Get Competition-Ready Webinar Series.
Performing Under Pressure
Every athlete, performing artist, coach, parent, and motivated human being, must address the experience of stress. Whether anxiety or the fears that come from being tested, we always get a surge of adrenaline, sometimes a racing heart, and pressure that can totally take over our mind and body.
Have you ever observed individuals during these challenges who appear supremely confident? Have you ever wondered: How do they do that? They have a skill set that is specifically designed to help them maintain control, even under these stressful circumstances. They’ve trained to do that. They work these skills daily, and their ability to maintain composure under adversity is practiced like any other essential ingredient to their performance.
The simple difference is that they are able to control their anxiety around performing. When people begin to “think about” performing, it triggers arousal in the nervous system, which at times can be overwhelming.
This ability to control your nervous system’s response to a challenge is pivotal to success in many ways. Once one learns to focus. They tune into the right things. They begin to focus on the task-at-hand. They quiet the “chatter” in their head. They don’t listen to the voice telling them of how “stressed” they are… they channel their attention to exactly “what” they want to control, where they want their focus to be.
This enables performers to understand to 2 very important things: 1) What are they paying attention to? And, 2) What is their intention in focusing on that particular thing?
This begins our first look at “what are we doing?”, “why?”,” who is driving the bus?”, “how aware are we of our “actions-our behavior- or – why we do the things we do?”. Most athletes and performers play because they “love it”. They are good at it, and know this because they excel, have natural talent, or have experienced success and like the way it feels. Even this level of “awareness” requires an understanding of motivation.
This session focuses on “pre-competition stress” in all its forms. Situations like tryouts, auditions, competing head-to-head for the same position, and more will be covered.
You will acquire an overall understanding of “how” we perform our best when the pressure is on. We will learn breadthwork, techniques to reduce muscle tension, focusing skills, and pre-performance routines that replace stress with the confidence “we can do this”.
Then we add the ‘secret sauce’. You’ll know what to do, when to do it, and how to use it. Throughout this session, we will learn about “arousal control”, and the most important elements in achieving emotional composure.
Managing Strong Emotions
Maintaining emotional composure is key to success. The human condition, our emotional attachments, are at the heart of both our inspiration, our “Why”. These things that set us apart from those who just go through the motions without any “feeling”.
Strong emotions are an essential part of being human. Knowing how to properly manage emotions is a challenge for all of us. Anger, Disappointment, Fear, Confusion, and yes, even Joy…. all contribute to mistakes – the kinds of mistakes – every one of us makes. We must train ourselves to deal with strong emotions.
This session will help you gain a clear understanding of how thoughts/feelings/emotions and actions all work – together or against each other. We will learn how emotions, moods, and attitudes are formed. We will also learn how these things impact our behavior. We will see how “triggers” cause us to “react” and the difference it makes when we “respond” consciously.
We will explore “self-talk” and learn how to rephrase statements that send us down the wrong path.
We will take a survey to see just how patterns in our thinking impact “how” we manage our emotions.
Our goal: is to maintain our composure … even in the most challenging of circumstances.
Focus – Concentration – Execution
Making mistakes is a part of life. It’s a part of every game, every performance, practice session, rehearsal, and every action we take to become better and better at our craft. This session will begin with a clear understanding of the importance of how our mindset contributes to success or failure.
This session will also leave a clear impression of just “how” our expectations can help us or hurt us. Do we have “distortions” in our thinking? Our we vulnerable to having “to be perfect”? Can we be the best at getting “better”? How DO we manage our own patterns of thinking? Do we have problems with the pursuit of “excellence.”
Once mindset is established, and our expectations are framed constructively – we begin to understand attentional focus. We will acquire tools, techniques, and routines to properly prepare our minds and our bodies to pay attention to the right things, and do those things in the right way, in the right order, so that we give ourselves our very best “Opportunity” for success and we perform well, even in the most difficult of circumstances.
When we do this, we focus on our PLAN. We can visualize our goals and see, feel, and imagine exactly “how” we will execute our performance plan. You will be introduced to PETTLEP/S imagery and how to craft our own visualizaton scripts, or our detailed mental rehearsal plan. Some elite athletes write “mantras” that they repeat to themselves throughout different parts of their competition to keep themselves fresh and focused on the right things.
