It’s a conversation I’ve had with a number of parents of promising young athletes in every sport from horseback riding to tennis, baseball, football, field hockey, cheer-leading, basketball, diving, soccer, you name the sport it is a challenge in every single one.
The athlete has talent, backed up by all the right foundational skills. Everything works in practice but in the clinch moment in the big game, something happens that stops them from accessing their true abilities.
Call it what you will, “choking”, “freezing”, “fear of failure”, “fear of success” or what it really is: “performance anxiety.”
It is a mental problem that few people truly know how to address.
In baseball, as in most sports, the mental attitude and mental resourcefulness of a player trumps talent.
Here is what happens with many promising young athletes:
- They show great interest and love of a particular sport.
- Talent and ability follow.
- Parents notice and encourage this.
- Parents pay for private coaching, travel teams, sports camps, the best equipment etc.
- There is an investment of 1,000’s of hours of practice, practice and more practice. The young athlete is showing a lot of promise…
- Then one day something happens. The talent seems to dry up in certain situations. Maybe it was playing against a tough team and losing a big game. It could be something like getting hit with a pitch and experiencing a certain hesitancy to be as aggressive as before. Or it could be a blatant mistake that cost a victory or a title for his or her team and the negative emotions of shame, guilt or frustration that close down the flow of talent.
- Or perhaps a “mysterious” illness or weakness shows up in their physical body that no doctor can find or explain.
So in the case of this young pitcher, he loves baseball. He pitches fine in practice. But on the mound in a game something changes, some channel of energy and ability gets shut down.
Now the same thing happens with musicians, actors, speakers, aspiring fighter pilots and sales people but to quote the mother of this young man,
“He loves to sing and the same performance anxiety thing happens that stops him from trying out for the school musical, but we haven’t spent thousands and thousands of dollars and umpteen hours on singing lessons!”
In the case of many elite high school athletes, the investment of thousands of dollars and hours as well as potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in college scholarship money is at risk if they don’t resolve this problem. NOW!
That my dear reader adds up to an incredible amount of pressure to perform. Not unlike that of a CEO who is responsible for the welfare of an entire company, the student athlete has an entire team depending upon him or her to deliver in tough, challenging, tension filled moments in front of friends, family, peers, or even stadiums full of people.
This problem can be fixed… FAST
It all comes down to the kinds of thoughts, attitudes, beliefs and perceptions an athlete is running between their ears.
Our mental thought processes are not carved in stone. Whatever “operating system” we are currently running in our minds, was something we learned.
Having overcome this myself, and having helped countless others in many different fields of endeavor from boardrooms to locker rooms, I can coach anyone who is willing to learn, how to be at their absolute best in the absolute toughest, pressure filled situations. What’s more, I can help you or your athlete to have fun again.
Don’t take it from me, Chicago Bulls and L.A. Lakers Champion Coach Phil Jackson, writes in his book, “Sacred Hoops”,
“In basketball [or any sport], true joy comes from being fully present in each and every moment, not just when things are going your way. Of course, its no accident that things are more likely to go your way when you stop worrying about whether you’re gong to win or lose and focus our full attention on what’s happening right at this moment.”
The best thing about this is that if we fix this now (and in most cases it can be fixed in as few as 4 or 5 sports hypnosis / “mental toughness training” sessions), the ability to master pressure and high performance situations translates into a set of skills that practically guarantee an incredibly successful life beyond sports.
Oh, and it just might keep the possibility of that scholarship money on the table…
And that’s where Sports Hypnosis and Mental Toughness Training come in.
The difference can be rapid and significant. Why not get the edge that is quietly waiting for you in your unconscious mind?
Got questions? I have answers and I want you to have them, so…