Performance anxiety impacts the person on a number of levels:
- The physical effects (body, voice, heart rate, etc..)
- The effects on your thinking (losing focus, narrowing of focus, etc..)
- The effects on your behavior (underperforming, choking, panicking, etc..)
There are a variety of treatment models for performance anxiety and the approach needs to be carefully in line with the needs of the client. Most effective training requires the use of PST or Psychological Skills Training, which includes instruction in the optimal practice techniques, the use of memorization or chunking, techniques for Refocusing under pressure and Improvisation (decision rules and values to guide improvisation plus the practice of improvisation for business executives, and other individuals performing under pressure).
Because performance anxiety affects a wide range of high achieving individuals, we know that it may be the norm rather than the exception. However, if the performance anxiety leads to inhibitions, block, panic or avoidance it needs to be addressed. Our practice has helped individuals from a variety of areas:
- Chief Executives,
- Olympians and Other Elite-Track Athletes,
- Sales Teams,
- Post-Injury recovering Athletes and Executives.
Choking under pressure is a form of performance anxiety when the most highly skilled individuals do not perform at top capacity. In fact, it is labeled choking when the individual who is capable of an exceptional performance (i.e., board presentation, exam, competition, work interview, audition), ends up delivering a sub-optimal performance in a highly stressful situation.
Because “not all failures are the same” the science of choking has been able to distinguish between different “failures” and the parts of the brain that get activated. Performance relies on memory and under stress some types of memory (explicit vs. procedural) can lead to different types of chokes. Call us to get a consultation to help you with performance anxiety.