DON`T TRY! TRUST!
Train hard and learn to let go in competitions.
Coaches and mental trainers tell you to just relax, trust your abilities and let things happen. Your body knows what to do. You have trained hard before the competition. Now it is time to “just do it”.
But when you are just about to do your thing under extreme pressure of having to execute your skills, a curious thing happens: a part of your mind tries to take over and guide you to do it correctly. It wants to make sure that you have covered all of your bases and considered everything that needs to be done. If it isn’t bringing you thoughts about your opponent, then maybe it’s reminding you that you have to hold your arm a certain way… It wants to control things!
All sorts of thoughts like this can be floating around in your head in the form of voices or possibly images. You might call this your analytical thinking function. Your analyzer has been trained over the years to do this for you and for some, it actually works well under pressure, but those are the minority. Most athletes, however, get some degree of what psychologists call “paralysis by analysis” when your analyzer grabs for control of you.
“A centipede was happy – quite!
Until a toad in fun
Said, ´Pray, which leg moves after which?´
This raised her doubts to such a pitch,
She fell exhausted in the ditch
Not knowing how to run.”
This psychological rhyme by George Humphrey, a British psychologist, contains a profound truth: If we have learnt certain movements so that they have sunk below the level of conscious control, then if we try to follow them consciously we very often interfere with them so badly that we stop them.
How to overcome this? What can you do without thinking about it?
The answer is to practice and develop another mental skill that you might have heard before: Trust!
Get out of your own way! That’s in short what I’m talking about here.
You have practiced over and over to teach your muscle memory to do what you want, when you want it. Automatically and without thinking. This is what you need in pressure situations.
Get your analyzer out of the way. You can do this by giving it something to do. That can be repeating a simple sentence, phrase or singing a song in your head in order to occupy it so it doesn’t try to take over.
Imagine riding a bicycle like this: “Ok, make sure and push hard on the right pedal while simultaneously relaxing the leg and foot on the left pedal…. and now do the opposite. Hold your balance by moving side to side…that’s good, you’re doing good now …keep your eyes up so that you can have a good peripheral vision which helps you…”
How far do you think you´ll get like this?
In real life you just get on the bike and think about where you want to go and then you trust your ability to ride the bike because you’ve done it before.
This is what you want to do with your sport. This is how you get into that flow state which is the gateway to the zone.
Now, back to the technique of keeping your analyzer busy. What I recommend is practicing this trust building long before ever competing.
In my seminars and individual coaching we spend a lot of time finding the right phrase and the right picture to put you into your perfect performer self.
If you do this many times in practice and then when pressure time happens and your analyzer tries to control and guide you, you just make it busy by having it repeat your song or phrase. Your power song or phrase then becomes an anchor that brings you back to how you perform beautifully and with trust, in practice.
You build the trust in practice and you invoke it in competition.
This is really powerful if you use it.
However you do it, you’ve got to do it. It’s mostly just a decision in your mind to be aware of this and work on it.
Stop “trying” and start trusting and optimal performances will just happen.
Let me help you discovering your individual way of building trust.