Once you step onto the field for an important try-out or game, the difference between playing well or poorly lies completely between your ears! When the game is on the line and the competitive pressure is turned up high, playing to your potential is all about how well you can execute mentally. That is, are you able to stay calm and composed under pressure? If you go into a game too nervous, you’ll come out of it bitterly disappointed. Staying relaxed under big game pressure is one of the secrets to being able to play your game, the way you are capable of playing.
Do you have the ability to focus on what’s important and let go of everything else?
Concentration, when controlled, is the key to your performance excellence. However, if you lose control of your focus and concentrate on the wrong things either before or during your game, you will undermine your confidence, get yourself nervous and then underachieve.
Can you quickly let go of your mistakes and bad breaks and get your head back in the action?
Players who get really mad at themselves for screw-ups, who carry around their mistakes during the game (i.e. “You suck!” “I can’t believe you blew that pass!”) end up distracting themselves from the flow of the game, rapidly losing their confidence and making more mistakes. Champions have “reboundability” or the mental skill to quickly let their mistakes go and return their focus back to the action.
Do you know how to avoid getting psyched out or intimidated?
Playing your best when it counts the most demands that you stay centered and “play your own game.” This can only happen when you focus on yourself and your job. If you are in the habit of allowing your concentration to stray to your opponents, their skill level, size or reputation, then you will quickly find yourself getting psyched out.
As a field hockey player you must make a commitment to work hard on your mental game as well as your physical one. You’d never leave your conditioning or skill execution to chance! So why leave this critical mental part of your game up in the air? You have to believe in yourself and have the self-confidence to focus on yourself and not your opponents when you're under pressure. You have to be able to handle last minute negativitiy and self doubts. You have to be able to master your fears.
With a little work these mential skills, as well as a few important others can be systematically trained to the point where you develop the reputation as a mentally tough competitor. My CD program, The Best Mental Toughness Training Program for Field Hockey Players (ON SALE NOW!) will take you to the next level!
Are you struggling with performance anxiety or a slump? Do you consistently perform better in practice than when it counts?
Dr. G has worked with high school and college field hockey teams across the country. As the former Sports Performance Consultant to the University of Connecticut, Dr. G worked closely with the Huskies' field hockey team as well as individual players. He is the author of the revoluntionary new book, "This Is Your Brain On Sports: Beating Blocks, Slumps and Performance Anxiety for Good!" Check out his most popular program- Mental Toughness Training Package for Field Hockey Players-Special Savings.