In this incredible Ted Talk Amy Cuddy explains how our body language can effect our performance. She shows how simply holding a ‘power pose’ for a few minutes before a stressful situation will allow you to feel more confident and perform at your full potential.
The key is our hormones. By ‘power posing’ for a couple of minutes we can lower our levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) and increase levels of testosterone (helps your confidence and presence in a situation). In short, by posing in a confident powerful way, you trick your mind into being powerful and confident.
In any game, at any level you can see examples of this in action. Notice how different players carry themselves in different situations. Body language can tell you so much about a player. When the shoulders start to slouch and the lips start to form a frown, things aren’t going to go well. When a player is standing tall and acting confident, good things are going to happen. We’ve known this for a long time, but now we can understand why it happens, the effects it has on our hormones, and how powerful body language actually is.
Coaches across the world are finding ways to use these discoveries to improve the performance of their players. In an email last week Amy said:
“I’ve heard from many coaches around the world — kids to pros, gymnastics to volleyball. In fact, it looks like I’m going to be working with one of the coaches of the Harvard volleyball team this year. As a former pro ballet dancer, I’m also seeing how it’s being used in the performing arts and am working right now with Boston Ballet on another project.”
I’m excited about applying these concepts to our program moving forward. We are going to work with Amy to design some field tests and experiments and will post the results in a couple of weeks. Until then I recommend giving it a shot yourself. Find a couple of minutes before a stressful situation to power pose (bathrooms are recommended so your players/students don’t think you’re going crazy) and let us know how it goes!
Thanks for reading – Have a great week!