Your ability to perform under pressure can be as important as your physical skills. Here are some tips gleaned from golf…
According to Robin Sieger, author of Golf’s Moment of Truth: How to play under pressure and avoid the choke point, we choke under pressure because we fear something going wrong that is our own fault. We then fail to operate intuitively and our actions stop flowing in the involuntary manner they have been trained to do through practice. We become too self aware.
Fear of losing is a strong emotion. Sieger recommends learning to accept it as part of the process and enjoyment of the sport you love. You’ll eventually get used to it. Rehearse negative scenarios that could happen and think about what you would do to manage any potential situation.
Sieger has clients visualise a stressful situation on the golf course, one which in competition would create tension and the likelihood of a bad shot. While they are visualising this, he then asks them to visualise playing the shot perfectly. This familiarises them with playing a shot under pressure. Golfers, he says, need to rehearse mentally, off the course, what they will do in a pressure situation on it.
“The more we do this, the deeper in our subconscious will we embed the memory of managing pressure on the course. When we find ourselves in competition for real, and face a pressure shot that we have visualised a hundred times or more,we will have the memory of having hit the shot just the way we want it.”4