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Performance & Panic

Paul Gascoigne, England

In this section we look at pressure on players to perform. Every match and what effect that pressure from fans, the media and within you club can have on you.

Facts about Personal Performance

  • The average crowd capacity at a premier league game is 35-40,000
  • Each club has fan bases extending into the thousands
  • The pressure of maintaining personal performance can be hard
  • How the game went can affect how the whole week can feel there is always another game around the corner
  • If a player is from another country and culture they can feel isolated.

“I was still a young guy, only twenty-three and with plenty to learn, and it was a mean, depressing experience. I had to live up to top billing. It doesn’t matter whether its showbiz, rock and roll, or football, you are duly exposed, an easy target, and there are plenty of folk out there prepared to pull the trigger and shoot you down.”

Andrew Cole.

What Happens when you are Under Pressure?

  • You are under pressure when your club is winning and more so when it’s losing and over time this pressure can get too much.
  • Players who are under performing will be asked to do better before they are asked why their performance might have slipped.
  • If they are famous then the football media will be piling the pressure on too. Players might also be put under pressure from others in the club, team mates, supporters, peer group, managers and coaches.
  • The strength of the previous game will determine how your week goes. The pressure of maintaining your personal performance can be hard.
  • Players are bought and sold for incredible sums of money but sales are based on a player’s performance not on their personality.

What Can Happen when you Panic ...

  • The physical feelings can be frightening especially when their cause is unknown,  Fear and anxiety can kick in as a response to minor or even non-existent threats.
  • Fear may be a ‘one-off’ feeling when faced with something unusual, but it can also be an everyday, long-lasting feeling.
  • Lots of things can make you feel afraid. Being afraid of some things – like fires – can keep you safe. Fearing failure can make you try harder to avoid failure. But fear can also prevent someone succeeding if the feeling is too strong.

What is a Panic Attack?

You could be said to be  experiencing a panic attack when you are overwhelmed by the physical and mental feelings of fear. People who have panic attacks say they find it hard to breathe and worry that they’re having a heart attack.

“I started to feel anxious and had a sense of fear about everything. I felt I had made my family unhappy but I took it out on them. I didn’t know anyone I could talk to about things. My performance started slipping  and I spent a few games on the bench. I started to have real panic attacks – fear of not playing, fear of playing and performing badly . Drink was the thing that calmed me down but then next day the anxiety would be worse. I began to feel I had no control over life on or off the pitch.”

Paul Gascoigne.