Some time ago, the wife of one of my golf students accompanied him to his coaching session with me at Leatherhead Golf Club. During our conversation it turned out that she was a violinist who had trained at the famous Yehudi Menuhin School a few miles away in Cobham, Surrey.
What was interesting about our exchange was that even though she had learned the technique of playing the violin to an exceptionally high standard, she had received no training on how to play the violin in front of three hundred or three thousand people and so her performance suffered as nerves and anxiety got the better of her. With this negative self-interference it’s difficult if not impossible for musicians to perform at their best in front of an audience or win scholarships to further their education.
The same is true in golf and in other sports of course. An individual may be trained to a very high standard as far as technique goes (the golf swing, the tennis serve and so forth) but find it difficult (or impossible) to maintain their technique when the mind is racing and adrenaline is coursing through the body.
When this phenomena of ‘performance anxiety’ strikes, even the best in the world fall apart as happened to Tom Daly when he failed to reach the final of the 10m platform diving at Rio 2016 this Summer, even though he was one of the favourites going into the competition and fancied his chances of winning gold as he’s done many times before.
His coach’s verdict? Jane Figueiredo admitted it was painful to watch and said “Sometimes you don’t really understand what’s happening there. The brain’s telling you something but the body’s not connecting.”
From my 30 years’ experience of Eastern philosophy and the martial arts, I’m happy to tell you that there is a simple way to ensure that your mind and body are always connected, even when you’re under pressure and this connection can help you ‘get out of your own way’ and deliver movement that is fluid, powerful, effortless and precise so that you can compete and perform to win!
I was recently interviewed by my friend and colleague Paul Crick, a confidence coach for musicians, about this very issue.
Here’s what Paul said following our discussion:
“Jayne’s instructions on breathing and awareness techniques to activate ‘the zone’ are the missing link in the search for reducing performance anxiety among musicians and those in the performing arts. The techniques are simple and immediately effective and Jayne backs up her coaching with a profound depth of knowledge which cuts through many psychological myths. Highly recommended!”
Listen to the podcast (22’29”) of the interview and please leave your comments and/or get in touch with any questions.