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Flowing Through Stress

Coach/Entraîneur: Lyle Cameron Photo: Andre Forget (CAC/ACE)

Something is stressful only if you view it as stressful, accept it as stressful, and experience it as stressful. […] The best way to avoid feeling stressed in situations that previously resulted in you feeling stressed is to remind yourself that you are not required to be stressed in this situation. […] Focus on slow, relaxed breathing and remind yourself to relax as you breathe out in the lead-up time to your performance, test, game, or competition. Slow, relaxed breathing is always a good thing to focus on to relax or turn down the intensity in potentially stressful circumstances or contexts.

Changing channels is another effective way to reduce stress or regain control quickly on-site in performance contexts or other potentially stressful situations. Think of it as changing channels on your TV. If you are on a mental channel you don’t like or don’t want to be on at this time, a channel that is not helping you, simply press your thumb hard against your first or second finger and change channels mentally. As you press your thumb hard against your finger, think to yourself change channels, change channels from stressed to relaxed, from negative to positive, from distracted to fully connected. By choosing to make positive shifts in your focus, you can enhance your positive perspective; make your focus stronger, better, more consistent, or more complete; eliminate doubts or fears; and relax your breathing. […]

You can reduce unnecessary stress in your life by setting realistic performance goals, focusing fully on executing your task, and knowing in your heart and soul that you remain a good and valued person regardless of your performance outcome in any context on any given day. […]

Deciding to be positive and fully focused before you enter your performance context will help you make the positive changes you are seeking. […]

What are you saying to yourself right now about your capacity to improve your focus and make the positive changes you need to make to consistently perform to your capacity? This is a good place to start establishing and nurturing a powerful, positive, fully connected focus. Decide right now to move forward each day with a powerful, positive, and fully connected focus.

From In Pursuit of Excellence, Fifth Edition by Terry Orlick 
Copyright © 2017 by Human Kinetics Publishers, Inc. Excerpted by permission of Human Kinetics, Champaign, IL. Available to order from Human Kinetics Canada at www.HumanKinetics.com or by calling 1-800-465-7301.

What techniques do you use with your teams and athletes to help them cope with the stress of competition and performance? How do you help them focus on the task at hand instead of getting overwhelmed?