“There’s so much pressure, and I can’t begin to explain how much pressure I have on my shoulders.” The words of Lewis Hamilton, in advance of the French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours, in which he subsequently finished tenth.
Things are not going as well as they might, this season, for the British driver. Consecutive fall-outs with race officials, and Hamilton now lies fourth in the Drivers Championship, ten points behind leader Brazilian Felipe Massa.
After his successful second-place rookie season in Formula One, it was presumed that Hamilton, would carry on where he left off last year. Perhaps land the first of many titles, this season. But with the increase in expectations, comes the increase in pressure and demand.
To handle this increase in expectation, a sports professional can sometimes tend to try too hard and so lose their subtle natural rhythm and tempo. Decision-making can then suffer and anxiety increases. Leading to out-of-character mistakes and inevitably frustration.
These are the moments and times in their careers, when a top sports professional, really benefits from a sports psychologist. The sports psychologist can help them to put things into perspective. To see things for what they really are. To help them develop techniques and strategies, for thinking clearly under pressure. And most importantly of all, connecting them back, to their love and passion for their sport.
When Lewis Hamilton’s love and passion for motor-racing is re-ignited, then his results will improve. The external pressure may not change, but he will become much less, personally affected by it. He will drive, without the weight of the world upon his shoulders and radiate a sense of confidence and calm. Success will follow, leading to more confidence.
Of course all of this personal development can occur, with age and experience. But right now, Lewis Hamilton looks like he would benefit from some external help. Driving fast cars, should be a pleasure not a burden.