Pressure is something that we can all relate to regardless if you are an athlete, office worker or stay-at-home-mum.
Pressure is when we believe we may not have the resources to deal with the demands of the situation. Yet, for some pressure is motivator, usually because they have the belief that they have the skills to deal with the situation; and if not that they can learn from the situation. For some, pressure can be all consuming resulting in under-performance.
New situations can be a trigger as we have to trust that our skills will allow us to succeed in the moment. Sometimes, we don’t have completely believe that we will succeed but know that we have done enough to perform at our best in the situation.
Another way of managing pressure is developing:-
- Moment-to-moment task focused awareness
It sounds complex but simply put- you learn to fully focus on the task that you are doing. That can be anything from daily tasks to high performance. A lot of athletes have spoken about getting into FLOW which comes from developing moment-to-moment task-focused awareness.
Keeping it simple is key for high performance.
Learn to break things down into small tasks; within a fight situation break it down from the warm up to the end of the fight. For example, warm up can be focusing on certain techniques and breathing. The walk out can be simply be about breathing. Going into the first round have a one word focus e.g. ‘come forward’, during the rest focus on listening and breathing. Before the second round it can be focusing on your coach’s instructions and so on.
Break things down into manageable parts. Our mind only has limited capacity to hold information which is why keeping it simple is so important.
You can start to practice this is in training by keeping one focus for a round in sparring or pads; setting an intention for your training or even focusing on different technical points during a round. Daily practices include mindfulness techniques which simply involve learning to focus your mind on sensations or your breath.
For competitions, performance plans can be a really useful technique. Finally, keeping a simple focus plan for every fight regardless if a title fight or a fight for ring experience.
I will be writing more posts of managing pressure over the next coming months. If you have any questions follow me @l.k_performance