Dealing with stress
Do you lead a healthy life with a balance of your working load and strength to cope with it? Do you have control? Yes? Well that is fine.
When you get tempted once in a while and are lured into the stress trap, there are signs you can notice when things go the opposite side. But no problem. You can recover if you react wisely and get recharged again. Please stay focussed an alert not to lose control. This goes for life, but also goes for how you look at the game of snooker and how you react to it. Should you be able to deal with the first signs of stress adequately, you are a clever person. To prevent is better than to heal!
WHAT IS THE CAUSE? WHY DO I SUFFER FROM STRESS?
When you experience stress at the snooker table, most likely you are also suffering from stress in your daily life. Before dealing with stress, it is important to study this and try to find out when, where or how does stress come from. What is causing stress?
Are you behind in score? Is your opponent pushing you into defence? Are you worried about your skills/abilities? Are you impressed by the level of your opponent, or is his/her behaviour provoking stress? In between matches or tournaments it is adviced you talk this through with other players or friends. Talk to people who you can trust; that are experienced; people with good conduct regardless any situation. But please avoid the nutty ones who are freaking out when the tinyest thing happens.
Don't get into stress overload mentally before a game. Don't rush towards a game. Try to arrive in time to get adjusted to the atmosphere. Have a talk with people about other things than snooker. This relaxes the mind. Or are you a person who likes to be on his/her self? Fine by me. It is important you do what you like to do in order to step into your game mentally fresh and sharp. We all have are ways to do so.
Are you more a person who likes to walk in last minute be careful. Because sometimes penalties are given should you not be able to start your match in time. Arriving all stressed out because you are arriving late is not an ideal start.
TO PUT THINGS INTO PERSPECTIVE CORRECTLY
Experiencing pressure? Do not get carried away! Try to put things into perspective by asking yourself whether this tension or stress is needed. Does it help you? Does it suite my priorities, my task? It is very important you stick to your routine, making the right choices to perform well.
Good tension and good stress can contribute to the way you perform. It can help you to stay focussed and alert, while too much of it can tilt the balance the other way. Try to look at stress from a distance and focus not on the stress you feel, but on the task ahead. Enlarging the picture of stress and giving more attention to it, is never good.
Thinking positive usually leads to acting positive. Preparing your game positively, hitting the ball positively ... these are all very important things. Negative thoughts will lead you no where.
Try to find a way to get rid of negative thoughts. Immediately counter them with positive thoughts or a positive remark you give yourself. Because there is always the danger you get yourself entangled giving too much attention to negativeness.
If I make a suggestion regarding negative thoughts/experiences:
- the negative thought enters your mind ... let it enter your mind, but hold your distance and make sure you do not respond by displaying negative behaviour,
- look at the origin of the negative thought, where does it come from?
- do not critisice yourself, but have a closer look at how things went wrong,
- immediately try to learn from your mistake, there is a lesson in each experience,
- allow closure immediately afterwards,
- focus again, get into the 'now'-moment and believe in your strenght, think positive.
Also I can suggest you to visualize the following:
Whatever you do around and on the table, imagine there is an atmospheric thread from the back of your body that unrolls itself by each step you take. With each negative encounter or thougth you picture yourself that you cut this thread, thus leaving the negativity behind. Automatically the atmospheric thread starts unrolling itself again without any negative charge. You start over again with a positive connection and mind.
THERE IS ONLY THE PRESENT
Getting fuzzy about things that happened and maintaining that negative feeling, is not contributing anything. Make yourself very clear that there is only the present. All actions you take are in the present, you can not proceed doing something in the past, nore the future. Still, many players fall into the trap of carrying their emotions throughout a longer period of time. These emotions (usually negative) are not good for your continuing performance.
An example. You just won a match and scored a few breaks. You are feeling great, you do not worry and you are ready for the next match. In many cases the next match becomes a difficult one when you do not focus and prepare properly. Thinking 'I can repeat again what I just did' is not mentally correct. Besides, what you did an hour ago is in the past. You have to deal with the present, which is different. Another opponent, another match, another time. I strongly advice you should treat a positive thought equally as a negative thought. Try to avoid the feeling of 'I have got it under control', because you get sloppy pretending and doing so. Try to stay in the now-moment and be alert. Do your very best mentally and prepare yourself again for the next challenge.
Whether you are a player, experiencing a lot of or only a bit of stress, standard wise you will have to deal with stress through analysis. Seek for help with friends or professionally. Negative thoughts and stress are not problem solving. Try to adapt to a positive attitude. Think positively.