Is pressure training the secret to winning at competitions? | Fitness News

Is pressure training the secret to winning at competitions? | Fitness News

In the realm of fitness, pressure training has emerged as a dynamic approach to strength and endurance development. Far beyond the traditional weightlifting routine, pressure training introduces a unique set of challenges designed to push individuals to their limits.
Pressure is defined as the increased importance of performing well. Maithili Bhuptani, lead sports and exercise psychologist, Reliance Foundation, explained that sports psychologists mentally train athletes by pressure training (PT) during off-season/training sessions to strategically increase pressure during training to improve their abilities to cope.
Although research suggests the tremendous benefits of PT on performance, achieving those benefits is not necessarily a straightforward process. For example, coaches and practitioners need to create enough pressure to simulate competition but also at the same time, need to avoid creating so much that it overwhelms athletes, according to Bhuptani.
Pressure training basics: Who, what, when, and why
Deciding when and for whom to conduct PT can also enhance understanding of the intervention, said Bhuptani.
Who: Which athletes to train under pressure
PT can benefit a range of trainees. Individuals who are already highly skilled can still improve their ability to cope with pressure.
PT can benefit a range of trainees. (Source: Freepik)
What: Creating pressure, not difficulty
A task’s difficulty can be easily confused with ‘pressure’, so distinguishing pressure from difficulty can further clarify the experience that PT aims to provide athletes.
When to conduct PT: Frequency and timing
Each context may vary the optimal frequency of PT. For example, two important factors to consider are the number of hours that the trainees spend training in general and the time an athlete can afford to spend preparing for pressure in addition to training other skills and tactics.
How can you pressure train?
Bhuptani suggested some ways you can pressure train
i. Rewiring your perception of control
Research suggests that when athletes believe they do not have control of a situation, it appears more threatening to them. This raises anxiety levels and as a result, worsens performance.
Encourage the use of verbal cues with your athletes such as “how well you do on this is out of your control” – thinking they have no control over the situation will raise their anxiety levels. It will force your athletes to find the necessary tools to use in this situation to still be successful, and later transfer this to competition.
Research suggests that when athletes believe they do not have control of a situation, it appears more threatening to them. (Source: Freepik)
ii. Create evaluation apprehension
Evaluation apprehension is the worry of being judged by others. It is usually seen in high-pressure situations, such as being watched by a scout.
In training, you can create evaluation apprehension by using video cameras. If your athletes know they are being recorded and analysed, this can raise their pressure levels. You could also get external observers to watch your athletes in training sessions, to mimic the pressure created by the fear of failing in front of others that happens in competitive situations.
iii. Introduce the element of consequence
If your players are aware that their performance in training sessions could have consequences attached, this creates pressure as they feel the extra need to perform well. Your athletes will work harder to not be penalised or to be rewarded, which will improve the quality of their training and increase motivation levels.

https://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/fitness/pressure-training-secret-winning-competitions-9037912/

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