Several athletes in the Olympics perfect their moves over years but they make mistakes on the day of show. It happens to the most of us. We prepare for a long time but on the exact time we should perform, we gag and choke. We make mistakes we have never committed when we are practicing. This is a familiar feeling to athletes because eyes are on them in every sporting event.
The source of the blunder is when athletes started thinking of their own movements instead of relying on their body’s motor capabilities. Overthinking can intervene with concentration and performance of motion tasks.
For the athletes who aren’t used to the pressure of an audience yet, squeezing a ball or clenching a hand may help. According to the new research published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, doing so before the competition will activate certain parts of the brain.
But it has to be the left hand. In the study, right handed athletes who squeezed a ball using the left hand have lower chances of choking than right handed athletes who squeezed a ball using the right hand. This may be due to the system of our brain’s supervision, where the right brain controls the left part of our body – the side of the brain that directs automated and instinctive behaviors.
The idea is to distract athletes from thinking. “Athletes usually perform better when they trust their bodies rather than thinking too much about their own actions or what their coaches told them during practice”, said Juergen Beckmann, PhD, chair of sport psychology at the Technical University of Munich in Germany.
This technique may also be applied outside athletics, especially in pressing situations.
Do you think this will work for you?