Athletes and performing artists are in control of 3 things: preparation, effort, and attitude. It all begins with preparation and our ability to focus on the right things at the right time – always on the things performers can control.
Knowing how to shift our focus in the middle of a performance is also something that must be trained. Visualizing routine adjustments that come up in competition, enables us to apply these adjustments quickly and efficiently. Not only is “Plan B” thought out in advance, it is practiced like any other part of the performance.
Dr. Stephen Walker, “Athletes and Performers who are in control … are unstoppable. Those that are out of control are unpredictable … a situation that makes coaches, athletes and parents feel vulnerable.”
A program like this must address Confidence. Confidence is one of those things we must learn. We have to start building it from the moment we begin learning a new skill. We must review our lessons consistently and frequently in order to add to our “base” Confidence. Then, the hard part comes – How do we protect our Confidence when bad things happen…or when we experience the unexpected?
Building Confidence is a skill. It requires practice. It requires preparation. More importantly, it requires consistency in performing routines – designed to anchor our feelings, and our memory to recall the work we did in preparing for our performance. Confidence enables us to trust that we are prepared, we are ready, we have done the work many times, that all we need to perform well … is to repeat those things we’ve done in our training many times.
Our goal is to be “ready and focused” to do what we love to do, “perform.”
This is the most common concern among high-level performers. Mastery in performing with Confidence is best observed when people consistently employ a number of the skills and practices we will demonstrate. There are many techniques and no one size fits all, however, “CONSISTENCY” is one key requirement. Journaling – power words – mantras – working with specific training partners, imagery, visualization and reframing negatives into positives are “also” part of the process.
Then we have teammates, coaches, parents, trainers, and other key supporters we can nurture our relationships with. A lot of coaches talk about ways we can work with our teammates to build a winning culture and protect our confidence even more. This too will be part of our program.
Building Your Team from the Inside Out
Support systems are key. Coaches, parents, managers, athletic trainers, and fans – can all make a difference in helping us win, or at the very least, play our best with Confidence.
One thing for sure is that no one gets there alone. Enjoying strong teammates, developing the right kind of feelings working together., Enjoying the process as we go along helps us build the right kind of team culture.
This session will discuss how teams work well – or not. We will also focus on what you can do to be a positive influence on your team, and enhance the probability that your team will be successful. Anyone who has played sport understands how teams with lesser talent often win even when they aren’t expected to. They somehow accomplish the most with the tools at hand.
A good team culture will help you protect your own confidence, and to shift momentum in positive ways.
People always remember supportive and fun teams they worked with, but they try to forget quickly the ones that weren’t.
In this class, you will learn about how your thinking and self-talk contribute to your overall life experience, and especially how you respond in situations where adversity is a part of the mix.
How supportive are you, to yourself and your teammates? We will explore those things that help and those things that get in the way. If time permits, we will use another assessment that helps you understand how you can shift your tendencies in the direction of better team chemistry.
We will learn positive thought habits. We will work on a technique for using “thought discipline” as a valuable tool. These internal discussions have an impact on how we define our own happiness and sense of purpose.
In the end, however, it is our “actions” that determine the results we see. Actions contribute to our team’s cohesion. Actions determine whether our technique in performing is good or excellent.
Our actions include the choices we make to employ a mental warmup, practice with a purpose, to respond rather than react, and eventually whether our experience is a positive one.
Session V – Part II:
Session V – Part II:
Questions and Answers with Dr. Walker
Each and every participant has specific situations and concerns they can receive assistance within this session. Refining your routines, or exploring the use of a technique, or, just examining another way to succeed. Virtually any concern, question or problem is fair game for this session.
Questions can be submitted before the session or asked during the program itself. For those that submit beforehand, Dr. Walker may be able to prepare a handout or seek out a video that demonstrates a solution.
Our goal: To “Get-Competition Ready.”
Podium loves teammates! Join with a friend and each of you receive 5% off of your registration.
Teams of 4 or more can enroll at 10% off for each participant!
Group sizes are limited so act now to ensure your place.