Performing under pressure

How come some thrive under pressure while others crumble?

The World Athletics Championships have recently been held in Beijing. For those of you that watched the World Championships you will have seen some people achieve some awe inspiring performances, some do themselves justice and others crumble in the inferno of world-class performance.

What separates these performers?

How come some people manage to thrive in this intensity of pressure while others crumble?





It's a huge factor in your favour. Every one of the competitors that thrived under the immense pressure stayed calm when it was most needed. You could see it on their face, having what I call emotion control.

Nerves when you need to perform are a given. Expect them, in fact you want them. The adrenaline shot they give you can boost your performance if you handle them correctly and embrace them. It’s only when you fear them, become anxious and start having doubts that they become a problem.

Basic tools such as positive self-talk, affirmations, positive body language, breathing and relaxation techniques can make a big difference in these moments.


Plan (A, B and C)


Those that stayed calm were able to because you could see they had a plan and were always able to lean on it when they needed to. It enables you to free up your mind and do less thinking. Over-thinking is not conducive to peak performance, just focus on what needs to be done and let go.




When things didn't quite go to plan they were flexible, there was little panic. Things rarely go to absolute plan on your road to success, be aware of that. You have to be flexible and learn to control the controllables, if it's not in your control then throw it away, you can do nothing about it. Focus on what is in your control and embrace the occasion that you've been working so hard for. After all, this is where you want to be!


The fastest man in the world said it best "After the semi-finals my coach (Glen Mills) said, 'You are thinking about it too much. There's too much on your mind, all you have to do is remember that you've done this a million times so just go out there and relax'. That's what I did.” Usain Bolt.


Nathan Douglas - Peak Performance Coach and Double Olympian


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