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Adrenaline: Think Of It Differently

Adrenaline as a superpower.

Adrenaline is like plugging into and electric outlet.

No matter how well-prepared a competitor might be, adrenaline will always surge during a competition. The mental game task is to contain it and use it. When handled with mental toughness adrenaline is like plugging into an electric outlet.

The Problem

The problem is, adrenaline has a negative association because it’s typically linked to being startled or frightened. But adrenaline is also linked to being excited. Competitors should think of adrenaline differently, as a raw power source that can be harnessed and used. In other words, adrenaline is a good thing.

I think of adrenaline as a superpower, that when controlled will dramatically elevate performance.

Adrenaline Is A Good Thing

Our amygdala, our danger alarm, our fight-flee-or-freeze reaction activates adrenaline. Adrenaline’s bottom line is to fight back or RUN! Or, when we’re overwhelmed, we lock up and FREEZE. When we feel threatened the amygdala screams danger, then the vagus nerve triggers the adrenal gland to dump adrenaline (epinephrine) into our bloodstream quickly elevating our physical and mental capabilities. This is obviously a good thing, but it’s tough to stay even keeled and LOCKED IN when the adrenaline is surging through our veins prompting us to sprint around the venue or go bend steel.

Control It And Use It

This is one of the reasons athletes “lose it” in competition. They haven’t built the awareness and the needed mental control to stay in the present and take the anxiety and associated adrenaline down a notch. Competitors must respond to their primal reaction to harness their superpower and to use it sparingly, because adrenaline is of limited supply, and too much all at once can cause many undesirable side effects.

An overdose of adrenaline can make the competitor feel lightheaded and disoriented, often nauseated (yep, some puke), and confused.

It's Difficult to Watch

A sign of poorly handled adrenaline is when the competitor looks like droopy spaghetti, instead of tempered steel. The competitor looks out of sorts. He or she looks inexperienced and unprepared. It’s difficult to watch. Poorly handled adrenaline does the opposite of what the competitor wants it to do. It extinguishes their competitive fire leaving them feeling lethargic and tired, sort of a letdown.

Adrenaline is a Competitor's Best Friend

When adrenaline is harnessed with mental toughness, systematic breathing, and concentrating on a positive process, it becomes a human superpower that takes performances to record heights. When adrenaline is handled properly competitors think more clearly and decisively, which produces greater self-belief and crisper execution. The bottom line is, nerves and adrenaline are a good thing. When controlled with mental toughness adrenaline is a competitor’s best friend.

Adrenaline: Think Of It Differently


By Steve Knight

May 19, 2019


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