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Learn the key ideas of the book by Dave Alred

The Pressure Principle

Learn to handle stress, harness energy, and perform when it counts

How can the world of sports help us handle stress? In The Pressure Principle, Dave Alred reveals the secrets with which he has helped some of the biggest names in sports, from rugby to golf, to achieve extraordinary goals. He illustrates eight fundamental principles that will help us understand how pressure affects us, but above all how we can use it to improve our performance, so that we can give our best, and achieve our goals.

The Pressure Principle
Read in 14 min.
Listen in 17 min.

Many useful tips to:

  • Understand why, when the pressure rises, we seem to lose the ability to think straight and make decisions.
  • Know the factors that contribute to pressure and stress, in order to minimize the impact they can have on us.
  • Learn how to exploit our knowledge of pressure, channeling it in a positive way, so as not to get overwhelmed, using it to our advantage.

The author of the book:

Dave Alred is a performance coach, and has worked with some of the biggest names in sports, from rugby to golf. He holds a PhD in "Performance under Pressure" from the University of Loughborough. He is considered a pioneer of the performance mindset, and his approach helps sportsmen and entrepreneurs optimize their performance in stressful situations.


The effect that pressure has on us: is there a strategy to handle it?

Everyone has their own definition of what it means to be "under pressure". For some it is about having to give a presentation at work, for others it is about the everyday running of a business. But as much as our definitions may vary, we are always able to recognize its effects on us and on others: anxiety, sweat, feeling "tight"; in the shoulders and neck, nausea, "butterflies in the stomach", and many others.

Sooner or later, pressure gets to all of us. And when it happens, whether it's to do with work or personal reasons, our ability to think and make decisions is strongly inhibited. And this is the exact l point on which we must focus: the real problem is not the pressure itself, but the effect it has on us.

Sport is an environment where performing under pressure is fundamental, and every athlete must learn to handle stress, anxiety, and so on. Sporting events have a clear outcome: you either win or you lose. They are often held in public, under the careful scrutiny of hundreds or thousands of people. In sports we can clearly see what the effects of pressure are, and we can therefore use it as a platform to study them.

The Pressure Principle is a multi-faceted philosophy that we can apply to better manage pressure. The concepts are simple to understand and apply, but the results are not immediate. This method requires constant and long-term commitment, but lasting results are guaranteed. The principle consists of eight intermingled strands.


The key ideas of "The Pressure Principle"

The effect that pressure has on us: is there a strategy to handle it?
What is anxiety and how we can use it to give us an extra edge
The power of language modifies what we perceive
Put the fear of failure and looking bad aside, through the curiosity of a child
How to overcome the "blackout" state that occurs when you are under pressure
10 rules to train yourself to reach a goal without getting caught up in anxiety
Overcome the unpredictability of situations by visualizing what could happen
What is sensory shutdown, how does it manifest and how to deal with it
Select and focus on the most important steps to achieve your goal
The set of factors that allows us to achieve our goals without feeling under pressure
Take-home message

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