Want to be a star performer in big games? Here’s how…

NatNetball7 Comments

With winter netball finals starting up for another year I thought it was timely to share with you my tips for staying calm under pressure and playing well in BIG games.

The key – mindset!

Being able to keep calm and relaxed in pressure situations is very challenging and takes a lot of practice. I spent my entire career trying to master it, but it wasn’t until I heard some wise words from the great Liz Ellis before the 2007 World Championship Final, that I could actually achieve it!

Liz said

‘Big games are won by players who have the presence of mind to do ordinary things in extraordinary circumstances.’

Sorry if I have minced your words Liz, it was almost 10 years ago now, but the important point is the meaning behind these words. I have thought about this statement before every BIG game I have played in since, my mindset had been forever changed!

I took her words to mean that I didn’t need to try harder, do more, run faster, jump higher or do things differently than ever before. It made me realise if I (and the team) played like we had every game before that, the result would take care of itself. And it did- we won! Without putting pressure on myself to play better than ever before, I could clear my mind and focus on doing things I did well every game, for example hit the edge of the circle in attack, hands over three feet defence every time my player had the ball. I could focus on the process rather than the outcome and when you can do that, you can be calm and relaxed – you can just play like YOU and enjoy it!

I am certainly not saying that you shouldn’t feel nervous, I always felt nervous before BIG games. I believe that if you don’t feel nerves the end result doesn’t mean enough to you – it shows you care! The important thing to consider here is to make your nerves work for you. Despite the excitement and nervous energy that comes with playing a final my advice is to try to stick to your usual pre game routine. When you stick to your routine you can conserve the nervous energy and can release it out on court, rather than feeling tired and fatigued before the game has even started.

Getting your mindset right and controlling your nervous energy will help you play well in big games.

Good luck and let me know how you go, I’d love to hear from you!


7 Comments on “Want to be a star performer in big games? Here’s how…”

  1. Wonderfully said! When coaching I’m often talking to my girls about the process and not the outcome. That way if they lose they are still able to look back at their game and take pride in the things they did well!

  2. Thank you for this Nat! So beautifully written I will be using these words this coming Saturday with my team for the Grand Final ♡♡

  3. We have placed our focus on absorbing and understanding pressure. We talk to the girls about pressure and we’re surprised that they didn’t know how to absorb it. We focused on mantras such as we don’t care about mistakes everyone makes them and it is unrealistic to think you won’t make them on court as a coach my focus is based on recovery from that mistake try ing to get it back and if they don’t we don’t care we just want to see them try. This has been so well received and effective in growing their confidence. We don’t expect perfection on the court just try your hardest. Our shortest team in the comp is now in the finals
    Thanks for your post

  4. Hi Natalie, wise words, And guess what, they just worked. My daughter is a GS in her local A grade junior comp. They have just played their Grand Final against a team who had beaten them 4 times during the season and the last 2 times by over 20 goals. BUT – our team kept to their game plan and after a very tense game (at one stage we led by 8, then gave it back to draw level!!) we hung on to win the GF by 2. Wins like these create
    the dreams of junior netballers to make it to the big time like you!
    Would love if you could email my daughter a short note of congratulations please!

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