Even if you are not playing for the championship, the pressure that comes with being an athlete is certainly recognizable in practices and minor competitions. By developing a mindset where you can control your thoughts and maintain your composure, athletes are able to live up to achieve their full potential. 

Top professional athletes such as Roger Federer, Michelle Akers, and Tiger Woods are all globally known for being able to step up their game when the pressure comes on. When it comes to teaching an athlete how to keep themselves composed, most sports psychologists focus on harnessing the championship mindset. If they are able to perform at a relaxed and poised level when an important moment of their career arises, they will be able to maintain their ability when they need it most.

Where do you begin?

In order to stay composed under adversity, it is important to identify the negative thoughts, attitudes, and ineffective beliefs.

Performing well is only possible if you can control your emotions and deal with errors or setbacks in a calm, collected way. If you are a player who continuously has mental breakdowns in competition, identify what causes the frustration. If your frustration builds from the errors you make, the worst thing you can do is dwell on them during play. Instead, make sure you take a moment to think about what changes you could make to perform better.

If your lack of composure derives from having spectators or a fear of failure, you need to stop concerning yourself with what others think and focus on your own performance. When athletes excessively worry about failing, they wind up playing too defensive and tentatively. In addition to this, the players get caught up in their mistakes and lose control of their emotions. The perfect strategy which sports psychologists stress with athletes is the:

3 R's of Composure:
  • Recognize: That you are dwelling too much on your error and not focusing enough on how you will change or continue to play.
  • Regroup: Stop the negative thought or action. Force yourself to move past what happened in the last play, knowing that you can improve on the next one.
  • Refocus: Focus on what you will do next, perform with passion and confidence, and do it.