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Work On Your Game Content/Podcast/#23: How To Relieve Pressure Before A Game Or Performance [WOYG Podcast]
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#23: How To Relieve Pressure Before A Game Or Performance [WOYG Podcast]

[Transcript] #23 How To Relieve Pressure Before A Game or Performance

Dre Baldwin: [00:00:42] In today’s show I want to talk about dealing with pressure before a game.

For all you athletes, this could be before a game and I use the term “game” — I mean it metaphorically. So maybe, if you work in a corporation, you gotta give a sales presentation to the vice president and the Board of Directors; this is a game. if you’re a speaker and you got to go stand in front of an audience, give a speech, a campaign speech; or say in high school, or you’re a speaker during your first speaking event in front of a large audience who paid to hear you talk; that’s a game. Anytime you gotta get up in front of an audience of people who are watching you perform, this might even be livestream or webinar that you’re doing, that is a game.

So today what I’m gonna talk about is how to deal with the pressure that you may start to feel within yourself before a game. How to relieve that pressure, get rid of that pressure, or use that pressure to get it all going in the right direction.So that you can perform at the level that you want to perform.

Dre Baldwin: [00:01:34] So there are 3 specific tips I’m going to give you here when it comes to performing with pressure before games. But let me first tell you my background when it comes to dealing with pressure. When I first started playing basketball, for instance, that was the first time I think I’ve really got to perform in front of an audience and playing basketball, even baseball before that, was that I would have performance anxiety.

Dre Baldwin: [00:01:54] I might practice a lot and have really good skills when I was practicing but by the time I got to the game and I needed to go out there and actually show my game, I was not showing all the stuff that I was doing in practice and I would have people say to me like “dre, when we played pick up, we played one-on-one, you were doing this, this, and this; but when we get in the game you’re doing 10% of that. Why is that?

Dre Baldwin: [00:02:13] Why aren’t you showing your full game?” — it’s because I had anxiety in performing. I had anxiety thinking about what the people in the stands were thinking about me while I was out there performing. I was thinking about — well, what if I mess up?

I was thinking about “Oh yeah, well, I need to do this, then do that, then do that” — and the more I thought about what I needed to do; guess what? The worse that I performed. As I got better at performing in front of audiences, whether it was speaking — I remember I did some acting when I was in this is an elementary school, I think I did 2 plays I did “The Salt in The Sea” was the name of one play and the other one was “Julius Caesar” where I played brutus, the guy who stabbed Julius Caesar. Well, 1 of the 3 people who stabbed Julius Caesar.

Dre Baldwin: [00:02:48] I played Brutus and I got to give speeches and all that. I was really good at that. My performance anxiety started to go down as I got older, the more I performed in front of audiences.

No. 1 — I got the experience.

No. 2 — the better that I got because I had more skills;

and I had more confidence because I had more skills, which showed that the better that I got, that was a No. 2 things — the better that I got at it, the less I was worried about what the audience thought because I knew the audience thought I was good; because I knew I was good; because i’ve been doing the work; and No. 3 thing I gained was: I stopped caring what other people thought so much.

Dre Baldwin: [00:03:19] So that was another thing connected to my confidence and the way that I looked at myself, my self-image. I wasn’t so concerned what the audience thought because after all, you got to remember — the audience paid money or they paid with their time to come and watch us. They didn’t come to criticize — they may have come to criticize if they want to, but sensibly they’re treating a portion of their lives and a portion of their money to come watch me do what I do. So whether I do it well or do it bad, they still paid to see me. So I just changed the way that I was thinking about it. On top of getting more skills, on top of getting more experience;

Dre Baldwin: [00:03:47] But what I’m gonna give you are 3 specific tips you’re gonna use before you go out and perform. Because you might have a performance today, you might have a game today, you might have to give a speech today, so you don’t have the time to go get experience, you don’t have time to go work on your game, and you might not even be able to read my book “the super you want confidence” or watch my TED talk on confidence before your performance. You need something you could use right now. So let me give that to you right now in 3 steps:

Dre Baldwin: [00:04:10] No. 1 Remind Yourself of the Work that You’ve Already Done.

