What is the secret to performing your best when it really counts?
Before I answer that question let me take a second to touch on the journey to getting to this point. No matter what your goal, you most likely know the key to reaching it . Parents, teachers, and coaches all drill it into us growing up, Practice makes perfect. This holds true for all aspects of life. Whenever something presents itself that you really want to accomplish you have to work hard for it. You call on your determination and inner fire to practice, just like you are taught. Day in and day out you pour your blood, sweat, and tears into it, whatever it is for you.
For my little sister, who is a gymnast, her goal was to get to level 6 (optionals) by the end of her season. (For anyone not gymnastics savvy, this just means getting to a higher level allowing you to have your own individualized routines). I watched this little 8-year-old munchkin practice her butt off. She was putting in 20-30 hours a week at the gym over the summer and 15 or more hours once school started. She conditioned to get stronger , learned the skills she needed, and practiced her routines. Over and over she practiced building her muscle memory to the point were she didn’t have to think, her body just carried her through each routine.
Why am I telling you this? My point is that in order for the last step to work, you must have done the hard stuff and properly prepared.
My sister had a goal and put in the work to master all the skills she needed. Her coaches were positive she was ready. All that was left to do at this point is shine and let all that hard work pay off.
Easy right? Not so much!
Performing your best Under pressure is hard!
Anyone that’s ever worked towards something they really wanted can relate. Soccer players prepare for the big game. Business professionals prep for a big presentation. Actors ready themselves for the stage. Whatever your end game, no matter how ready , performing your best when it counts is much harder than when you’re in practice.
Nerves kick in, and you get that uneasy feeling in the pit of your stomach. All eyes are on you, you want to succeed. You don’t want to feel like a failure, like you’ve let everyone and yourself down. You prepared yourself to death, did everything right, and you want that to show. What if it doesn’t? What if you drop the ball?
How can you prevent this?
Whats the secret to performing your best on the big day?
Knowing you have properly prepared, put in the hard work, and equipped yourself with the tools needed to succeed, there is one last ingredient. The most important thing you need to do the best you possibly can, when the pressure is on.
Simple, I know, but it’s the truth. The negative self questioning thoughts cluttering your mind on the big day have to stop. To perform your best, when it counts, you need to mentally know you can do it. Push aside self-doubt , fear and anxiety. Tell yourself you’re the best. I’ve got this… Go on, say it to yourself.
The body can only achieve what the mind believes!
This is 100% true! Not believing in yourself will not lead to performing your best!
I’ll use my sister as an example again. When she’s going into a difficult skill, like a back handspring on the balance beam, there is no room for doubt that her feet won’t land on that four-inch surface. If she questions herself, for even a second, she will hesitate and not have the power she needs to land it. It’s vital that she goes into her tumbling with complete confidence, or she can get extremely hurt.
The same is said for myself when I am golfing. Beginning my swing I don’t hope it makes it where I want it to land. I visualize it hitting the green and I make it go there. (Not that it always does) But I certainly have a better chance than if I doubted myself.
Finding your confidence and dialing it in can come in different forms for everyone. You need to learn and find what works for you.
To Sum this up, I repeat, the body can only achieve what the mind believes. Confidence in yourself is the secret to performing your best when it counts. Whether its sports, work, or any goal you have, BELIEVE in yourself and be amazed at what you can accomplish!
Ways to tune out the self-doubt and clear your mind.
Give yourself a pep talk:
Hold your own personal pep-rally. Tell yourself you’re the King/queen and no one is better. I tell myself, I’m the master of the golf ball and it will obey me. It might feel silly at first but it’s better than negativity. Take some of the best athletes in the world, Mohammed Ali for example, He had a whole rant about how great he was. It may have come across as cocky, or maybe that was just his confidence pumping himself up for the ring.
Listen to music that lights your fire:
Find music that gets you pumped and your heart racing. Use those butterflies in your stomach as fuel to demolish what ever obstacles you are facing.
Listen to soothing music:
On the other end, if you are the kind of person that needs to tune out the world and quiet your head, listen to something less heart pounding.
Yoga or meditation:
I know a lot of people who think this is silly, but it’s all about finding what works for you. Yoga or meditation is very calming and can help get your head in the right place.
Enlist the help of a friend:
If you feel to silly talking to yourself, ask a friend to build you up. Have them tell you you’re ready and they know you’ve got this. Sometimes someone else reassuring you can go along way!
The next time you go into something you want to do your best at try it. Go for it with confidence and conquer the world!
Do you have a pre-game ritual?
How do you pump yourself up?
Do you get nervous performing in front of people?