Ever been totally psyched out or intimidated before? Have you ever been filled with such powerful, last minute self-doubts pre-performance that you could barely move, never mind play to your potential? Are you tired of having to face that crisis of confidence every time you get ready to perform?
If so, here’s some important information for you to understand: NO ONE CAN INTIMIDATE YOU UNLESS YOU ALLOW IT! That’s right, even though you may currently feel that you have no choice over your self-confidence doing a disappearing act right before game time, you do! Whether you get psyched out or not pre-performance is actually in your control!
Intimidation is a direct product of your focus of concentration just before and during the contest. If you focus on the wrong things before the game starts, then chances are good that you’ll enter the game with the “volume control” of your nervousness turned to deafening and your self-confidence on mute! However, if you maintain control over your concentration, then you’ll go into the competition loose and confident.
What are the wrong things to focus on?
Anyone but yourself! Getting psyched out or intimidated is usually a result of allowing your pre-performance focus to drift to your opponent and what you imagine his skills and strengths to be. Focusing on the competition pre-game rather than on yourself will undermine your self-confidence, spike your pre-game nervousness and insure that you play tentatively.
Sometimes your coach’s pregame talk can inadvertently distract you into getting psyched out. For example, last week I was talking with a high school basketball player who told me that his coach spent the entire pre-game talk focusing on two of the players from the opposing team. He kept emphasizing how good these guys were and how the game couldn’t be won unless these two superstars could be shut down. Unfortunately he spent so much time and energy on these two athletes’ strengths that by the time the game started, his starting five were totally intimidated. During the contest, his team was out of synch, off balance and distracted. They played exceptionally badly and the superstars combined for 48 points! Why? Because the coach got his players totally focused on these two athletes rather than on playing their own game.
To avoid getting psyched out you must keep your concentration on YOU and YOUR JOB! Keep your focus away from who’s watching, what the coaches are thinking and especially, the reputation of, size or strength of the other team or players. Dwelling on the stregths of your opponent will only knock you off center and take you out of your game. The legendary UCLA basketball coach, John Wooden never scouted his opponents. His attitude was that if his team executed their game the way that they had been trained, then what the opponent did would be a non-issue. In keeping his players focused on themselves, Wooden cut down on the possibility that his team would ever get intimidated.
Focus on YOU to play your best. Focus on YOUto insure that your self-confidence remains high pre-game. FOCUS ON YOU TO AVOID PSYCH-OUTS AND INTIMIDATION!