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High-Performance Mindfulness: Poise In Crunch-Time

Jake Rauchbach breaks down poise and crunch time.

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When the money is on the line, how well a player maintains poise and focus and can follow through to complete the task at hand often is the determining factor for facilitating success.

So, why do players experience nerves during pressurized moments? How can players eliminate nerves? These are common questions.

These questions have led many to seek answers and solutions for these performance-inhibiting experiences. Let’s first start by breaking down why players experience in-game nerves & jitters.

In-Game Nerves

The reason that players experience nerves & jitters during the very important moments in the game is because…*drum roll*… they have experienced the same or related sensations in the past. The mental clutter does not allow players to remain in the present moment and focused. Remaining present-moment is key. During the game, players often have a harder time remaining present-moment because of the outside stimuli of those crunch-time moments.

Moreover, when players become mentally attached to the outcome of a play or game, this can also trigger mental clutter. This can cause players to tighten up.

Players who are unable to maintain their poise in pressurized moments are generally being inundated with mental clutter. They tend to have a hard time remaining in the present while maintaining focus.

Improving Poise

When players are poised in the big moment, nothing fazes them. They are able to move forward with confidence and a mental focus that allows for the execution of the game plan.

Poise gives players the resolve to make the right decision, execute the right play at the end of the game, and come through clutch for the team when it is needed most. Coaches value poise in players greatly.

At the end of the game, players must be poised in order to give themselves the best possible chance to succeed during money-time.

The question then arises, can poise be honed and improved upon?

The answer is, it can be.

By training the mind to calm and focus in on the big moment, players can train themselves to improve poise down the stretch.

Training the Mind

Below are some ways that players can pro-actively train poise.

1) Bring your focus to your breath. Being aware of the breath is a super effective way to bring awareness to the present moment. For players, it does not get much simpler than this when looking to hone mental focus for the game.
2) Notice when your mind has wandered off. When players zone-out, the best thing that they can do is realize that they did so. This allows a level of recognition and promotes awareness so that the player can train mental focus upwards.
3) Disengage from that train of thought. Letting go of thoughts is another way for players to hone mental focus. Disengaging in thought patterns that are not conducive to on-court performance is a great way for players to align mental acuity. Mental focus can be the true equalize for athletes and basketball players. These methods help to train focus, calm the mind and find poise in moments that matter most.

When players train the mind in a way that manages both on and off-court experiences, it opens more awareness in the game for the player. When players address their game in this manner, it can also optimize refined execution in crunch-time moments.

Techniques such as these, applied systematically within an overall player development program, are best practice. Poise can be cultivated in these ways.

The Opportunity

Right now, there is a *huge* opportunity to help players of all levels exponentialize performance through resolving the psychosomatic issues holding them back. The results, case studies and correlations are there.

Through hybrid player development programs that combine skill work and mental, emotional and energetic reprogramming, chronic issues such as money-time nerves, and in-game yips can be rendered obsolete. The effect that this work can have on the individual’s and the team’s bottom line could be tremendous.

To learn more about the next step in Player Development, please click here.

Jake Rauchbach is an Integrated Player Development Coach, specializing in High-Performance Mindfulness. He has coached professional and Division-1 basketball. He is the founder of The MindRight Pro® Program and consults on the Olympic, collegiate and professional levels. Follow him on Instagram @mindright_pro and twitter @mindrightpro

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