The Sports Psychology studies how psychological factors like anxiety, panic attack, or other mental illnesses influence sports: athlete's performance, exercise, and physical activities.
Every individual faces problems in our daily lives at work, school, from friends and family and can experience incredible pressure. When performing under pressure, many athletes are crushed, while the competitors crush the competition; why is that?
The most athlete experiences a certain sort of pressure while performing. The most significant thing you need to develop as an athlete is staying calm and performing well under pressure, even in the messiest conditions. Pressure creates tension which ultimately makes an athlete experience more panic attacks, mistakes, and anxiety.
It is better to perform a little below your capability than to perform under pressure, but choking and performing under pressure is significantly below what you are capable of delivering. Skills and physical activities which can be performed under non-pressure situations can be extremely challenging when the same thing is performed under pressure.
The term choke is generally used to explain an athlete’s performance under tremendous pressure. Ultimately, their well-planned strategy goes out of the window, and they struggle to do the same thing they have done hundreds or thousands of times before, while sometimes their mind just goes blank at the moment they need to think on their feet the most.
Male athletes are more likely to perform under pressure than female athletes. There are approximately 4127 women’s games and 4153 men’s games as they are highly competitive. It can ultimately give the athlete a large sum of money as a prize. This situation can ultimately create pressure on the athletes.
Most of the sportsperson underperformed under pressure situations, while some show less deterioration in the performance. The competitive settings have negatively affected male athletes as compared to female athletes.
As we all know the feeling of pressure while performing. Here is the list of common practices which can encourage athletes to perform well under pressure.(Otten, M., 2009)
Play To Win:
Many athletes fall under the trap of not playing to win but losing as they fear failure. The most common strategy is to question their fear. Challenging irrationality and encouraging them to have clear thoughts and vision can protect the athletes against fearing the worst.(Sagar, S.S., Busch, B.K. and Jowett, S., 2010.)
Focus On What You Can Control:
Concentrating on the characteristics of performance that an athlete can’t change can make them nervous stressed. Hence, they must accept controllable situations, as it offers a sense of confidence and certainty.
Athletes must block out everything that could distract them while performing; instead, they should put all their effort into what they have practiced and control. While focusing on the behaviors to have better outcomes makes these outcomes or distractions likely to occur.
Maximize Your Strengths:
Athletes should always look to identify strengths, as this can trigger confidence in them. They should always spend their maximum time minimizing their weakness to improve their strengths for what they will be remembered for.
Have a Clear Game Plan:
An athlete becomes anxious or stressed out in depression when they are unsure about what to do. Hope is always a poor strategy, as developing pre-prepared game plans can reduce some of these feelings of uncertainty.
The Takeaway: An athlete's ability is determined when performing under pressure as the elite athlete is taking the next step to becoming a champion. If athletes could maximize their strength and minimize their weakness and focus entirely on the task, they are giving themselves a chance of taking the step and performing their best.(James, C.E., Tecle, S. and Miller, D., 2013)