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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Elena Baltacha Reframes Pressure: Olympic Quote of the Day

Elena Baltacha of Great Britain discussed the pressure of playing for her country in the London Olympics. 

ELENA BALTACHA:  I was quite nervous before the match. I think once I put my GB gear on, it relaxed me more because I've been looking forward to this for such a long time. I thought, you know, I've got an amazing opportunity. That kind of relaxed me a bit more. Once I started going on court, seeing all the home support, them getting right behind me, that kind of got me more confident and kind of more relaxed. So it was lovely. (Quote from ITF website)

Baltacha's perspective on the immense pressure of representing your country in a home Olympics is an excellent example of reframing. Reframing is a mental technique where you take a situation and how you are thinking about and frame it in a different way. Baltacha was thinking about the pressure of playing in the Olympics. When putting on the GB gear she was able to frame the situation differently - "I've got an amazing opportunity".

Something else I want to point out. She said she relaxed when she put on her gear. To get your mind in control many times you need to relax, usually by taking some deep breaths and exhaling to let go of the tension, so you can focus your mind on more effective thoughts. Combining relaxation with mental techniques such as reframing allows you to take stressful situations and see them as opportunities. This in turn helps you to look forward to big matches. It is amazing how just looking forward to something is enough to allow you to play well.

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