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How to take my career to the next level? (sport)


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I'm a sports player. And (without sounding arrogant) train like a beast. I'm great at my sport when I train and also when playing practice matches..but when it comes to tournaments and matches which I have something to lose in I freak out and tighten up and go back to playing toddler tennis.


I know it's natural, but I've been doing this for yearssss now and I'm just hoping there are some sports players or people that have made it to a high level that can help me take the next step and get over getting scared and tightening up on game day. Its my life and my passion so any self experience stories that can perhaps help me out here are definitely wanted!

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What helps me win is I never think about winning. Don't even think about competing or the competition itself, who I am up against, scores, crowds, nothing. I pay zero attention to any of that.


I kind of look at it as testing out what I've practiced and literally get more focused on how that's working out, making adjustments, little tweaks and improvements... Basically, I get fixated on the details of the task at hand very much as when training. So let's say in the tennis context, I've been working on swinging through to get more speed and power for a low fast hit. Focus on ball, swing through as practiced, place ball where I want it to go as practiced, adjust for next ball if didn't go quite like I wanted it to. That's the only thought and 100% focus in my brain. Nothing else exists at that moment. It's like tunnel vision.


The moment you start thinking/worrying about external things like that you are competing, that you need to show/prove something, do well, compete, win - you are going to get exactly the problem you have - freeze up, lock up, get nervous and start going like a beginner instead of a pro. It's kind of a mental paradox where if you want to win consistently, you don't think about being a winner at all, not even about competing as such.


Another thing that I find really works for me and many others is the good old visualizing. By visualizing, I don't mean visualizing winning, I mean visualizing the motion to the point where you feel it in your bones. For example, visualize the motion, the feel of that perfect serve. Then on the court, you let the muscle memory do its job and mentally go into that place where you visualized it happen and let it happen. Again, goes back to concentrating on that particular task in that instance and nothing else.


Not sure if I'm making sense or explaining well what I mean....lol... Hope it helps somehow.

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