Formula for success: Relax and have some fun

Shaun White’s attitude exemplifies a gold medal mental approach.

We take you behind the scenes this month with our timely Vancouver Games Blog, an insider perspective on sport medicine and science headlines, talking points, statistical data and emerging trends.

With a gold medal already guaranteed snowboarder extraordinaire Shaun White did on his meaningless second run down the half-pipe exactly what elite athletes should do -says a sports psychologist in today’s Globe and Mail:

Having already beaten the field with a first run score of 46.8, the defending gold medal champion cruised through a stellar second performance that included a flawlessly executed Double McTwist 1260, one of the most difficult moves in all of snowboarding. The bonus run topped Mr. White’s gold-medal-winning ride with an even higher score of 48.4.

While many professional athletes claim to feed off pressure, Mr. White’s second run shows that some athletes are at their best when they can put aside the fear of failure and instead are liberated to focus solely on their love of the sport.

“There comes a point where pressure is too much,” says Dr. Saul Miller, (a member of the SportMedBC’s Network of Practitioners) author of Performing Under Pressure. “Some athletes want to perform, but a fear creeps in.” When the pressure is off, that fear disappears.

The key to our Canadians dealing with the pressure of a “home field” games is similar:

While the pressure for Canadian athletes to excel at home can be immense at the Games, the best athletes are able to push aside fear and focus on what drew them to the sport in the first place, Dr. Miller says.

Read the full article here.

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