Using Pressure to Amp Up Your Play

You’ve all been there. Standing at the table with your buddies looking on. Watching your every move. Waiting for the grand master to show them how it’s done. Then there’s the dealer chatting you up as the dice go out. The stick man leaning in. The pit critter making notes on your rating card. Feeling a little pressure? Yeah. Big time.

We often hear about the negative aspects of pressure – players choking, melting down, blowing up, etc. Pressure is surely a factor in why so many of us perform poorly when the heat is on. On the other side of the coin, though, there are positive sides to pressure in craps – or in any other area of your life. The pressure forces you to focus intensely and make the shot. It becomes a “must” and you rise to the occasion to get it done.

Pressure can serve to elevate motivation, tighten focus, and help minimize distractions as we lock on to the task at hand. For that to happen, though, you must FAVOR rather than FEAR pressure. You must turn it into something you enjoy in difficult situations. There are two steps to getting there:

1. Reframe yourself mentally to welcome pressure as a force motivating and stimulating you to succeed. You can do this simply through self-affirmations or self-hypnosis.

2. Consciously and rigorously manage your mental and emotional reactions to pressure by using it to help you focus and behave positively.

In bridging the gap between Fear and Favor you will almost certainly experience reactions such as nervousness, scattered thinking, shallow breathing and an increased heart rate. Golf pros counter these reactions by steadfastly adhering to specific pre-shot routines. Craps players can do the same thing. Set the dice. Take a deep breath. Let it out. Grip the dice. Visualize the result you want. Toss.

Remember, the objective is not to eliminate the pressure. It is to use pressure to your benefit. The more you play in pressure situations the better you become at it. The better you become at it – the better you become.