How to stay calm under pressure

Deliver when it matters most thanks to expert advice from performance psychologist Charlie Unwin

“Footballers are always required to solve tactical problems and make decisions under pressure. This requires significant amounts of brainpower, which we only have limited resources of – like a battery. 

Unfortunately the brain interprets the heart beating quickly as potential danger. Under pressure it doesn’t think or problem-solve in meticulous detail; it just reacts to the moment, which is bad for performance.
 
Players need to become comfortable with being uncomfortable, so that they can perform in high states of arousal. A lot of people go through the motions in training and then crumble under pressure in a match situation. You need to recreate the pressure of competition in training. 
 
Imagining yourself being involved in a high-pressure situation is an effective way of getting better at this. Staging a practice penalty shootout at the end of an exhausting training session can provide a worthwhile test of how good a player really is at controlling their emotions when suffering from fatigue.”

More after the break

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