Pressure - Choke or deal with it?

May 28, 2017

I thought this topic is quite timely to talk about, because at the time of writing this, I am mentally and physically recovering from a 6-2 loss to USA who we play again today.

Pressure is something that we all experience, in every aspect of our lives. The intensity of the pressure depends on how invested you are in what it is you are doing, how important you think it is, how much you care, and how much you deeply want something. 

In my case, I often put how I deal with pressure down to how well I prepare, and how much I let external circumstances control my actions. What do I mean by this? Yesterday, I let things that the coach was saying affect the way I performed. It got under my skin, I got distracted, and didn’t perform at my optimum. 

You see, there are so many things in our lives that we cannot control. We CANNOT control other people’s actions and opinions, but we CAN control how we let it affect us. It’s easy to say, but hard to do. What’s the old saying, sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me? We are all human. Especially us females, we tend to be very sensitive to what people say, and how long we linger on it. Yesterday, I was a typical example of this. I let my team down by not being fully present. 

I know that when I deal with pressure well, nothing affects me. I see thoughts, feelings, other people’s comments and opinions, and I let them go. My advice? Prepare well. Don’t do anything special or different just because the stakes are higher. The other key is to LET GO. Don’t TRY and make things happen by using self talk, hyping yourself up, trying to focus TOO much. Just simply relax. After all, everything you need to learn to play well, you have already learned. You won’t magically play the best game in the world by over thinking.

So today, as I sit here preparing for our redemption game, I know in my heart that I am in a better space. I have created the right atmosphere that I know I respond well to. I woke up, stretched and meditated. I’m currently listening to soothing music while typing this, having just had a nice coffee. I made my bed, showered and brushed my teeth. I wrote down 10 things I’m grateful for. Soon, I will start switching on, visualising the game and going through my pre game preparation. But not too soon, otherwise my brain gets fatigued. I will NOT let external factors affect me today, and I will play out of my skin. 

Isn’t it amazing, the power of the mind? It can quite literally be the deciding factor about whether you show up and deal with the pressure, or you go hiding, and choke. 

More to come on the mind, as I think there’s so much more to learn here! 

-Brooke

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