Sports can be a highly competitive arena where athletes strive to be at the top of their game. While it can be exhilarating and rewarding, the pressure to perform can lead to high levels of stress and anxiety. However, learning effective stress control techniques can help athletes manage their emotions and improve their performance. In this article, we'll explore the importance of stress control in sports and how techniques like NLP, The Zone and Tapping EFT can be used to help athletes manage their stress.


Stress Control in Sport


Stress is an inevitable part of sport, and athletes who learn to manage their stress effectively have a significant advantage over their competitors. Stress can affect an athlete's physical and mental well-being, and prolonged exposure to stress can lead to burnout and injury. Effective stress management techniques can help athletes improve their focus, concentration, and overall performance.


One effective technique for managing stress is NLP, or Neuro-Linguistic Programming. NLP focuses on how language and behavior affect our thoughts and emotions. NLP techniques can help athletes reframe their thoughts and beliefs to reduce stress and improve performance. By learning to change their inner dialogue and self-talk, athletes can develop a positive mindset and reduce stress levels.


Another technique that has gained popularity in recent years is Tapping EFT

Tapping EFT  involves tapping on specific acupressure points while focusing on negative emotions or limiting beliefs. This technique can help athletes release negative emotions and improve their emotional well-being, leading to better performance on and off the field.


The Zone

To counter negative thinking and overcome the repetitive thought patterns caused by stress, employ physiological techniques to transform your emotions.

The Exercise

When feeling overwhelmed by stress, guide your client to inquire within themselves, "Am I aware?  and become conscious of their awareness. Asking them again to "Become aware of that awareness"

(Your awareness forms the foundation of your thoughts and can be described as your essence or the entity you refer to when you say "I."

You are aware of your thoughts, feelings, sensations, and perceptions. They do not possess self-awareness; for example, a thought may vanish, but a part of you does not vanish with it.

What remains constant throughout our lives is the experience of awareness or the sense of "I."

When you were 5 years old, you identified yourself as "I," and today, you still identify and feel yourself as the same "I."

No thought, feeling, image, or relationship has remained unchanged, so they cannot be qualified as "I" or "I am."

This sense of "I" or "I am" represents our essential nature of being and happiness.)

Next, encourage your client to physically touch their heart and focus on their breath. Guide them to envision breathing into their heart, while visualizing a heart symbol and contemplating someone special in their life. Then, ask them to take two minutes to think about and imagine three things they are grateful for, in order to shift their mindset.

Depending on your exercise's intended purpose, you can guide your client to focus and visualize their goal, along with the benefits they will attain upon achieving it.

This technique can help you enter a mental state of complete presence in the current moment, commonly known as "the zone." When you are in the zone, you are fully absorbed in what you are doing, free from distractions of potential outcomes or worries. You will notice a decrease in stress levels and a heightened focus of the mind.

This can be observed in electrocardiogram (ECG) readings, where the lines transition from jagged to smooth as you enter the zone. So instead of passively hoping for the zone to magically appear, actively place yourself in the zone to wholeheartedly engage with your passions.


Case Study

How NLP, The Zone, and Tapping EFT Helped a Runner


Sarah was a long-distance runner who had been experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety before her races. She had been struggling with self-doubt and negative self-talk, which was affecting her performance. As her coach, I suggested that she try NLP and Tapping EFT, and The Zone techniques to manage her stress and improve her mindset.


We started with Tapping EFT. Sarah learned to tap on specific acupressure points while focusing on her negative emotions and limiting beliefs. She learned to release her negative emotions and reprogram her subconscious mind with positive suggestions and self-talk that focused on her strengths rather than her weaknesses.


I then taught Sarah The Zone technique, which she loved


I then used The Focused Awareness Technique, afterwards I used visualization to get Sarah to visualize herself succeeding in her races and develop a more positive outlook on her abilities.


Sarah found that Tapping EFT helped her release her stress and anxiety, leading to a more relaxed and focused state before her races. She also used The Zone to great effect


After working on these techniques, Sarah reported significant improvements in her performance. She was able to manage her stress more effectively and perform better in her races. She also reported feeling more confident and positive in her daily life.




Stress control is an essential aspect of sports performance, and athletes who learn effective stress management techniques can gain a significant advantage over their competitors. NLP, The Zone and Tapping EFT are three techniques that can help athletes manage their stress and improve their mindset. By changing their inner dialogue and releasing negative emotions, athletes can perform at their best on and off the field.


Note: it's important to incorporate calming techniques that promote relaxation without suppressing the adrenaline necessary for optimal performance. The key suggestion should be to draw upon past successes and give their best effort on this occasion. Such as:

“….to relax you just enough and only enough, to enable you to draw upon your own best past performances and give of your best, be your best and do your very best on every occasion.”


The mind, from my experience, is capable of interpreting this message successfully.