How To Help Athletes Who Freeze Under Pressure #BITESIZE

How To Help Athletes Who Freeze Under Pressure #BITESIZE

Ruth Chiles

Ruth Chiles works with professional musicians from many of the world´s leading symphonic orchestras, as well as from other genres such as jazz, rock and blues. Her experience is also with premier and international league sports clubs, and professional dancers, gymnasts, basketball players, skiers and track athletes, enabling them to resolve their performance blocks, especially focal dystonia. She has nearly 30 years of formation in and experience with leading edge neuroplasticity and neurogenesis techniques. As a musician herself who suffered and has healed herself from focal dystonia and other performance blocks, she understands first-hand what it is like to have your deepest passion snatched from you, the experience of the recovery process, and the joy of returning to confident, freedom and fluidity in your playing.

Hypoarousal – what is it in a performance context? It is our freeze response, when our mind and body shuts down when we are faced with significant pressure, at least in our own minds.

In today’s episode I discuss with Ruth Chiles, author of The Focal Dystonia Cure how athletes and performers who experience this freeze response can help themselves.  Ruth goes on to share some practical tips that can hugely benefit many people.

Key Learnings

  • Brainspotting an approach developed by a New York psychologist called David Grand helps to rewire parts of the brain so that people can respond differently in specific situations.
  • In a performance context, we spend a lot of time in survival mode which can impede fluidity, enlarge muscles and inhibit your fine motor skills.
  • Practicing interoceptive awareness exercises can be very helpful for self-regulation.
  • Centering practices can calm our nervous system.

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Connect with Ruth Chiles


Book: The Focal Dystonia Cure: Powerful and Definitive Practices to Completely Heal Yourself

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Ruth Chiles on YouTube

Relevant Podcast Episodes

Ep014: Alessia Bruno – The Yips, Crashes, Trauma in Sport there is hope for Athletes

Ep092: Dr James Hegarty – ACT in Sport, Improving Performance through Mindfulness

Ep131 David Charlton – How to Deal with Self-Criticism using Self Compassion – FINAL PART

Ep142: Alessia Bruno – Is Striving for Perfection a Good Thing in Gymnastics?

Ep156: Ruth Chiles – There is Hope: How to Overcome Focal Dystonia

Relevant Blogs

Blog: Helping a Critical Child When You’re a Parent

Blog: How to Support an Angry Young Athlete

Using ACT and Mindfulness to Improve Your Sporting Performances

Why You Should Meditate To Improve Your Sport Performance?

Guided Mindfulness Meditation Practices with Jon Kabat-Zinn



Also, kindly consider taking the 60-seconds it takes to leave an honest review and rating for the podcast on iTunes, they’re extremely helpful when it comes to the ranking of the show and we read every single one of them!

David Charlton

Best Wishes 

David Charlton

Global Sports Psychologist who is located near Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK and willing to travel Internationally.  David also uses online video conferencing software (Zoom, Facetime, WhatsApp) on a regular basis and has clients who he has supported in USA, Canada, South America, UAE, Australian and New Zealand.  

Managing Director – Inspiring Sporting Excellence and Founder of The Sports Psychology Hub.  With over 10 years experience supporting athletes, coaches, parents and teams to achieve their goals, quickly.    

T: +44 7734 697769

E: [email protected]

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