Improve how you deal with pressure – try the power pose
The match is coming up… and your heart starts beating faster. The lucidity that is usually something you can rely is losing ground on thoughts. Feelings of doubt pop up. Time to learn to deal better with situations under pressure. Here’s how the ‘Power Pose’ might be able to help you!
The term “Power posing” was launched by Harvard Business School Professor Amy Cuddy. It’s a pose that consists of standing tall with the arms raised in a number of possible positions with a slight turn up of the chin and eyes looking up to the sky. Professor Cuddy researched how this posture affects how we feel about ourselves and how this posture can benefit us in real life competitive situations.
Let your body speak to your mind and influence your behavior.
Professor Cuddy’s theory states that our bodies change our mind, and our minds can change our behavior, and our behavior can change our outcomes. This concept can help athletes when they are in the face of competition, as how we handle pressure often can make or break a performance.
“our bodies change our mind, and our minds can change our behavior, and our behavior can change our outcomes.” Amy Cuddy
Power Posing: so what is it?
When do you do a power pose you physically try to express confidence, and this through the posture. Try raising or opening your arms, or moving your hands away from your body or even opening yourself up to the full extent. The complete opposite of a power pose is making yourself (feel and look) smaller. Imagine how you feel when you cross your legs or arms, hunched over, hold your elbows, or close up your body as if you were afraid of taking up space.
What does the power pose do – scientifically?
The research of Professor Cuddy has shown that holding a power pose for 2 mins has an effect on our hormones.
First of all it releases testosterone which is a dominance hormone and a regulator of physical energy and the ability to think clearly
At the same time it reduces the stress hormone cortisol, a hormone released in stressful situations
By increasing testosterone and reducing cortisol, people of all ages demonstrated increased willingness to take risks, felt their confidence boosted, and could perform better in demanding situations.
Try it out yourself!
Choose a certain powerpose you want to try out – be inspired by one of the three below
Stand for 2 minutes in a power pose. Ideally, power posing is done every day
Prior to a competition, stand and breathe for 2 minutes in a power pose as a pre-competition routine.
Taking 2 minutes to power pose in a bathroom stall before your match can affect your outcome.
Power Posing and Body Language – look out for clues!
Body language is a form of non-verbal communication both to others and to our own body. Smart athletes size up one another and look for subtle non-verbal cues that say things like “I am confident” or “I am scared”. A power pose will give you more confidence to have and keep confident body language.
More about body language will follow – start trying these power poses out as they can help determine your outcome!
More info on Professor Amy Cuddy: http://amycuddy.com/
She is the author of the book Presence – available here
For more MSquash Match Strategy tips: www.msquash.com/blog
Check out our camps: www.msquash.com/camps
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