Psycho-Cybernetics Part 25 of 30: Shadow Boxing & The Clutch Play
June 16, 2009 by Dr. Lam
Why do some athletes shine when they are put to the test and when the clutch play is all stakes, winner take all? Why do some athletes do well in practice rounds but fold when the pressure is on? Why do we think in our mind, “Oh, there were a thousand things I should have said but didn’t think to say them until afterward.” Or, “I really should have done better in that situation. I don’t know why I did such a poor job.”
We are in many respects like athletes. We have certain clutch plays that we need to perform our best whether professionally or socially. How do we do that well when the time comes? First, a great suggestion is to shadow box. To role play. To go over in your mind’s theatre over and over the scenario so that when it happens it becomes almost second nature. Why is it that when a real fire occurs, that it requires so much more travail to get out of the building whereas for those who practiced it calmly in the setting of a fire drill can walk out the right exit without a problem in the time of crisis because they practiced? When one holds an empty gun, the hand can be raised and shoot at a target effortlessly. But once the gun is full of live ammo, the hand shakes and misfires. But with steady practice over and over, the hand steadies and there is no problem.
Besides shadow boxing, we can also convert our fear and anxiety over to a positive emotion, excitement. Before Johnny Carson went on stage every night for the Tonight Show, he was petrified and “hyper”. He got himself psyched up before going out. Most individuals who are ready to perform on stage need a little butterflies to make the performance better, to make the mind clearer and the tongue sharper. I myself use that trick before I make a public speech. I really don’t get “nervous” anymore even in front of thousands of people but I do start to psych myself up before hitting the stage so that I am fully energized. It brings me clarity of mind and purpose that comes to athletes and performers when the time of crisis hits them. Practice shadow boxing before some major event you will be encountering and convert fear and anxiety into a deep excitement that you can leverage to your advantage.