You’ve already put in the hours of practice; you’ve already worked on your craft to speak in front of an audience; you already know your material; you already sold yourself to these people who have decided to put you out there on stage, whether that be the basketball coach, the basketball team — whether that be the organization that hired you to speak; whether that be your boss or supervisor or your department head, who said you’re the one who’s gonna make the sales presentations today. You’ve already done the work that earned you the right to be up on stage. And the stage, again, could be the basketball court; it can be the boardroom; it could be an actual stage; it could be a camera in front of you. You already did the work to be on stage.

Dre Baldwin: [00:04:54] So you don’t need to be self-conscious about the fact that you’re on stage. You already prepared. You earned your spot and you aren’t adding — you don’t need to add anything extra to your game right now. it’s like jay-z said in his song, you can’t change a player’s game in the ninth inning; all you gotta do is go out there and show your game. Your game got you to this point where you’re getting on stage; then you need to show what your game is. Remind people; remind yourself, first of all — what your game is and how you got there and then you just go out there and show what you show. Whatever it is is what is gonna be okay at this point that’s what you got it. That’s one thing that you got to think. Now, I’m going to give you something that will help you with that in point no. 3, but let’s first go to point no. 2:

Dre Baldwin: [00:05:33] Point No. 2 is find YOUR mental zone. What is a mental zone? The mental zone is the area that you can put yourself in mentally. The way that you’re seeing things; the way that you’re thinking, where you are completely ready to go out and perform.

For different people, these are different zones. So some people like to get — if you watch sports or you watch anybody who likes to perform, some people like to get really hyped before they perform; they’d like to get their energy going; they’d like to get their blood flowing; they’d like to hype themselves up like they’re ready to put their head through a wall.

Dre Baldwin: [00:06:12] I read about Tony Robbins, the famous speaker where before he goes out — he went out to speak one time, and I don’t know if he does this every time, but there was once he was going out to speak and it showed him in his dressing room, he was actually bouncing up and down on a trampoline;

Dre Baldwin: [00:06:27] Getting himself into what he calls “a peak state” mentally before he goes out and performs. Anyone who knows anything about tony knows he doesn’t speak for a short period of time; he does 3 day seminars; you’re in there for 20 hours of the day — literally 20 hours. So tony robbins does that. He likes to get himself hyped up.

There’s some people who you wouldn’t even know that they were about to perform; they’re just sitting back, relaxing. I heard a story by the wrestler, Triple H — he said he was in Vegas and Floyd Mayweather was about to fight. He was hanging in Floyd’s dressing room.

Dre Baldwin: [00:06:57] Floyd was laying on a couch, watching TV, 20 minutes before he was supposed to go out to the ring to fight and Triple H said “Well, listen Floyd, I’m gonna get out of here so you can get ready for the fight.”

and Floyd was like, “Nah, Triple H, you good; you can stay and watch.”

and Triple H stayed for a couple minutes, then he said, “All right Floyd, I'm gonna leave this time”

and Floyd said “Triple H, listen, I’m serious. You can stay. I don’t need to do anything to get ready for this fight. I already did the work. if i’m not ready now, there’s nothing I’m gonna do in this next 10 – 15 – 20 minutes that’s gonna get me ready to fight the championship boxing match. I’m either ready or I’m not. You're good stay here and chill with me before this fight.”

Dre Baldwin: [00:07:34] And Triple H stayed and chilled with him and guess what? Floyd went out there and — we know he’s undefeated, so we know he won that fight. So some people like to stay relaxed before a game. Some people just kind of get into their zone mentally where they’re in it inside but you can’t tell on the outside. So they’re not outwardly chilling, laying on a couch like Floyd Mayweather, they’re also not bouncing up and down on the trampoline like Tony Robbins; they just have this calm steady energy.

