“The key to winning is poise under stress”— Paul Brown
We have all been there – the referee makes an unfavorable call; your opponent is faster than you; your throwing is off; the ground is wet, but what separates elite athletes from mediocre athletes is the ability to perform during the intense competition despite the obstacles and adversity they may face.
There are a million excuses for not performing your best during a competition, but professional athletes make no excuses. Simply put, if you want to become a professional, you’ll need to learn how to deal with stress and pressure effectively.
So what exactly is competitive stress?
Sport psychologists for football define it as an athlete’s perception of the imbalance between the environmental demands placed on him or her and the athlete’s response capacity and resources for meeting those demands.
If the athlete perceives the demands as exceeding his or her capabilities, the result is increased competitive stress.
This increase in stress can lead to apprehension, loss of football confidence, tension and inability to concentrate. That’s why competitive stress is one of the most studied areas among sport psychologists, there are many strategies and techniques you can learn to cope with anxiety during competition.
No one knows you more than you, but when you run from difficult circumstances or uncomfortable situations, you don’t give yourself the chance to prove that you can overcome the adversity.
It’s all about environment. Sticking through tough times give you the football confidence you need to keep your composure when stuff hits the fan. It’s okay to be in touch with emotions, but having some control over them is beneficial. Instead of emitting an emotional response that stems from your discomfort and fear of the situation, you’ll be capable of checking emotions at the door and taking care of your game with improved football mental toughness.
Certain things are out of your control, and for some athletes, that simple fact is stressful.
With higher football mental toughness, however, you know when something is your responsibility. You spring into action and engage your football mind to produce great results for you and your team, and you don’t waste energy on the things you can’t control.
Time is perhaps the single most valuable resource, and mentally strong athletes understand this.
They aren’t hesitant to scrap the activities that bring them down, and they prioritize their tasks so they can focus on getting the most important things done.
Create an action plan that includes your goals or objectives, the tasks that need to be done, with deadline dates, and break these goals or objectives into small milestones. This will help you to balance your daily routines and personal life.
Developing football mental toughness is a work in progress. There is always room for improvement, and at times this will seem more difficult than at other times.
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