Dr. Caroline Silby is a sports psychologist and the author of the book Games Girls Play. In her practice, she has worked with Olympic athletes and has studied the effects of stress on athletic performance:
“Sometimes the biggest moments in sports lead athletes to question their plan or give themselves options in terms of their mental approach. This is where you see errors occur before the ball leaves their fingertips. If you have trained muscle memory and how to manage the stress, but in that moment you fail to execute upon your plan, you have decreased your chances of making that shot.”
The old adage is that a nervous jump shooter will “push” or “short arm” his shot because he doesn’t trust his normal release. Is this an overcompensation to stress?
According to Silby, “People who are mentally tough discipline themselves to stick to their game plan regardless of how much noise is occurring in their own heads, bodies or environment.”READ ARTICLE