One of the biggest mental traps that athletes fall into is the “trying too hard” trap. Fueled by frustration or making the contest too important, trying too hard is a losing game. As a matter of fact, it’s the game of diminishing returns: The harder you try, the worse you’ll do! This is because trying too hard tightens your muscles up and absolutely kills your mechanics. Trying too hard gets you forcing things and peak performance always comes from being relaxed and “letting it happen.” Be alert inside to when you start pressing and trying to make something “big” happen. When you become aware of yourself trying too hard, quickly shift your focus of concentration away from the outcome or its importance to the task at hand. Remember you want to relax and try “softer,” not harder.

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