How to Perform Better in Crunch Time

Athletes who lack access to a sports psychologist can use this strategy to avoid the "crunch time effect."


The struggles and strengths you experience as an athlete define how you approach your sport. That's why developing a mental game that fits your personal situation is so important. (See Mind of a Champion: Jennie Ritter Talks About the Mental Game.) But before you put your plan into action, you need to address the "crunch time effect." Do you have standout performances in practice that don't transfer to your games? This is what I refer to as the "crunch time effect," meaning that when the game is on the line, some athletes' performance tends to suffer. (See also Are You "Mr. Crunch Time" or a Post-Season Goat?) Does this ever happen to you? If so, you can prevent it. First, you need to understand why it happens. Since few athletes have access to sports psychologists, I designed an activity to help. Before you continue reading, download this activity (pictured below) and follow the instructions. My athletes' charts usually have a long list of practice factors and a long list of game factors, with few being in the same area. Now look at your chart and consider the following: by making practice time similar to game situations, you can train your mind and body to be consistently successful. What steps can you take to make your approach to practice more similar to games? For starters, three things: higher intensity levels, staying focused and relaxed, and keeping score. Start by thinking about your chart and picking one way to upgrade your practice to be a better performer. Crunch-Time Effect Contact me for more information or a free 30-minute consultation.

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