In case you missed Step 1 on Pressure Performance from Spencer Wood, make sure you click over and read before diving into the article below.
Step 2 – Develop a Great Clutch Attitude
If we could get in the minds of great pressure performers just before the play action and during the play action and listen to everything their minds were saying, it would revolutionize the way we teach pressure performance. The mental scripts or ‘inner voice’ that we use in the clutch is a huge determining factor; so much so that I believe the boundaries of our performance under pressure are defined by the boundaries of our belief system. A starting point to developing an elite attitude in ‘clutch’ or pressure situations involves 3 resolutions that every athlete should reinforce EVERY TIME they are in a clutch or pressure situation. As an example, let’s use a situation that decides the outcome of numerous games every season – a key last second shot or freethrow in basketball. The athlete should use their own innervoice to reinforce the following beliefs.
I WANT to take this shot, and LOVE being in these situations
I have worked HARD to be in this situation and DESERVE it
I KNOW I have the ability to make the play
There is a saying that is one of the greatest ‘truisms’ in all of sports; “YOU WILL NEVER OUTPERFORM YOUR SELF-BELIEF.” These statements are all about creating and improving a powerful self-belief. The greatest pressure/clutch performers in sports all run a mental script (i.e. the thoughts and words in an athlete’s head) in big games and big moments that is very different than a mediocre pressure performer. In addition, if an athlete never sees herself as an all-conference performer and does not TRULY believe she is an all-conference performer, she never will be. If an athlete never sees herself as a clutch performer, she will never consistently perform well in pressure situations – period. The other incredible benefit of a great mental script routine is that it OCCUPIES our mind during these crucial moments, and so does not allow destructive and debilitating thoughts (such as ‘what if I choke?…I could be letting down so many people….the eyes of the world are on me…etc) to roam free in an otherwise unoccupied mind.
Stay tuned Friday for Step 3!