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5 Tips for Dealing with Rushing in Sport

Author: Hunter Visser, Co-founder of Headstartpro Performance Training


Have you or your team ever made a significant performance error because of being in a rush? Or, has rushing ever caused an injury that sidelined you from play? ~ Putting these five tips into action will help you strengthen your mental game and achieve better results before rushing gets the best of you!


1.    Practice gradually increasing your pace.

Rushing isn’t just going fast; it is going faster than what’s normal for you. In most sports, you need to move quickly, and speed (or pace of play) is a big part of the reason why we play sports in the first place, it’s exciting! To minimize errors during a game or competition, practice gradually increasing your pace during training. Steadily increasing your speed will help you develop the necessary skills to allow your body to move quickly and efficiently without the feeling of being in a rush.


2.    Practice self-triggering on rushing.

Self-triggering on rushing means to recognize when you are in a rush, and then choose two options: you can either slow things down or remind yourself to keep your eyes and mind on task. Split seconds count when it comes to rushing, so the quicker you can recognize that you are in a rush, release on the state and refocus, the less likely you will be to make a critical error. The more you practice this technique, the better you get at controlling your mind and controlling the moment. 

As Olympian and X-Games gold medalist Simon D’Artois says about self-triggering, “Like anything else, the more you practice, the better you get, and it starts to happen quicker so that your ability to control the moment gets better and better.” Watch Simon’s Headstartpro Video Here.

Simon D’Artois, Olympian and X-Games Super Pipe Skiing Champion

3.    When you can’t slow down, move your eyes quickly.

It’s not always possible to slow down in a game or competition. In these situations, make an effort to move your eyes quickly and keep your mind on task. Scanning your environment at a pace that matches your movement will help you see opportunities and avoid getting caught in the line of fire. So, If you have to rush, rush efficiently by using your eyes and your mind!


4.    Focus on the task at hand, not the task to come.

Most athletes have made significant mind-not-on-task performance errors where it wasn’t a matter of skill, but what they were (or were not) thinking about. These types of errors commonly happen during an ‘easy part’ of a game or contest. For instance, missing an easy shot on an open net is usually the result of ‘mental rushing,’ where you get caught focusing on the next move, instead of focusing on the task at hand. Before your next practice, game or competition, remind yourself to focus on the task at hand, not the task to come.


5.    Control your breathing.

This one is pretty simple. When you recognize that you are in a rush, try to take three or four deep and controlled breaths to reconnect your body and mind. Slowing things down by regulating your breath will help you make better decisions and re-energize, which is especially important when you need to move quickly


These five tips will help you to prevent performance errors and injuries caused by rushing. In the process, they’ll help you to achieve better results and perform at a higher level. So, try putting them into action at your next practice or competition!


For more info on Headstartpro, the Critical Error Reduction Techniques, a full list of performance-related habits, and other strategies for combating rushing, check out our online courses for coaches and athletes:

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