The role pressure plays on performance

One of the topics I work with most often is helping an athlete deal with increased pressure and not letting it impact their sports performance. Pressure and stress change everything, if it didn’t people would be able to perform consistently and up to potential in any situation. However, it is not uncommon for an athlete to be able to perform at one level in practice and then have a different level of performance during a competition. This can mean either their performance suffers or it gets better. 

Most often I see that an athlete performs up to their potential in practice and then the pressure of the competition gets to them and they loose their ability to physically perform up to their potential because they don’t have the necessary mental skills developed. One such skill is learning to control their level of arousal so that they find the sweet spot for them to be “in the zone”. One of the factors that impacts this is finding a balance of stress that works to aid in their sports performance. However, the opposite can also occur where practice doesn’t create enough pressure for an athlete and they don’t practice at a high level. The reason too much or too little pressure can impact the performance of an athlete is illustrated with the Inverted U model known as the Yerkes-Dodson Law. 

Inverted U Model 

This diagram shows the relationship between performance and pressure. It illustrates that a person reaches a peak level of performance when their is moderate amount of pressure. Too little or too much and their performance suffers. There are four influencers that impact this relationship:  

  1. Skill level 
  2. Personality 
  3. Trait Anxiety 
  4. Task complexity

With these influencers in mind one can develop the skills to help consistently perform under pressure. To help you in understanding these influencers and how to use the Inverted U model please visit this link for more information http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/inverted-u.ht

For information on how we can help you deal with pressure in your sports arena and thrive contact us today