Dre Baldwin: [00:07:53] Think of somebody like Michael Jordan. if you looked at Michael Jordan before a game, he wasn’t saying much; he kind of had his head down, he just be to himself, he’s in his zone. When he’s not relaxed, he’s not completely just laying back doing nothing but he’s also not bouncing his head off like Kevin Garnett. He was just getting himself ready mentally;

And guess what? All three of those guys were the best at what they did. Tony Robbins one of the best speakers out there; Michael Jordan was the best basketball player; Floyd Mayweather was an undefeated championship boxer; so there are different ways to get in that zone. There is no right or wrong way. Now, what you need to notice about Tony, Michael, and Floyd is that they all knew what their zone was.

Tony knew when they asked him in an article “What do you do before you go out there, when you’re gonna go speak for 20 hours straight? How do you get yourself ready for that?”

Dre Baldwin: [00:08:37] And Tony was able to describe it; “I do this, I’ll do this out of this.” and when they talked to Floyd Mayweather “How do you get yourself ready for a fight — the night of the fight” Floyd, he said, “No, listen, the night of the fight, I ain’t do anything. I just show up. I already know what I got to do. I already did all the work. I’ve been going to the gym every day for the last 30 years of my life. I’ve already done all the work. I’m already been dedicated. I’ve already put all that in.” there’s nothing I’m gonna do in the last hour before boxing match that is gonna make me win or lose it. if I’m ready, I’m ready; if I’m not, I’m not; whether I win or lose is already decided by the time I get to the arena.”

Dre Baldwin: [00:09:09] That’s what Floyd did. What does Michael Jordan do? Michael Jordan got himself calm, collected. I don’t even think i’ve ever even heard of an interview of someone asking Michael what he does before a game. I don’t think — whatever his answer was, if he ever been asked, it wasn’t that exciting because I haven’t heard it repeated many times. But if you read Tim Grover’s book “Relentless” — Tim Grover, for those who don’t know, was Michael Jordan’s off-the-court/on-the-court trainer while he was playing for the Chicago Bulls and also when he played for the Wizards; and he talked about — that Jordan was just calm and steady. it was kind of like an ocean or a river that was very calm on the surface but it was a lot going on underneath. Michael Jordan was like that.

Dre Baldwin: [00:09:51] The difference / the thing with those 3 people, despite their differences, is that they all knew what their zone was. There was no question what their zone was; they knew what they had to do to get into it. Those guys also had several years of experience getting into that zone once they realized what their zone was that works for them. You need to start doing that same work right now.

Dre Baldwin: [00:10:07] Doesn’t matter how old you are; if you’re 15 or you’re 55, you need to figure out — ask yourself “What frame of mind have I been in when I have my best performances? When I performed at my best, what was I thinking about? How was I carrying myself? What was my body language? What was I considering before that performance?” You need to get yourself in that frame of mind and ask yourself “What was it I was doing that got me into that frame of mind for my best performances?” and then you need to make a habit out of doing that over and over and over again. Do it when you’re practicing; do it when you’re getting ready for a performance; do it during a practice, just to think about “Okay, that my performance was today, how would I get ready for this performance? What kind of mind frame would I get into? What music would I listen to?”

Dre Baldwin: [00:10:48] “How would I move my body? How would I stretch? How would I get myself warmed up?” — or whatever it is that you do before your performance; whatever that happens to be, you need to learn what your mental zone is because each one of us, as a human, is wired differently. So I can’t sit here and give you a formula that’s gonna work for you. You need to do the work. This is work. This is part of working on your game,

Dre Baldwin: [00:11:08] So understand that your game, your physical game is one part, your mental game is another part; and we all know that the mental game weighs more than the physical game. Have you ever seen someone who had a lot of physical skills but no results? And if you ever see someone who had not that many physical skills but they had it mentally and they were getting results, that you couldn’t figure out why; so we know that the mental game is stronger than the physical game. So you need to do the work to know what your zone is — No. 1.

