Handling Slow Play 2

My earlier article spoke about staying focused as part of dealing with slow play. That is key. However, you can over do it. Let’s not go over each aspect of your preparation over and over like you are beating a dead horse. There can be too much preparing too!

The key is to stay “centered” or “grounded” during the delay in your round. So what is centered or grounded? What does that mean? What does that look like. I am sure you have heard words like that over the years. I sound like some new age hippie.

However, what I am really referring to is a real physiological state. It’s the state that exists when your sympathetic nervous system is not in “overdrive”. The sympathetic nervous system is the part of the autonomic nervous system that is responsible for activating the fight or flight response.

The fight or flight response is characterized by the following physical and emotional responses:

  • Tightening of muscles
  • Increased heart rate
  • Shallow breathing
  • Moving blood away from the center of the body to the limbs.
  • Increased anxiety or fear
  • Negative emotions (doom, giving up, sense of failure, low self esteem
  • Focusing on fleeing or fighting.

Th sympathetic nervous system is mediated my the para-sympathetic nervous system.  If you can activate it, the sympathetic system will calm down.  Ideally, you want to be centered or grounded, meaning that you are experiencing the following:

  • Muscles are ready but not tight
  • Slow calm breathing
  • Blood evenly flowing through your body
  • Slightly nervous or anxious
  • Focused and positive outcomes
  • Positive emotions (optimism, confident, focused on present or future)

It is important to stay in the grounded state of mind.  Yet, what can you do if you get “triggered” and end up in a flight or fight mode?

First, and this is so important, take at least deep breaths all the way down into your belly.  This is scientifically proven to activate the para-sympathetic nervous system and reduce the fight or flight response.    Next, focus your thoughts on positive outcomes and let go of any negative thoughts.  Finally, look around and appreciate your surroundings.

If you follow these simple steps, you will find you stay calmer, enjoy the game more, and score better.

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