We all have felt pressure, from a job, a test, or playing in a sporting event. Pressure can crush you or it can be seen as an opportunity to rise.
In 2005 Graham Betchart was in the early years of his mental training career and was selected as the mental skills coach at the Swiss Nike Basketball All Star Camp. The star of the camp was Damien Wilkins and with a chance to talk to a pro, Graham sat down with Wilkins for a quick interview.
“I asked him, what does pressure feel like for you?” said Graham “He (Wilkins) responded with a laugh and said what you call pressure, I call joy.”
So Graham followed up with “What does joy feel like to you?”
Graham said Wilkins laughed again and said “I feel like I’m going to shit in my pants, my palms are sweaty, and my heart is pounding. But guess what I’m about to do, play basketball and I’m really good at playing basketball.”
The last thing Graham asked was “What do you think about after you miss a shot?” Wilkins said, “Looked good, felt good, my next shot is good.”
What Wilkins showed was that there is great power in reframing, taking a situation that is seen as negative and looking at it from a different point of view. Feelings will always come up but your feelings are not facts, and you can choose what those feelings mean.
“If you want to conquer the pressure of performing, you must learn to live in the moment.” -Don Kalkstein (Dallas Mavericks Sport Psychologist)
Adversity and pressure can make or break performances, it depends on how you have learned to handle these during competition.
Aside from reframing situations, you must relentlessly trust your skills and stay focused on the task at hand. If you have trained for it, you must trust it. Focus on the process, how is your attitude? How is your effort? Are you where your feet are in this very moment?
It is a ruthless competition with yourself to perform in the present.
”Everything negative,pressure, challenges — are all an opportunity for me to rise.” -Kobe Bryant