Manny Banuelos is the talk of Yankee Spring Training. Many are calling him the best Yankee pitching prospect ever. And he doesn’t even turn 20 years old until Sunday.
Banuelos has no fear. Why?
Because he doesn’t like there’s pressure. He has the confidence that his skills are as good as anyone else’s, and instead of trying to be perfect, Banuelos is aggressive and goes all-out.
It’s better to go all-out and lose than it is to hold back and win. When you hold back and win, you are training yourself to hold back.
No successful athlete ever said, I made it to the Hall of Fame by holding back.
Go all-out today!
There will be a time in the near future when you will be stressed out.
The stress might come from the pressure of a sports competition. It may come from an exam. Or it may come from asking for a raise.
We can’t avoid stress.
But we can avoid being paralyzed by it.
There is a powerful technique I have the athletes I work with use when the pressure is on, and it can help you too.
Here’s what you do:
1. Take a deep, diaphragmatic breath, inhale through your nose for four seconds then exhale through your nose for four seconds.
3. Think of a game plan (no more than two things).
4. Visualize yourself carrying out that game plan successfully.
5. Just do it.
Think about the last time you were under pressure.
Perhaps it was during an athletic competition.
Perhaps it was with a deadline at work.
Perhaps it was speaking in front of your class in school.
Physically, how did you react?
If you are like most people, your body tensed up.
How did you perform?
If you are like most people, you didn’t perform at your best.
Now think about the last time you performed effortlessly.
Physically how did you react?
Your body was probably pretty loose.
How did you perform?
Quite well, I’m sure.
A large part of peak performance is staying loose. Focused, but loose.
How do you do it?
Here’s one way:
Think of something funny before you perform.
It could be a joke, a comedy clip or video, maybe even reading from a joke book you carry around with you. And when things get tough, think of that funny thing.
Here’s an exercise: The next time you see a “big game” on television, watch how some of the players react with smiles and laughter.
Then watch what kind of results they get.
It doesn’t matter what you do, or who you are…you’re going to encounter obstacles. On the field, in the classroom, in the boardroom and at home.
Someone once said that life was a series of problem-solving events. We can’t avoid challenges or adversity.
What we can do is change our reactions to them.
I believe that in every challenge, there is a lesson to be learned. You can use adversity to your advantage. Instead of being frustrated, be fascinated. Enjoy the pressure; enjoy the challenge.
That’s what winners do.
Act like a winner today!
Today’s message is especially dedicated to the great Jane Atkinson in London, Ontario, Canada.
Have you ever been in a pressure situation?
Of course you have. But the question is, what do you do in those situations?
Most people tense up, stop breathing and pray that it will be over soon.
Next time, try what Michael Jordan did…
When the pressure was on, Jordan called up past successes in his mind. Most of the time he replayed the last-second shot he made in the 1982 NCAA Championship when he was at North Carolina.
And we all know what kind of results Jordan got.
So next time the pressure’s on, go back in time when you were in control, you were in the zone and you could do no wrong.
Or you can focus on the negative stuff.
“In the long run, the sword is beaten by the mind.”
Roger Federer was seeded #2 and won the French Open.
Dinara Safina was seeded #1 and lost.
What was the difference?
The difference is how they handled the pressure. Even though Roger had never won the French Open, he has had more experience playing in pressure situations. And he knows that negative emotions produce negative results. This was Safina’s third Grand Slam final and she wanted it badly. She wanted it so she could say she truly was #1.
But as it turns out, Roger was calm and cool and Dinara self-destructed. She even double-faulted on match point.
Physically, there was very little difference between Federer/Soderling and Safina/Kuznetsova, so it all came down to the mental side.
If Safina focused on her game plan, her attitude and effort instead of the outcome, the result may have been different.
How you deal with pressure is up to you. You choose how you react. And your reaction/perception will affect your results.
Will this match make or break Safina’s career? Probably not, unless she lets it. If she learns from her experience and gets back to work, she’s young enough to still reach her prime. Much of what we think becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
What do you think?
Thanks for reading.