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Performance Under Pressure

As we watch athletes, amateurs, professionals, and Olympians, we marvel at their physical skills and performance. The mental discipline needed to execute hours of repetition and practice that creates the ability to compete at a high level is stunning. Peaking physically and performing flawlessly at just the right moment in competition can have emotional tolls that are costly to the athlete and largely unwitnessed by the fan.

By the time we see an athlete break down under pressure, the powder-keg has been smoldering for a long time. There are so many feelings and thoughts that pass through us as we build-up to the performance. From our first catch, kick, jump, or throw of a competitive sport, we are constantly analyzing and judging our effort throughout our athletic career. Our coaches, teammates, parents, friends and fans also share their opinions of how we play, prepare and recover. Living under this microscope can help us improve. Still, the constant measuring can weigh heavily, even if we passionately love the sport.

The NCAA says the most common psychiatric disorders in student-athletes are in these categories

· Anxiety disorders

· Mood disorders

· Personality disorders

· Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

· Eating disorders

· Body dysmorphic disorder

· Adjustment disorders

· Substance use disorders

· Impulse control disorders

· Psychosomatic illnesses [1]

How do we accept constant assessment without driving ourselves into an emotional abyss?

Ideally, and hopefully soon, every athlete would have Emotional Resolution® as a resource, incorporated into their training regimen.

Self-Emotional Resolution, Self-EmRes, is an essential part of emotional self-care. Self-EmRes allows a person older than 11years to resolve emotional issues when they are experiencing the emotion.

Self EmRes Example 1: Coach says you aren’t working up to your full potential today; why are you fooling around or wasting time? An emotional response might be shame, anger, resentment. But instead of pushing it aside to boil over later, Self-EmRes will remove the embedded emotional memory causing the current feelings. Addressing the in-flight emotion only takes up to 2 minutes!

Pushing it down is a temporary coping technique. While it may help in the moment, methods of “coping” with emotions, like breathing, counting, and other distractions, do not remove the emotions. Coping just pushes them off to a later, usually more explosive, emotional event.

The next time your coach comments on your lack of focus, you will hear it differently—less emotionally. You might agree or disagree, but there will certainly be less emotion clouding your reaction. This clarity allows you to move on to make adjustment or confront the coach on her opinion and work it out.

Self EmRes Example 2: After a break from tennis, a man was excited to get back to regular play. But he felt his serve was his biggest weakness. He was always nervous from preparation to follow through. After learning Self-EmRes, he practiced resolving his fear before service. It took a couple times to work through different aspect of his serve. Now he can focus on techniques to make the serve better instead of “just knowing that he sucks at serving”. He’s happy to be back on the court and happier still in the improvement in his game.

Addressing the internal conversation about skills and abilities can be a reflection of fear, shame and anxiety. Talking yourself into being brave, a coping skill, will not remove the emotion. Resolving the emotion takes care of it permanently.

Emotional Resolution for Kids, EmRes-Kids, is an essential part of every coach’s and teacher’s emotional aid kit. Children between 7 and 11 years can be led through resolving emotions in the moment. And through repetition, they learn how to take responsibility for their stresses. We put our children in competitive sports very young. This emotional tool helps them with anxiety and the fear of letting others down, particularly parents, if they do not perform up to par. EmRes-Kids technique is adapted to be easily understood by children 7-11 years.

Instant Emotional Resolution, Instant-EmRes, helps another person with emotional difficulty if they don’t know Self-EmRes. We can all give compassionate emotional first aid to others, helping other human beings in our community.

EmRes-Kids | Instant-EmRes Example: A teenage boy made a mistake causing a foul, and his team lost the game. His father, still full of fan adrenaline, yells at him for making such a dumb error, “You know better. We’ve practiced this a million times!” and walks off. The boy has disappointed his teammates, school, and his father—essentially his whole world. My colleague, an EmRes Practitioner, asked his mother for permission to try Instant-EmRes to help him. Within two minutes, the boy had stopped crying and had rejoined his teammates in post-game commiseration.

This example could have been for a younger child using EmRes-Kids. Both EmRes-Kids and Instant-EmRes are to help someone else that is in emotional pain.

Emotional Resolution® Sessions, EmRes®, involves more profound work than the emotion of the moment. If the emotional moment has passed, the unintegrated emotional memory has not gone away. It just lays in wait for the next environmental stimulus to prod our subconscious into recall. EmRes® Sessions address these emotional events anytime after they erupt in our day-to-day lives. There is no need to know where or why it’s there and no need retrigger the original emotional injury. The body has an innate ability to integrate the memory related to the physical/visceral sensations we feel when experiencing an emotion. EmRes® helps the body do the integartion while we are safe, fully conscious, and alert.

EmRes® sessions for sports performance can resolve emotions related to preparation and training, execution, pre-and post-event, and the analysis, critique, and criticism from everyone from the coach to press and social media.

Wherever the stresses lay are the fodder for Emotional Resolution.

Emotional Resolution Session Example 1: A football player had a severe groin pull that he favored when returning to the active play. During the EmRes Session, he worked on emotions met during the last post-injury game and then the stress of being injured and not recovering as fast as he wanted. Interestingly, when he returned to the game after EmRes, his opponents did not seem as large and ferocious as when he first returned. His “game” was back.

Emotional Resolution Session Example 2: A young girl joined a soccer team for the first time. Her parents noticed that she was running up and down the field okay. However, she was not kicking the ball or making goals like the other girls. During an her EmRes session, she worked on being afraid of the ball and the consequences of kicking or touching the ball during the game and making goals or not. Her next game was a complete turnaround—no fear of the ball! You would never have known there was a problem at all.

Emotional Resolution Session Example 3: A baseball pitch came to EmRes because his game had fallen flat. He had been a good pitcher, but in recent games he wasn’t performing well at all. During the EmRes session, he worked on not wanting to disappoint his Dad who was coaching him from the stand behind home plate. Good advice or not, Dad’s pressure made him so afraid of failure that he couldn’t pitch. Afterward the EmRes work, he was back to himself—a great baseball pitcher.

Getting rid of the emotions that cloud our athletic performance is not to suggest that sport should be emotionless. While the fans might get a charge from athletes roaring like bears to channel their angst, the highest athletic achievements are performed when overwhelming emotions do not cloud their prowess. The excitement and adrenaline still flow! But, the clear, focused mind is more effective in finding a way past competitors. It helps develop nuance in athletic skills and exploit subtle observations of their own performance and their opponents’ weaknesses.

When everything is on the line, are you calm about your performance? Or are you battling emotions?


1. Mind, Body and Sport: The psychiatrist perspective, Todd Stull,

About Sue

Sue Siebens is an intuitive holistic healer based in Dallas, Texas. In her practice, she uses techniques that work at a fundamentallevel, where the roots of the illness, fear, and pain can be accessed and resolved. Sue teaches and writes to raise awareness about these new technologies so that as many people as possible can find relief and peace in their life.

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