Match Pressure

Pressure comes in a variety of ways in all types of activities. Bridge players are not immune to this and may also feel pressure when playing an event. Whether it is the pressure of leading the event, the pressure of expectations, time pressure to finish because you are a slow player or have slow opponents, […]

Getting in the Zone

We often hear sports commentators talking about players being ‘in the zone’. This phrase is commonly used when a player is performing well and operating within what is known as their comfort zone. The player in the zone is focussed and their mind is on their performance. Their shots and plays are coming naturally to […]

Managing Internal Distractions

Occasionally in bridge you play against one of those pairs whose bidding style might be described as optimistic. They push for every marginal game and slam. You just hope that today isn’t going to be one of those day’s when all the marginal games and slams come home. Recently I sat down in a team’s […]

Stay positive to get an edge

In my last article I wrote about how good preparation before the start of play can help with overcoming opening round nerves. However, nerves are not the only aspect which might affect a bridge player’s ability to focus effectively. Keeping a positive mindset when faced with a difficult contract is an important mental skill to […]

Dealing with Opening Round Nerves

Bridge is a game with many facets. To be successful, a player needs to achieve a high degree of skill in each of these facets which include: technical ability; partnership understanding or agreements; concentration logic and clear thinking; match fitness and stamina in a long tournament, and all the other factors which go into being […]

Dealing with distractions from the opponents

As the tennis season approached in the Australian summer, it brought to mind various matches I have watched over the years, both in Australia and from overseas tournaments, where a lesser ranked player will find themselves holding a winning position against a more highly fancied opponent. It is heartbreaking to then see the lower ranks […]


Loss of concentration can be devastating for our results as bridge players. It is easy to dump 20 imps in the space of 3 or 4 boards through poor concentration. Top athletes generally have superb concentration – it is a skill which is developed over time – and if they lose concentration they have mechanisms […]

Match Fitness

In sport, coaches often talk about being ‘match fit’. Practice form doesn’t always transfer to the playing field where nerves and the pressure of competition play a part. As an athlete, it doesn’t matter how much time you spend on practice, and practice matches, the first ‘real’ competition of the season is always hard. It […]

The Annual Training Plan

Elite athletes usually have a well developed annual training plan. The annual plan for my shooting year defined the competition periods, peak training periods, rest periods, fitness training periods, experimenting periods and other key events during the year. It also included annual goals, and goals specifically for individual competitions and training. Goals should be both […]

Dealing with Time Pressure

Match anxiety or match pressure has differing degrees of influence on different people. Some players are completely immune, whilst others fold under pressure. One disastrous example I saw occurred when a shooter in the Olympic final shot on the wrong target, scoring a zero & losing the gold medal in the process. Incredibly four years […]