I hear the above statement from concerned parents all the time. Their child demonstrates exceptional abilities in their sport during practice, but during game situations, chokes. Parents are confused at how the skills fail to translate. Why is this occurrence so common, and how can it be overcome?
An athlete who cannot translate his/her skills from practice to game time needs to evaluate a few different key areas in order to see where changes can be made to allow an even performance.
Does the athlete trust his/her abilities? (read the blog entry on trust to be able to answer this question accurately)
Is he/she afraid of failing?
Is he/she over thinking (ties into the trust factor)
Is he/she focusing on his/her competitor?
How is his/her confidence?
Is he/she demanding perfection during a game?
Are his/her thoughts negative?
Does he/she have negative beliefs about their abilities?
An athlete should assess themselves on the above questions in order to have a better understanding of why he/she is unable to successfully translate his/her skills. From understanding, comes the ability to change. (Ways to start overcoming many of the above issues can be found in previous blog entries)
It is possible that an athlete may only be struggling in one of the above areas, or they could need to make changes in multiple areas. In order to make positive changes, an athlete needs to honestly evaluate him/herself. An athlete who fears finding out the answer to some of the above questions, and believes that more time training will solve his/her problems, will never be able to make the changes that he/she truly desires.