One of the major areas we work on with performers from different contexts is performing under pressure. So whether you are a business person, an athlete, performing artist or school student, here are our Top 10 Tips for performing under pressure.
1. Think of nerves as giving you an additional boost of energy rather than focusing your attention on trying to get rid of them. The main difference between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ nerves is how you think about them.
2. Put your focus on what is important in the present moment. Only the present and process matter for peak performance. Everything else is excess noise – turn the volume down and tune in to what matters.
3. Practice tolerating uncomfortable sensations and feelings. Difficult internal experiences in sport often bring you closer to success.
4. Prepare well both mentally and physically by knowing when to switch on and when to switch off so your focus peaks at the required time. Use routines to reduce the mental energy required to get ready.
5. Go into the event with the mindset that you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Even if you’re the defending champion or the fastest going into the race, everyone has an equal chance to win on the start line. Steven Bradbury is a great example of this! As soon as you have something to lose, you lose sight of what’s important (Remember Tip no 2!).
6. Remember what you have been doing well in training to give you extra confidence. Intentionally remind yourself that you’ve prepared for this!
7. Have a plan including key words that simplify your actions and game plan into easily remembered statements. Also, have a plan to reset and refocus on these key words when you become overwhelmed or feel like your focus is slipping.
8. Keep it simple. Reduce the number of things you have to do and focus on.
9. Have a good routine for after a high pressure performance to gain closure and switch off, allowing you to back up again and perform at a high standard quickly instead of feeling mentally drained.
10. Practice all of these things in low pressure situations so that when the pressure increases, your brain already knows what to do. Training your brain has a similar effect to training your body – it increases your capacity to deal with difficult situations.
Try these tips and let us know how you go! For more information on how we can help you to improve your performance under pressure call or email us here.