Dre Baldwin: [00:11:32] The second thing is — you need to start practicing, conditioning yourself for getting into that zone so that — No. 3 — you can get yourself into that zone on call. So No. 1 was: remind yourself of the work you’ve done; you’ve already done it, you’re already prepared to win or lose. No. 2 is find that mental zone. it’s your job to know what it is and condition yourself for it. So that might be anger, joy, quietness, loudness, whatever it is for you. Find that zone and start working on conditioning yourself to get in it when you want to; not when you need to.

Dre Baldwin: [00:12:05] And No. 3: what you’re gonna do is take deep breaths; you’re gonna take 5 to 10 deep breaths before your performance, whenever it’s supposed to begin.

Take 5 to 10 deep breaths — and you know what a deep breath means? That means your breathing in through your nose and you’re letting the air fill up your belly down to your stomach. So you should feel your stomach expanding with air because you’re breathing down into your stomach. Us human beings, we spend a lot of our time breathing into our chests; if you ever pay any attention to your breath, you’ll notice that your breath is coming in through your nose or through your mouth. it’s going to your chest, probably about to maybe the middle of your ribcage, and then it’s coming right back up and you’re breathing out.

Dre Baldwin: [00:12:45] We don’t breathe deep into our stomachs too often; and people who do breathe deep into their stomachs, if there’s a way to even notice who those people are, but if you ask around or find people who do, you’ll notice that they’re much more calm people. They’re much more measured; they’re much more relaxed even in what we would, some of us would, consider to be pressure situations, they seem to be much more centered when it just comes to life. And that, if you look at any meditation or yoga or any practices like that, they focus on breathing. They always talk about “make sure you breathe, breathe, breathe.” if you lift weights, how do you get the maximum exertion for any weight that you’re lifting? You got to get a deep breath — a deep strong exhale which requires a strong inhale — will allow you to push the weight further and harder and longer than you were if you were taking a short breath. These are actual scientific facts that we know.

Dre Baldwin: [00:13:34] These have been studied.

So take 5 to 10 deep breaths before your performance; and while you’re doing that, you’re gonna envision your success. Envision yourself successfully performing in that game or on that stage or in that sales presentation or whatever it happens to be. Envision the success that you want and envision it in detail since you already know that you’re gonna do this performance.

You know what the gym looks like; you know what the court looks like; you know what you look like; you know what the room looks like; you know what the stage looks like; you know what the audience looks like; you already have a clear vision of what it looks like — what that performance area looks like. So what you’re gonna do is actually envision yourself performing at the highest level on that specific stage.

Dre Baldwin: [00:14:16] So this is not something you got to make up because you already know what it looks like. So envision yourself performing the way that you want to perform on that specific stage — while, at the exact same time, you’re taking these deep breaths. So as long as it takes for you to envision that, then that’s as long as you’re gonna keep taking deep breaths. But you’re gonna take at least 5 deep breaths because it’s gonna center your body; its gonna relax you; its gonna kind of push out some of that anxiety; it’s gonna get those butterflies that are going all over the place; it’s gonna get them to calm down; once they see that you’re calming down, everything else within you will calm down cause you’re forcing yourself to calm down with these deep breaths.

Dre Baldwin: [00:14:50] So let me go over again — these three points: you’re gonna take and apply to relieve any type of pressure you may be feeling before any type of performance, game presentation, whatever it is.

No. 1: Remind Yourself Of The Work You’ve Done. You are already prepared. You’re not adding to your game right now. You’re not changing the player’s game in the ninth inning. Remind yourself that you earned your spot. You’re here for a reason.

No. 2: Find What Your Mental Zone Is. You need to know what your mental zone is. identify where that mental zone is and get yourself into that mental zone before your performance.

No. 3 Take 5 to 10 Deep Breaths Down Into Your Belly; slowly exhaling down into your belly, slowly inhaling out back into the belly, while at the same time envisioning yourself performing successfully at the level that you want to perform.

Dre Baldwin: [00:15:38] Everybody, thank you for listening to the Work On Your Game podcast. Please make sure you subscribe to it; rate it; share it with everybody that you know; hit me on snapchat @DreBaldwin; instagram, same name; my Twitter and my periscope is both @DreAllDay.

And, as always, everybody Work On Your Game.

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