BEYOND SKILLS COACHING SERIES: How To Stop Overthinking In Sport

Have you ever heard the saying paralysis by analysis?

It is when someone thinks too much or over-analyses a situation and instead of making a decision they land up doing nothing.paralysis

In effect the outcome becomes paralysed.

In sport an example of this may be not making the right pass at the right time or taking too long to take action, i.e. getting tackled or defeated before you get the chance to do something.

This happens when we over-complicate something and focus too much on the details, instead of just trusting the process.

This is indirectly related to fear and not wanting to make a mistake, which is also closely linked to perfectionism.

It would actually be better just to do something, even if it is the wrong decision. Even if you make a mistake then at least you can learn from it.

We learn more from our mistakes than from getting things right, so understand that mistakes are an important part of our development as an athlete.

That is why we train, because it is at practice where we should be making mistakes so that we can learn from them and correct them.

The more mistakes you make the more you should be learning.

Develop your “killer instinct”

Most sports should be played in the unconscious part of the brain which relies on instinct and reaction.

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, a killer instinct?

Instinct comes from the unconscious mind which is key to success in sport.unconscious

However there are a lot of people who try to play sport with the conscious part of the brain, which is responsible for logic and reasoning.

The conscious part of the brain can be used in practice but in games time you should be using the unconscious part of the brain, as it processes much faster meaning your decisions and reaction will likely be better and quicker.

The problem is that most people aren’t aware of this or haven’t been taught to know how to develop the instinctive part of the brain, which is where mindset training can be really beneficial.

The great news is that anyone can develop their unconscious mind.

Mindset training doesn’t mean you have a weakness, it just means you’re developing this skill which is crucial for success.

This means you have more potential inside yourself than you think, but you have to learn how to unleash that potential.

We are all conditioned in a certain way so often we just have to re-learn how to think like a champion at an unconscious level.

If you tend to overthink, then you need to learn how to switch off the chatterbox part of the brain that analyses and instead program your mind to just do what you want and what you’ve learn’t.

Not only is it frustrating when you underperform but it can also be very frustrating for coaches watching players from the sideline who are NOT doing what they’re capable of because they are overthinking.

Bio: After taking a gap year to England, Lauren Penny ended up staying in the UK for 10 years (returning back to Cape Town in 2014). While living in the UK she got selected for the South African National Hockey Team.

She also captained the u19 South African Women’s cricket team in 2005 and was part of the Kent women’s cricket team in England that won the national league for two consecutive seasons (2009-11).

After struggling with various injuries she decided to turn her focus to performance coaching. With over 12 years experience in the field, coaching others to greatness has become her true passion.

Her unique gift is inspiring, motivating and helping others to be more confident, perform under pressure and develop the consistency required to reach higher levels of sport & life.


Visit Lauren’s Website and learn more about her organisation ‘Beyond Skills Coaching’