• July 12th, 2020

My weekly take away - Staying cool and calm in the clutch

Good day my people, welcome to another addition of My Weekly Takeaway. Today’s deposit is focused on how to avoid choking in sport competition. 

Firstly, pre-game nervousness can come from different sources, how good your opponents are; how important a competition is; how big the crowd is (and who in it is watching you, perhaps your crush that you want to impress); the list goes on. 

The biggest secret to playing your best when it counts the most is learning how to keep yourself calm and composed. When you allow yourself to get too nervous or too excited right before or during a competition, then your muscles will tighten up, you’ll lose your confidence and your play will go right down the tubes. This is what it means to CHOKE! 

The real cause of out of control nervousness
While there are many things about your competitions that can potentially make you nervous, the true cause of your performance-disrupting nervousness isn’t any of the things that I’ve just mentioned above. The real cause of your out-of-control nerves is you! That’s right! You make yourself nervous! 

What I’m saying here is very important, it’s not what’s happening around or outside of you that makes you nervous. It’s what’s happening inside that is the real cause of your anxiety!

Here’s what I mean: It’s not the size, skill level or reputation of your opponents that makes you nervous. It’s what you say to yourself about them in the days, hours and minutes leading up to the game, match or race – that’s the real culprit in sending your heart rate and blood pressure through the roof! 
Nervousness is always caused by our inner response to the things that are going on outside of us. But here’s the good news about that: If you make yourself nervous, then you have the ability to change your inner response to calm yourself down under competitive pressure.  

To stay calm under pressure, you must learn to go into competitions with a completely different headset and focus. Get pumped up right before a game, try listening to some optimistic music with motivating lyrics. You can also do some stretches and warm-up exercises right before the game to loosen your muscles and get your blood pumping. The bottom line is, keep your focus on you, your job and your play. 

*Stefan Ngolo can be reached at ngoloset@gmail.com

Staff Reporter
2020-03-11 07:47:59 | 4 months ago

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