As athletes prepare for competition in their respective sport, coaches hold the physical state of the individual in high regard while their mental state becomes more of an afterthought. There is a heavy emphasis on one-rep maxes, speed and agility tests, and various conditioning protocols. All in an effort to ensure that the athlete is physically strong and fit enough to engage and last through their competition.
However, when one examines any sport or competition, athletes undergo numerous situations where they can experience a tremendous amount of mental stress and anxiety. Ask yourself, are your athletes mentally prepared to persevere through overwhelming circumstances in a big game or competition? If your athletes are not prepared enough, they are more likely to succumb to an increased level of anxiety and its potent ill effects. As we know too much anxiety often leads to worry, fear, panic, etc., which will interfere and become detrimental to their performance on the field.
Let’s explore a few scenarios where an increased level of anxiety can have a negative impact on performance:
1. The NFL kicker that’s forced to think about hitting the potential game tying or game winning field goal after getting iced by the opposing team.
2.The college basketball player that has to shoot two free throws in the final seconds of the game to win the conference championship.
3.The high school soccer player that has to make their penalty kick to stave off elimination.
As you can see, athletes frequently find themselves in high stress situations, so this further begs the question, how can we address and prepare the mental state of our athletes? One method that can potentially address this issue is through our breathing. Learning to properly take a deep breath can have a profound calming effect on our body from a physiological standpoint which will contribute to a better mental state. Watch this quick video below to see how Stuart Singer, Director and Performance Coach at WellPerformance delves deeper into this process.
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