selective focus photography of gauge

Helping others with pressure

How can we help ourselves to perform under pressure? Or how can we help others to perform under pressure? When we’re working as sports science, medicine or coaching support in sports pressure will be common place, whether that’s at elite level, recreational or otherwise.

We know that our behaviours change under the stresses and pressures of performance. Whether it is an athlete performing in a final, a player taking a conversion, free throw or penalty kick. Or equally as coaches and support ports scientists – we need to make sure we’re regulating our behaviours so that we’re not too intense or on the other end of the spectrum that we’re avoiding situations.

Self-management is one of the areas that comes up time and time again when we ask employers to tell us what they’re looking for in sports science and medical support staff. But how can you do that when you are ‘in the moment’?

To help get myself or others in the best place possible, I’ve benefitted from the following method, highlighted by Pete Lindsay in The Psychologist in the lead up to the London 2012 olympics

  • De-escalate
  • Normalise
  • Simplify

Questions that can help you gain control;

De-escalate (reducing the stress)

  1. What objective observations can be made?
  2. Is the response credible?
  3. What are the emotions?

Normalise (getting a grip)

  1. Is the incident normal?
  2. Could it have been anticipated?

Simplify (focussing)

  • What is the single simplest solution?
  • How can you visualise your response as a single image?

Using this 3 step process can help us go from stressed out, to calmer; intense to a wider perspective; overwhelmed to clear focus.

What helps you perform under pressure?