Our Kicking Guru Dave Alred on how to cope with pressure.
As you may know already, many of the School of Kicking principles derive from the wisdom our kicking coach, Dave Alred.
Dave has many years of experience as one of the top elite performance coaches and is most famously known for coaching the likes of Jonny Wilkinson and many other prominent figures in the sporting world.
Unlike technique in rugby kicking, pressure is something that is hard to coach. Unless of course, you’re Dave Alred.
In this blog we will share some of the advice that Dave has passed onto sporting icons, in the hope it can help you perform at a higher level. These principles can not only be applied to rugby kicking, but your everyday life.
Many of the principles discussed in this blog and on Dave’s appearance in ‘Don’t Tell The Score’ (BBC) can be found in his book ‘The pressure principle’ found in our store. Stay tuned for our blogs and online tutorials featuring Dave, here at School of Kicking.
“Too many of us fear failure, and we let it knock our self-esteem. Although we are very good at logging our failures, we too easily ignore our achievements” (BBC).
There is a reason why the famous phrase the ‘ugly zone’ is often talked about on School of Kicking. On the topic of not dwelling on your failures: you must be prepared to fail in order to succeed. This sounds somewhat contradicting and cliché, however there is a science behind the art of failure.
“The “ugly zone” is the area outside our comfort zone where improvement happens” (BBC). You have to push yourself every training session in order to improve. (BBC).
We have a habit of comparing ourselves to others. Use others as an inspiration, but never directly compared yourself to another. We all progress at different speeds and learn in different ways. Focus on being better than you were yesterday.
This is arguably one of the biggest factors when it comes to dealing with pressure. “‘If you focus on the process, the outcome looks after itself. If, however, your worry about whether or not you’ll achieve the outcome, it detracts you from the very process of doing it, and that’s where you fall down.'” (BBC).
Posture is something we focus on here at School of Kicking. A good posture can be overlooked and can help to provoke a positive mindset. Think about it. When we think of great sportsmen or leaders, what percentage of the time do they spend with their head down? Getting your posture right is crucial.
This is a process that can be applied in any pressurised situation. Repair: analyse your current technique, question where you are going wrong. Train: repeat what is working, repetition is key, but don’t forget to assess your actions. Match Practice: you need real-time experience in pressured match situations in order to receive feedback and improve.
7. Fight against “sensory shutdown”
“When we’re anxious and under pressure, our field of vision narrows, so we need to try and avoid this sensory shutdown” (BBC). You need to be constantly thinking and reacting to the situation that surrounds you. Doing this will help you to stop thinking about failure and the repercussions of this.
Make sure to visit https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/1NY638rl6RChsgktCQVfSvr/8-tips-for-coping-with-pressure-from-an-elite-performance-coach to listen to the full podcast on the BBC.