There has been lots of great performances and inspiring moments at the Olympics, but there have been 3 things that have really stood out for me:
- How much it has meant to athletes when they haven’t succeeded to the level they thought they were capable of.
- The level of effort that can clearly be seen at the end of contests
- Those that have been successful when they have had huge pressure and expectations to perform.
Each of these athletes had huge expectations placed on them, and none more so than Jessica Ennis. I’m sure all these athletes will say that the pressure and expectations they place on themselves are far greater than any external ones, but they still have to be dealt with.
These athletes, and many more, were expected to win for a reason and they had the mentality and capability to go out and prove they are the best in their chosen event.
Don’t Just Think You Are the Best
There are lots of methods that can be employed to help people cope with pressure in all walks of life. However, surely the most obvious one is to first of all prepare for competition as well as you can. Therefore, when you step on to the court, pitch or track you have confidence in your ability, which will go a long way to helping you cope with pressure.
Here’s what 400m World Champion Dai Greene had to say about it…
"Pressure is always there before competition and even during.
But you're just trying not to think about that and concentrate on what you can control, and what I can control is how much effort I put into training every day.
If I train really hard, then I'll have the confidence when I step on the start line and that helps me deal with the expectation and the pressure."
Read more from the above article here.
Aim to be the ‘Top Dog’
You have no doubt heard people talking about, and some actually liking, being the ‘Underdog’, but if you think about it, to accept being this is to effectively admit that you are not as good as the opponents you are about to face.
Why would anyone want to be an underdog? Why not train as hard as you can to be as good as possible and then go and prove it? I’m quite sure there are mind games in all of this, but why can’t the mind game be that you have prepared yourself as well as you can to give the best performance possible?
So what do you think? What have you taken from the Olympics that you will use in your coaching?
I look forward to hearing from you.