It’s grand final week here in Australia, a great opportunity to see if the best performers throughout the year can complete one last performance in what is an environment unlike anything else they have experienced during the regular season. There are no more second chances and no additional opportunities to redeem themselves the following week. Everyone is watching and individual and team performances will be judged mercilessly. The winner takes all. There is more pressure than ever before.
As a result, something special is needed. Players need a mindset that can withstand the pressure and can manage the uniqueness of the grand final lead-up and atmosphere without getting carried away or overawed by the enormity of the occasion. A ‘big moment’ mindset is not exclusive to grand finals as it’s also required in high pressure, high stakes situations such as tournaments, qualifying rounds, big presentations and Olympic or Paralympic Games.
Here are the key attributes of a ‘big moment’ mindset:
Emotional control. No matter what is happening or how they are feeling, big moment performers are able to keep their mind and body relaxed under pressure during preparation and the performance. Staying calm helps them to engage the rational and logical part of the brain instead of letting the stress-response take over, which can lead to poor decision-making or choking.
Keep it simple. There are often a lot of external distractions prior to ‘big moment’ events, making it easy to feel overwhelmed. The performers who are most successful in these situations limit their focus to 2 or 3 simple processes to implement instead of overthinking the situation and trying to do everything at once. Their mental preparation for a big moment is consistent with their usual preparation and they keep their focus on the present and play moment by moment without getting too far ahead of themselves.
Good decision-making. Staying calm under pressure and reducing mental noise by keeping things simple help to make this attribute possible. Good decision-making includes choosing to move on after mistakes and sticking to the game plan.
Do what works. Big moment performers remember what makes them great and what strengths have led to this big moment opportunity. They keep doing what works for them and playing their game, instead of completely changing their plan for the big moment or trying to be like other performers. Sometimes the game plan doesn’t work so they have to adapt.
Trust. Big moment performers trust themselves, their coach, their teammates, and their ability to do what works for them under pressure. They also trust their ability to bounce back from mistakes so don’t panic when things go wrong.
Let us know your review of the players’ big moment performance once the final whistle is blown!