How Athletes Can Manage Emotions and Thoughts Under Pressure

In this article I’ll share How Athlete Can Manage Emotions and Thoughts Under Pressure. are designed to be stressful. Athletes are put in high-pressure environments where there are multiple stressors, and it can mentally affect them.

When under pressure, athlete can experience negative thoughts and emotions. The frustration is real, and that’s when athletes start making mistakes. When experiencing frustration, we can’t think clearly; we doubt, we worry, and we become concerned. The effect of anxiety is reduced decision-making capacity.

Let me ask you a question: Are you what you think or what you feel? The answer is neither! Actually, we are so much more than what we think or feel, yet we often experience ourselves that way. Therefore, a lot of athletes choke at the time of competition or tournament.

Tools For Dealing With Negative Emotions And Thoughts

There are multiple tools I’d like to share when experiencing negative emotions and thoughts. Let’s say it’s your performance day today, whether it’s a competition, a race, or a tournament. You wake up feeling nervous, and as the day progresses and your “important hour” approaches, your nerves get on edge. It could be your very first time, or it could be your hundredth time, but if you are starting to feel negative emotions or thoughts, here are some tools How Athlete Can Manage Emotions and Thoughts Under Pressure.

Thought Substitution

One of my favorites is the Thought Substitution tool. If you’re having a negative thought or feeling frustrated, replace it with a positive feeling or thought, like curiosity.


Another powerful tool is Visualization. Imagine that the negative emotion is a hot coal, and that you’re holding it with your hand. Then imagine that you’re dropping that hot coal, your negative thought and emotion.

Breathing Techniques

The third way I like to deal with negative thoughts or emotions during times of high pressure is through breathing techniques. When we’re frustrated, angry, or stressed, we breathe fast. Breathing fast is like breathing dead air. The first step is to take 10 deep breaths. Deep breathing allows you to calm your mind and reduce the concentration of stress hormones in your blood. Also, try to breathe with your belly. Put a hand on your stomach, make sure it’s soft, and breathe with your belly. Read more about breathing drills for athletes here.

Intentional Shift

The fourth tool I want to share is Intentional Shift. Concentrate your gaze at one point on the horizon line and stare at it until your mind becomes still. If your mind wanders away to that negative emotion or thought, you need to consciously concentrate your mind, refocus it on that same point again.

Good Posture

And the last tool I want to share with you is very simple. Have Good Posture, keep your head straight, and open up your shoulders. Have you ever turned on a football game and without looking at the score, you already knew who was losing? That’s because the losing team has closed shoulders, head down, and a sad and frustrated face. Physiology has a lot to do with sports, so keep that good posture.

Remember, managing your emotions and thoughts under pressure is a skill that can be developed and improved with practice. As an athlete mental coach, I specialize in helping athletes overcome these mental obstacles and reach their full potential. By working together, we can develop personalized strategies to help you manage your emotions and thoughts during competition and perform at your best. So if you’re ready to take your mental game to the next level, don’t hesitate to reach out to me for personalized coaching sessions. Let’s work together to help you achieve your goals and become a mentally strong athlete. Comment bellow or contact me here.