Athletic Poise

The Ideal Performance State

Athletic Poise: The ability to recognize and maintain a particular state of psychological readiness, and mental preparedness that athletes and sports psychologist acknowledge as being a prerequisite to peak performance.

What are the secrets of the poised athlete?

  1. There exists an ideal internal psychological climate for every athlete.
  2. When an athlete feels right, performance is right.
  3. The level of performance is a direct reflection of the way one feels inside.
  4. Performing toward the upper range of one’s potential is a natural consequence of the right kind of internal feeling occurring at the right time.
  5. The elements of the ideal performance state are fundamentally the same for all athletes and all sports.
  6. The ideal performance state is most accurately described in terms of specific states of feeling experienced by individual performers.
  7. Competitive toughness is essentially the ability to create and sustain the ideal performance state regardless of the circumstances of play

What are the peak performance feelings?

  1. Mental Relaxed – Inner calm, time slows down, ability to focus clearly on details in the present.
  2. Physically Relaxed – Muscles loose throughout body, feelings of warmth, movement fluid, body seems to respond directly and precisely at will.
  3. Confident/Optimistic – High expectation of success, recognition of challenge and excitement in response to the idea of accepting the challenge, feeling of strength and control.
  4. Focused on the Present – Sense of harmony that is of the body and mind working together as a unit, no thoughts of the past or future, a sense of body performing automatically, without conscious or deliberate mental effort.
  5. Highly Energized – Associated with feelings of joy, ecstasy, intensity, and of feeling charged or hot – “on fire”.
  6. Extraordinary Awareness – An acutely sharp sense of one’s whole body and its movements (perceived as physical sensations rather than as thoughts or ideas), acute awareness of the other players’ movements, size, physical presence, and what this player thinks or feels (mental impressions rather than analysis), ability to know what the other player is going to do even before they do it, a sensation of being completely in harmony with one’s environment.
  7. In Control – Body seems to be automatically doing exactly what you want it to do, mind seems to respond to the environment and to process all information from it in the most efficient and appropriate ways possible, no sense of exerting or imposing control though everything is happening as you wish it to.
  8. In the Cocoon – Feelings of being in a envelope or bubble, with complete access to all of one’s powers and skills, feelings of detachment from the external environment, even though acutely aware of everything associated with your performance, not reacting to events that detract from the performance, a feeling of euphoric awareness and of containment of one’s skill and power, a feeling of invulnerability.

There are 3 Performance Levels with clearly defined feelings, focus and energy associated with each:

Peak Performance

  1. Feeling positive
  2. Attention focused in the present
  3. Energy High

Average Performance

  1. Feeling positive or negative
  2. Attention focus shifting between past , present and future
  3. Energy medium to varying

Poor Performance

  1. Feelings negative
  2. Attention focus shifting between past , present and future
  3. Energy varying to low

Lesson – Complete the attached Peak Performance Feelings Rating Sheet

Step 1- Rate your most recent performance

Step 2- Rate your worse performance

Step 3- Rate your best performance

Step 4 – Return to coach for discussion

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