Over my years of coaching some of the top athletes globally, the most significant commonality I’ve found between them all is they can always keep deep focus in moments of pressure. Whether that’s going into a big game, before it, or at moments during the game.
There are so many good players out there. You can measure the top ones by how well they deal with the pressure.
How to develop performing well under pressure
In order to deal with pressure well, you must have habits that set you up to succeed. Your habits are a product of deliberate practice over time. Across all disciplines, deliberate practice creates top performers and what they use to stay at the top of their game.
Deliberate practice breeds self-assured players. Your confidence can come and go, but being self-assured is being sure of your own abilities and enables you to perform well under pressure. For example, a self-assured player can miss a couple of chances and still trust the process and themselves as they know those misses will mean their next goal is even closer.
Nutrition habits of the top athletes
Self-assured players are prepared physically, mentally, and psychologically. All of their protocols support this preparation, especially on a nutritional level.
The vast amount of repetitions top athletes perform means they need to be prepared in all areas. To get the repetitions in, they need to be physically robust. During training, there’s a certain amount of accelerations and decelerations they go through. You’ll find the top 10% will go through the most. These repetitive movements are extremely taxing. This is where the fuel these athletes put in their body needs to reflect their demands and aid optimal recovery.
Top athletes take a highly personalised approach to their nutrition (along with everything else). Across the board most focus on using top quality whole foods and smart snack choices to form their base. They know the quantity of food they need to consume on high and low-intensity days as well as how that is distributed across the different macronutrients.
They know which foods work well for performance and which work well for recovery. Being conscious of these guidelines and principles allows them to consistently aim to be within a 20% window of the numbers.
Ultimately, the most successful athletes are those that can consistently nail these basic principles.
Mental habits of the top athletes
Mentally, the ability to deal with adversity is a common habit you’ll see amongst athletes. The top ones are always able to deep focus - regardless of their surroundings or anything else going on in their lives. Their mental resilience is just as strong as their physical resilience.
You’ll also find they’re very detail-orientated. They crave details as they want to fully understand how they can improve their habits to get the edge. That’s a key reason top athletes come to me. I can help them improve their level of understanding of their performance, through the details I’m able to provide them.
The last habit you always find with top athletes is they’re inquisitive - they’re always asking questions. I really like it when a player asks questions and wants to know why we’re doing certain things - it helps me improve as a coach. This comes from a drive to always raise their standards and have a deep understanding of what things can improve them.