Aug 9, 2012 7:46 AM by Lacey Steele

Your Healthy Family: Performance Pressure

It's easy to see the pressure to perform well placed on the Olympic athletes, so how do they deal with it?

Here's more in today's Your Healthy Family.

Whether it's in the pool or on the pommel horse, one expert says what you think or don't think can make all the difference.

"I've been doing gymnastics since I was four," said Owen Sipes, a 12-year-old gymnast. "It's a lot of fun, especially learning new skills."

Owen's fun turned to frustration after a difficult meet.

"I did okay on the first event, and then on high bar, I fell four times all on easy skills," said Owen. "I was so upset. I just lost it."

Owen decided to see Douglas Finney, a licensed Clinical Social Worker and Mental Game Coach.

"There's an old saying that practice is 90% physical and 10% mental," said Finney. "Competition is 90% mental and 10% physical."

Finney helped Owen change some of his thoughts.

"When you're saying something like, 'I have to do well,' you are putting stress on yourself," said Finney. "You can change it and say, 'It's my goal to do well,' and those types of words do not put the same stress on you."

Owen said breathing techniques and a mantra helped him the most.

"I believe I can achieve," said Owen. "I just look in the mirror, and I say it 20 times every single day."

Finney's combination for success:

"To always focus on what you want, to detach yourself from the outcome, you make an intention, you set action steps, and that's all you can do," said Finney. "You're in control of that. You're not in control of the outcome."

Owen's intention?

The 2020 Olympics.

"First year I'm able to go, I'm making it up top," said Owen.

Even if you're not a competitive gymnast or an athlete, these tips can help you in everyday life from test taking to interviewing for a job.


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