Sunday, October 2, 2011

Dealing with Pressure

Throughout life we are put under pressure in many situations. Whether it is pressure one puts on his or her self or the pressure from others. As athletes, you have three or four times the pressure that comes from many places; such as more pressure to perform in front of friends and family. As an athlete you may have pressure from coaches, family, and friends to perform, plus pressure to do well in school; not to mention just the everyday pressure of being a teenager and normal life issues.

One way to handle pressure is to not add any extra unnecessary pressure, such as beating yourself up for not meeting expectations of others or yourself. YOU SHOULD NEVER THINK SELF DEFEATING THOUGHTS DUE TO PRESSURE PUT ON YOURSELF OR BY OTHERS. Saying negative things to yourself like “I am a failure” will only add to the pressure.

A way to ease the pressure is to relax and think about the things you do well in the pressure situation. Such as basketball, it may be a really important game and the coach may be very intense, instead of thinking about how tough the situation is going to be, think about all the things you are able to do well on the court and focus on those things to win. Or for school; do not focus how hard a test may be and start having self defeating thoughts. Think about how much you have studied and prepared along the way.


Think about a time in life, school, and basketball where pressure was high. How did you react, what was the outcome?

Think about a time when pressure has caused you to fail in those same three settings.

Think about when you have overcame pressure to succeed in those same three settings.

Pressure is a giving in life, those that over come it do it with believing in themselves and their abilities, and not dwelling on it when they sub come to the pressures of life. Each of us will have trouble in pressure situations and not always come out on top, but bouncing back and not doing the same damaging things is the key.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Being Focused

Being Focused:

Start of practice and start of games. It is sometimes difficult to be focused coming directly from class to practice or games, because you have just been laughing and having fun with your friends. However, you need to know how to immediately focus on what you are about to do and what you want to accomplish. Getting focused before games is the most important. You need to know how to get focused and into game mode, so that you are ready right from the start. Most of the time when players and teams are not focused and ready they fall behind by 5 or 10 points early, and then have to comeback. You should not need a deficit to realize it is time to play. Or in practice; get ready and focused after running walls or a coach yelling, to realize it is time to get serious and focused.

 Losing Focus:

 The other thing is losing focus. Some may get distracted easily when waiting in line during practice or by friends and family speaking with them before games. Others may lose focus due to dwelling on mistakes, pressure, being nervous, or worrying. When this occurs, if it occurs, you just need to re-focus on what you are doing right and/or concentrate on the task at hand. If you lose focus due to negative comments, pressure, nervousness, or worry, use your strengths to re-focus. Your strengths are all the things you do well on the court. Losing your focus may happen from time to time and it is ok, but you need to regain that focus.

 Getting Focused:

 Being focused is very important, but some may not know how to get focused. The easiest way is to do the things that relax you and/or make you feel comfortable. This could be listening to music or just going over plays. A way to get focused when nervous, worried, or dwelling on mistakes is by RELAXING. Take a couple of deep breaths and think about what you are supposed to do, and remember that you have practice all the skills, and most importantly TRUST IN YOUR ABILITIES AND SKILLS. Another is having a queue word or something you can look at to remind you to get focused.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Positive Self-Talk

Positive self-statements can be programmed deeply into your mind if you repeat them several times while in a relaxed state. You might also want to combine them with a visualization process so you picture yourself achieving your goal as you reinforce it verbally with affirmations. You can also say them to yourself as you go about the day. Try saying them as you look into the mirror upon first rising in the morning and before retiring to bed. Commuting to and from school is a great time to recite affirmations, or while walking, or waiting in line at the grocery store.

One powerful way to take in positive information is to hear it from your own voice: Record a tape where you give instructions to take ten deep breaths, then repeat each of your affirmations slowly three times. You can also read any quotations from other writers that you find particularly inspirational. Then play the tape before bedtime. Your subconscious mind will likely work with this information during sleep. Also, type up your affirmations on cards and place them in strategic places around the house.

Notice the type of language you use in your conversations with People. As you talk about, say, your upcoming game, do you characterize it as a hard to win, or practicing being long and tiresome? Or do you describe it as an exciting. Try incorporating helpful affirmations into your conversations with people and notice how they tend to respond with positive statements. You can also ask others to give you affirmations (e.g. remind you that you are a capable, energetic athlete).

Now, try mentally programming your goals and make them come alive by turning them into positive self-statements. Take each one of your goals and phrase it as an affirmation. Here is an example:

Goal: To become a great shooter:
"My accuracy and rage is getting better and better each moment."
"Every day I am moving closer to my scoring goal."

Finally, you can notice how your affirmations are modeled in the environment. If, for instance, you want to shoot like Ray Allen, watch footage of his games and practice routines. Then give yourself permission to play and shoot purely like Ray Allen.

Affirmations should not be used alone to cover up a deep emotional conflict. They are best employed in conjunction with a variety of other methods. If you are feeling particularly sad or depressed, honor your feelings and take them as warning signs that something inside needs to be addressed. First take immediate steps to explore your mental state, and deal directly with the problem. You could perhaps talk to a friend, see a sports psychologist, or write out your thoughts in a journal. Once you are feeling better, then use affirmations to reinforce a foundation of inner strength that can allow you to move forward.

Remember, affirmations are essential tools to help you focus on personal strengths. Every great performance is given by an athlete who has conditioned the mind to see the possibility of achieving that performance.