Cope with mental pressure in sports
Updated: Jul 14
When I was playing football, it was hard for me to be as good in competition as I was in training without pressure. Here there was less pressure and expectations, and it was without the fear of failing.
The hardest part was to acknowledge that I didn't have the skills and tools to handle this and accept that "get yourself together" didn't really work for me.
When the fear of failing took over, I did not dare to try with the things that I normally was good at and which were at the same time expected by an offensive player like me.
If you focus on avoiding mistakes, you lose focus from achieving your goals.
When I played in professional soccer, I worked with a sports psychologist and mental trainer to get rid of fear, nervousness, and negative thoughts. I know now that it is not a requirement for high performance, but it makes it easier and a lot more comfortable to perform.
She said, "if your thoughts are negative and your focus is negative, you reduce your performance". I still hear that sentence in my head.
I was interested in understanding the performance process and the psychology behind peak performance in sport. I therefore devoted 5 years to my life to study sport psychology at Universities in USA and Denmark.
I had my first practice 5 years ago and that day today, my motivation is still fed by the pleasure of breaking the code to make athletes perform better.
The mental work of the performance process is in-depth and takes time. It therefore takes time to obtain the necessary experience and knowledge of my sports athletes, but one thing is certain:
They always perform better...