Time… no this is not an article about a philosophical construct that takes a few days (or years!) to wrap your head around!
Many performance psychology tools and strategies speak to the time practising. So, it is interesting that a lot of us disregard this important part of the area whenever we get the chance.
Performance psychology and wellbeing strategies are now a regular part of how athletes, musicians and corporates do work; after all, developing resilience, the ability to re-align to a task under pressure all while considering balance in the approach add to a high-performers tools box.
However… many of us still commit to only using performance psychology tools and strategies on the day we are faced with stressful or pressure events; this is instead of putting the time into practising the skills needed.
If we look at what is out there:
1) Research suggests that the practice of controlled breathing over two to three months starts to show benefits for performance, reaction times and the ability to balance a relaxed state with an alert state.
2) Research suggests that mindfulness training for 5 – 10 day’s as a beginner or having extensive experience practising mindfulness (over 4 months) improves executive attention, i.e. the ability to block unneeded information out and execute the task being performed.
3) Finally, learning all aspects of most psychological models can take time, some models require you to plan your approaches, plan what strategies you will use and plan where these strategies will be executed.
Photo: James Allan
Try to put yourself in a pressure situation where performance psychology may help. In sport and music, this situation could be one when performing with a new group or performing in front of a big crowd; in business, it could be presenting in front of superiors or presenting/ pitching to a new client.
Now could you be more prepared for getting the best out of the pressure situation if all it took was putting more time into your psychological performance plan or performance characteristics and behaviours needed under pressure? Using the research above as rationale, it could be suggested yes, emotional control, understanding and planning for how to perform optimally and the ability to block out unneeded information when executing what needs to be done could all be improved.
My recommendation, if you want the most out of performance psychology tools and strategies, plan how you are going to apply them over time leading into your big moments, integrate them into how you do work, and make them a norm in your practice; your proactive approach might just pay off! After all, isn’t one of the ultimate goals to give yourself, your company, team or group the best chance of an ideal outcome?
If you want help planning a performance psychology structure that fits how you do work under pressure, feel free to get in touch.
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