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Fight or Flight Moments And How To Overcome Them

"I want to practice to the point where it's almost uncomfortable how fast you shoot, so that tin the game things kind of slow down." - Stephen Curry

Fight or flight moments in sport. What happens in those moments?

Steph Curry captures this moment well with his recollection of the game 7 shot he took in 2016:

The shot clock whittled down to four seconds and Curry, capitulating to the urgency, hoisted a 3 that bounced off the rim and out. “I'm like, 'I just need a little space' -- and that's where I started to rush," Curry says now. "I look back and think I could have easily gone around [Love] and gotten a 2, and we could have gotten a stop, and then I could come back down and hit another shot, and we win another championship, instead of me going for the hero shot, which I felt like I could make.


“That was a shot where I was not under control. And it cost us a championship."


“When I was younger and got into those types of situations," Curry says, "it made me rush, play fast. With experience, you figure out ways to slow the game down."


As an athlete, when the fight or flight response kicks in, you get a surge of adrenaline and the moment becomes urgent.

As Curry describes, you start to feel rushed, the game seems faster, and alters decision making.

It made him get into HERO mode, he thought about the outcome and the need to quickly take the game winning shot and win the game.


With all the blog posts focused on breathing, this is a reminder to practice regulating your breathing in practice and competition.

Be mindful of what it feels like to be in a reactive “fight or flight” state versus a “calm and focused” state.

The more you are aware of the differences, the more you can learn to control it.

When we are calm and focused, it slows the game down, grounds you in the moment, you make decisions based off things in your control, and you trust the process.

✅Check out the ESPN article on how the best NBA players learn from and handle pressure moments.

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