Resilient people are able to cope in high-pressure situations. In sport, they are often able to find a new gear.They have the ability to draw upon their resources to adapt and adjust.
Intense learning opportunities such as competitive experiences have helped them to learn theses skills. During these high pressure situations they experience feedback (success and failure) which, if utilised helps them to learn and grow. This is how they make progress. Along the way they develop a load of strategies which strengthen their resilience and ability to cope, an athlete toolkit if you like.
I’m a fan of competitions and tests and see them as great learning opportunities which build experience and ability to learn and respond under pressure. However, it’s helpful to view every training session as an opportunity to learn and improve. Sometimes we need to make more of a conscious effort to recognise and make the most of these opportunities in training. This will take us beyond our comfort zone, building our resilience and strengthening our mindset.
There are many ways to develop your toolkit and strengthen your resilience and one of the ways in which you can do this is through developing the ability to stay present. You can train this skill through a technique called mindfulness.
Mindfulness, or put another way, the skill of paying attention on purpose, will enable you to manage your emotions, whilst maximising your ability to focus and concentrate (as opposed to getting caught up ‘thinking’ or ‘feeling’). This means you will keep going at a higher intensity for longer and you will recover more quickly.
Your ability to manage your arousal levels will allow you the head space to be flexible and learn on the job, under pressure, as you know this is what leads to progress, to success. Your ability to capture and utilise this information at the top end of your performance will be invaluable. It’s in these peak experiences which we can make leaps in our performance.
With all the yoga classes and opportunities to learn this skill right now, you would be mad not to grab a mat. And once you’ve grasped the basics ensure that you apply these skills to your everyday life and training. There’s no point only being able to “be present’ when you are laying on your mat with the lights out!
Learn, apply, practice and then apply under pressure!
Picture: Function SFR Athlete: Bill Carey