So, you prepared for that presentation. You are sure it is going to be a perfect performance;then you choke. You don’t make that perfect presentation or free throw shot.
This is not what happened to Villanova on Saturday night. Villanova, led by Josh Hart (yes that would be my nephew Josh Hart) had a stunning and spectacular game against Oklahoma. While Oklahoma was favored to be the winner (led by Buddy Hield) it seems in fact that they choked. So how is it that someone like Villanova and Josh Hart have the best games of their lives and someone like Oklahoma and Buddy Hield have one of the worst performances of their life? Perhaps this is because Oklahoma choked. Just as you may have certain responses when you’re nervous or stressed out (like sweaty hands are palms and a racing heart) during performance we can all get nervous and choke. While these body reactions are familiar let’s break it down into Body and Mind.
Your Body….you’ve done all your work. You’ve done your breathing and relaxation exercises. Your vocal exercises and tongue twisters. You have practiced and rehearsed your presentation. You are>prepared. Yet at that crucial moment when you need to perform your best you choke. Why? Often our mind starts to race with words and these are what can really be problematic. That’s because these “what if’s” actually the use the cognitive parts of the brain that we need to attend to what we’re doing. So, in that moment when we need to perform our best we are not focused. We often try and think too much about what we are doing and how to do a particular thing like making a free throw shot; too much thinking can be detrimental.
So, an athlete like Josh Hart is able to filter out the noise of the crowd and just see that basketball net. That makes a real pro …someone who can focus on getting it done. Not thinking about their form…they can trust their hours of practice. So they can focus on what is needed to get the best outcome. This prevents them from becoming paralyzed with analyzing things too much.
That is the reason rehearsal and practice is so important for presentations and speeches. Practice makes perfect and allows you to think from your cognitive brain about the task at hand….not “what if”.
Thanks for tuning in to Talks From the Hart!