Why do we play sports?
We play for the enjoyment we derive from the game, our fellow competitors, officials, the challenge, and the variety of competition. We also achieve great satisfaction from playing the game well, win or lose, as long as we are presented with a game played fair and equitable.
When you consider the time, we spend perfecting our skills, travel, cost, and competition, we must enjoy this game.
Enjoy the Game
So, if we enjoy this game, why do we feel so much pressure?
When you consider the daily grind of life, work, kids, family, provide us with more than enough pressure.
If we were to consider that the pressure we feel while competing is self-inflicted, do we place too many expectations on ourselves unwittingly by increasing the perceived pressure?
(Beilock, 2010). Wrote: Even sports psychologists and coaches regularly make the mistake of informing athletes about "managing pressure," when pressure is nothing more than a product of our imagination and a self-imposed experience that we create for ourselves.
Pressure relates to our fears of failure.
Let's, imagine your goal for your next game is to win.
Typically, you would think about how you will win in the days leading up to the event. It's fair to say you are feeling confident.
The game begins:
So, what went wrong?
Since your only goal was to win the game, anything less than a win would increase the pressure on you as the opponent's game got better. The build-up of self-inflicted pressure affected your overall performance, your ability to make strategic game decisions, muscle tension affected your delivery performance. You could have also had shortness of breath, accelerated heartbeat, pain over the eyes, and backache.
By only having an outcome goal, you place all the pressure on yourself.
Changing how we think about the pressure.
Changing how we think about pressure sensations can help us stay more on the pleasure side. The tighter chest muscles, your shoulders feeling closer to your ears and the feelings of frustration are your body’s way of sending messages to your brain. These signs are also telling you that your body is trying hard to help remind you that you want to get back to the pleasure side that you enjoyed at the beginning of the game (and all of us enjoy more pleasure). These signs or messages, are telling you that you need to slow down, take slower, deeper breathes, and loosen and soften the tight muscles. Think back to the good shots you made earlier in the game and how good it felt to be doing well and focus on those messages. Move out of the negative thoughts and remember the great ones. It is amazing how positive thoughts can move you back to pleasure. Humans are geared to stay in the negative for survival because these negative thoughts keep you from harm. Here is an example, you (as a caveman or woman) coming out of your cave early one morning and you look to the right and see a beautiful sunrise and then you look left to see a hungry tiger. Which are you going to focus on?
Humans have to work harder to stay positive so have memories of a few positive shots and pleasurable sensations from doing well to think about when you are caught up more in the pressure side. You may have to practice this a little if it is new for you and sometimes, we need to fake it until we make it!!!
Next time we will talk about the three types of goals you can use to increase your enjoyment while playing and reduce the pressure.
The club coaches will share some ideas and thoughts on lawn bowling by offering suggestions that may increase your enjoyment while playing on the green. The ideas and suggestions presented in the Wick are based on credible material from worldwide bowling associations and coaching programs. Let the coaches know what you think of the tips provided.
Be sure to click the read more link to read the whole tip.