When Don Greene was a springboard diver in high school and college, his performances were erratic — sometimes they’d be amazing and sometimes embarrassing. None of his coaches could explain why that happened to him, so Don set out to find the answers himself.

After serving as an Army Ranger and Green Beret, and getting his PhD in sports psychology, Don has spent decades coaching Olympic divers, professional athletes, race car drivers, opera singers, classical musicians, and Wall Street traders in how not to choke under pressure. He shares the principles he uses as a stress coach in Fight Your Fear and Win: Seven Skills for Performing Your Best Under Pressure. Today we talk about those skills, beginning with why people choke in the first place, and what’s going on in your mind when that happens. We then talk about the fundamentals of managing performance anxiety and staying in right brain flow, including making adrenaline work for instead of against you, getting your mind centered, ignoring distractions, and becoming mentally tough. We also discuss how to thwart negative self-talk through a practice Don calls “thought monitoring,” and his 5-step strategy for recovering when you do make a mistake. 

Show Highlights

  • What does adrenaline do to a performer? 
  • Why do elite performers choke? 
  • The brain’s role is performing well or choking under pressure 
  • How thinking gets in the way of our performance 
  • Why baseball coaches don’t always make good sports psychologists 
  • Building your mental toughness through practice 
  • Using overcompensation to train yourself 
  • Channeling stress and energy into the right pathways 
  • Breaking the habit of bad self talk 
  • What is thought monitoring? 
  • 5 steps for recovering from a mistake 

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The post Podcast #569: How to Perform Your Best Under Pressure appeared first on The Art of Manliness.

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