Do You Choke Under Pressure?

Whether you’re one of the players on a beach volleyball team or you’re the captain of a competitive college volleyball team, you want to perform well. Pressure is pressure, regardless of the situation, and we’re sure you’d very much like to eliminate the feeling of anxiety and self-doubt that comes from pressure. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter how skilled you are if pressure comes along it can decimate your performance. To avoid choking under pressure, here are 3 things you should keep in mind:

1.) Concentration Is Key

Think about it this way; if you’re totally concentrating on the object of focus, such as serving the ball over the volleyball net, then there’s no room to feel pressure. Concentration is key to overcoming the ill effects of anxiety on the court. You can achieve concentration though a variety of tactics including meditation, which is all about observing the thoughts that pop up in your head without reacting to them. Eventually, you can ignore the thoughts that naturally come up and corral all of your mental energy into the task at hand. Some people call this getting “in the zone.”

2.) How to Meditate

Practicing meditation is a fantastic way to get better control over your thoughts and learn concentration. It also offers stress relief, which is a huge benefit for volleyball and other athletes who are always pushing their bodies to the limit. Start with meditation basics and focus on your breathing – be in the moment, think about breathing in and breathing out. As your mind starts to wander, gently bring it back to your object of focus. Act like a third party observing your own body and mind.

3.) Visualization When It Counts

As you learn to meditate more effectively you’ll definitely want to start having meditation sessions with your volleyball team before each game. Take ten to fifteen minutes to focus on breathing, followed by visualizing a great result in the upcoming game. While it isn’t likely to yield revolutionary results right away, meditation and visualization will make it easier for you to concentrate when it counts.

Picture yourself right before a game, visualize yourself spiking the ball and winning the game for your whole team. Take some deep breaths and focus on the moment. Thoughts will pop into your head about how important this game is, and how much you want to succeed, but with visualization and concentration you’ll able to push them aside and return to your focus without skipping a beat. Finally, it’s time to start the game, and you’re feeling relaxed and energized. You’re “in the zone” and ready to concentrate on your goal without a choke.

As you start this process, don’t go overboard. It’s a simple matter of practicing over the course of a few months and getting more accustomed to the experience. Incorporate meditation and relaxation into your volleyball team practice and you’ll be amazed at how much better you and the rest of the team handle the pressure!