and watch the ball”
NEGATIVE: “I hope I don’t make any mistakes”