The Power of Composure: From an Athlete’s Perspective

When I first started playing sports, I wondered how professional athletes were able to remain calm under pressure. I wondered if they used the competitive pressure to thrive. Or if they used past mistakes as a form of motivation to improve. I was interested to see the different personalities of the athletes in team sports and how they would control their emotions after a setback. 

As I gained more exposure to professional athletes, training with players from Melbourne Victory, a professional soccer team in Australia through the Elite Girls Program, I realised it wasn’t just the personality of each player, but rather the inner composure and confidence that they had, enabling them to perform at their best. 

I found that the best athletes were the most composed - composure being defined as the state or feeling of being calm and in control of oneself. Elite athletes don’t dwell on past mistakes or let mistakes throw them off their game. They are able to remain calm, in control of their emotions and be resilient - consistently. 

Playing soccer, I remember each time one player lost the ball they would instantly try and win the ball back successfully. They didn’t drop their head immediately after losing the ball but rather switched their mindset to how they could fix their mistake. As a result, I noticed they got better and better each time they played. 

What we can learn from this is that composure is the key to unlocking a great performance and improvement. However, the ability to maintain composure consistently throughout the duration of a performance is perhaps more important and consequently helps an amataeur player become a professional player.  

Personally, I have struggled to maintain confidence in my abilities which could possibly be the reason for the slight decreases in performances from time to time. The fear of failure, the need for perfectionism and the worry about others opinions are all factors that can affect composure. Fortunately, composure is something that can be gained and strengthened through a multitude of strategies. 

During competition it is vital to be able to identify and quickly extinguish mental barriers that are limiting you to becoming your best. You must work to think calmly and rationally when under stress and errors during performance. Finally, you must have the belief that there is no better person to win than you.

Just as Cristiano Ronaldo once said, 

‘If you don’t believe you are the best, then you will never achieve what you are capable of.’


Edger, M., Composure in Sports,, published 15 April 2011


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