Performance under pressure is a complex phenomenon that can affect athletes, soldiers, first responders, and other high-stakes professionals. In this article, we'll explore the cognitive skills that play a critical role in a person's ability to perform under pressure and how these skills can be improved through training and testing measures.
Importance of Cognitive Skills in High-Pressure Situations
Regardless of the skill level, people's performance can be affected by pressure. For instance, an amateur athlete may excel in training but struggle during a game due to the presence of pressure. Both elite and amateur athletes can benefit from developing cognitive skills that minimize the impact of pressure on their performance.
While cognitive skills are critical in sports, they are also highly valued in other professions that require people to perform under pressure. These include first responders and military personnel who must act in dynamic, ever-changing, and life-threatening environments.
Insights from a New Study
A recent study by Lucy Albertella, published in Frontiers in Psychology, aimed to explore the cognitive drivers of performance in different dynamic and high-pressure environments. The study involved 68 experts from four high-pressure domains: sports, military, first responders, and performance neuroscientists.
The experts were surveyed about their opinions on cognitive constructs that are vital for performance under pressure. The constructs that reached consensus focused on the ability to concentrate on relevant stimuli, monitor one's performance, make sound judgments about one's cognitive and emotional internal states, and select, inhibit, and suppress responses, particularly in novel situations where appropriate responses need to be chosen among competing alternatives.
The study's key value lies in the shared terminology and definitions that have been developed to guide future research and cross-disciplinary learning. The ultimate goal is to better understand how cognitive skills impact performance under pressure and create training interventions that help people detect and improve these skills.
Training Cognitive Skills for Performance Under Pressure
Based on the insights from the study, it's clear that cognitive skills can be developed and improved with training. Unfortunately, many sports training programs do not focus on this aspect, which means that athletes may not be performing at their best during high-pressure moments.
For example, Louis Van Gaal, the manager of the Dutch national football team, asked his players to take penalties at their club to prepare for high-pressure penalty shoot-outs during the World Cup. While repetition can be helpful, training programs must focus on cognitive factors that impact performance under pressure to maximize results.
In conclusion, cognitive skills play a vital role in an individual's ability to perform under pressure, regardless of their skill level. To perform at their best, individuals must develop their cognitive skills and focus on the factors that impact their performance under pressure. Through testing measures and training interventions, it is possible to improve cognitive skills and help people perform at their best in high-pressure situations.
🧠 Performance under pressure can affect athletes, soldiers, first responders, and other high-stakes professionals.
🏋️♂️ Both elite and amateur athletes can benefit from developing cognitive skills that minimize the impact of pressure on their performance.
💪 Cognitive skills can be developed and improved with training, and training programs must focus on cognitive factors that impact performance under pressure to maximize results.
🌟 To perform at their best, individuals must develop their cognitive skills and focus on the factors that impact their performance under pressure.