On Rising To The Occasion

In order to perform at the highest level in competition, you have to prepare that way every single day.
— Ben Bergeron, Chasing Excellence

Sports media regularly talks about champions “turning it on”, or “flipping the switch” when the big moment arrives. The way people talk, you’d think the ability to “turn it on” under the bright lights is a special talent only some are born with.

Isn’t turning it on, or up, or whatever you call it, simply performing at a high level when the pressure is highest?

The issue on the table is one of performance, not talent.

Talent, meaning genetic predisposition, isn’t as big a factor as you think. It just isn’t. Besides, there’s nothing you can do about your genetics, so why worry about them?

You can, however, train how you perform. Performance is a training problem, not a talent problem.

In stressful and trying moments you don’t rise to the level of your aspirations; you fall to the level of your preparation.

If you want to shine when the lights are at their brightest, you have to practice it. You can’t afford the luxury of going through the motions. It won’t happen on its own. You have to train with attention to detail. You must train with purpose and drive.

How you train is how you perform. The two are one. You don’t practice one way and then perform differently when the moment comes. Instead, you must work in training the way you want to perform when the time is right.