Performing Under Pressure?

This question is one that I have always been trying to figure out. As I also sometimes have trouble performing under pressure. Just to make this clear, there is no step by step guide that works. If you try to Google it, it will show you how to reduce stress, but not perform under pressure.

The power of pressure can be very strong. It can cause people to be completely different than their usual state. Especially peer pressure. That is when you are with a group of friends and everyone is smoking for example. They will pressure you into doing it too. Pressure can even go as far as causing a divorce. In fact there is a place in Washington DC called Love Lab. It is a place for couples to go and do a series of tests to see what are the chances of a divorce. Love Lab can predict to 93.6 accuracy. The way they do it is with pressure. They will put the couple in a high stress and pressure environment with a goal. They then connect them to a state of the art technology and see the data.

There are 2 truths about pressure that you need to understand:

  1. Pressure disrupts what we value most
  2. People that handle pressure better do not perform better with pressure.

Now let’s talk about athletes. People are very entertained when watching people perform under pressure. That is exactly why Michael Jordan is so famous. People love watching him most when he is on the last minute, because they think that with all that pressure he turns into a superhuman and makes a perfect shot with 5 seconds remaining.  But that completely false. There are a lot of studies stating that pressure can cause a lot of different effects on athletic performance. However some athletes do actually perform better with people watching. That is the same for me too, especially if a good coach is watching!

Hope you found this helpful. A second part is coming soon!

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