Published on 12 November 2021

What If A Sportsman Is Going Under Pressure?

Sports Psychology what-if-a-sportsman-is-going-under-pressure
Table of Contents

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 their 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 specific 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 performed under non-pressure situations can be extremely challenging when the same thing is performed under pressure.

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 when they need to think on their feet the most.

Pressure Like Situations by Athletes

Male athletes are more likely to perform under pressure than female athletes. There are approximately 4,127 women’s games and 4,153 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 sportspersons performed under pressure, while some showed less deterioration in performance. The competitive settings have negatively affected male athletes as compared to female athletes.

Frequently asked questions

Athletes must find ways to manage this pressure Pressure can come in many forms: the expectations put on them by themselves and external factors.
Pressure can come from fans, coaches, sponsors, or even themselves. It's natural to be nervous when in the spotlight, and it can easily lead to a fear of failure and doubts about one's own abilities. Also, unfamiliar environments or unexpected mistakes can make you feel under pressure.
For some, football might be the highest-pressure sport due to its physical intensity and skill level needed to play at a high level. For others, basketball may be the one because of its fast pace and the number of competing teams; for others, it may be a different sport.

Steps To Manage Pressure

Here we explained the potential effects of pressure on athletes and what steps can be taken to manage it.

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.

Focus On What You Can Control

Concentrating on the characteristics of performance that an athlete can’t change can make them nervous and stressed. Hence, they must accept controllable situations, as it offers a sense of confidence and certainty.

Be Focused

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

Athlete becomes anxious or stressed out, and depressed 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. 

Causes Of Pressure For Athletes

Competition in sports can lead to a lot of pressure on athletes. Professional athletes are under immense pressure from their coaches, fans, and sponsors to do well and live up to expectations; missing a shot or coming in second place might mean their job is on the line. 

Amateur athletes also feel pressured by all this as they strive to reach their own personal goals. Most athletes enter sports because they have a passion for it, but the internal pressure can make them so tense that they don’t enjoy playing anymore. 

To make matters worse, external pressures like media attention and social media adding depression scrutiny add another layer of stress to anxious individuals.

Signs That Pressure Is Becoming Too Much

When the pressure starts taking its toll, there are a few signs that could indicate it is becoming too much. These include:

  • Feelings of exhaustion, 
  • Difficulty concentrating and focusing, 
  • Persistent worry or anxiousness, 
  • Loss of motivation and pleasure, 
  • Restlessness, 
  • Irritability with others, 
  • Headaches and chest pains, 
  • Trouble sleeping,
  • Diarrhea or other digestive issues. 

It is essential to recognize these symptoms to take control of the pressures building up before they start having a more harmful or lasting effect.

Cognitive Impacts Of Pressure

The pressure to succeed can significantly impact an individual’s cognitive functioning. Under too much pressure, one may experience more intense stress and feel sluggish or overwhelmed. Planning and thinking rationally become difficult, productivity decreases, and decision-making processes become irrational or careless. 

This lack of focus on the task affects one’s ability to compartmentalize issues and interpret details accurately. 

When under immense pressure, feelings of incompetence often overpower our self-confidence and significantly hamper our mental faculties for problem-solving and creative thinking. Knowing

the key to preventing these cognitive effects from impacting one's progress.

Practical Steps To Deal With Pressure

Dealing with pressure can be difficult, but there are some practical steps that you can take to make it more manageable. 

  • Try to remain mindful of your stress triggers: whether it's an event, person, or situation that puts you on edge; being aware of what causes the stress is key to dealing with it. 
  • Secondly, take care of yourself: get enough sleep and eat healthy meals.
  • Staying physically healthy can go a long way toward keeping your mind in a good place. 
  • Find time for activities that relieve the pressure; whether exercising, listening to music, or chatting with friends online over a video call, taking a break from your stressful environment is essential for coping. 
  • Set realistic goals that help relieve the burden of pressure, and remember not to be too hard on yourself if those goals cannot be reached.

Bottom Line From Practical Anxiety Solutions 

An athlete's ability is determined when performing under pressure, as the elite athlete is taking the next step to become a champion. If athletes could maximize their strengths, minimize their weaknesses, and focus entirely on the task, they could take the step and perform their best.

Best is always determined by the practice and all the hard work an athlete puts into the sport. To manage all such pressure, it is important to depressure your own mental health and be in a controlled mindset. 

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