It was a moment that would make people involuntarily clench one or more sphincters.
The football team I support had just scored a penalty and due to an infringement of the rules had to retake it.
Lots of people find penalty-taking pretty daunting. Having to retake is generally considered to be an even higher pressure task given that it's quite unusual and the goalkeeper now has more of a read of your technique.
Our guy scored again. Cool as a cucumber.
And he reminded me of the coolest penalty taker of all: Mario Ballotelli.
Apart from being an adept penalty taker (until recently he had a 100% scoring record), he's pretty cool in other circumstances too.
He is the most minimal goal celebrator you may see.
He doesn't blink even at threat of physical violence on the pitch.
You may not like Balotelli. You may not like football. But you can sure learn from him for your sport.
How do you deal with pressure?
Can you perform at the same level when people watch? When they're actively putting you off? In the 'big' moments?
Do you lose your composure when something 'bad' or 'good' happens?
Does your fear of looking like a fool and need to please those around you keep you from being creative and trying new things?
Mario, as you can see in the photo of him above, doesn't look like he gives a fuck.
We don't know if he actually does or not but nothing externally changes to indicate it.
He doesn't markedly change his body position. He doesn't tense up. His breathing and blinking don't visibly change.
What would happen if you didn't change these things in things you currently perceive to be pressure situations? Would you perform better?
If you're curious to find out, I invite you to try out the following:
1) Imagine watching a movie of yourself in this 'pressure situation'. What does your performance look like from the outside?
2) Imagine substituting Mario Balotelli or some other fuckless individual in that same situation. How do they act differently?
3) Now imagine flaring into Mario's body so you experience that situation as him. How does that feel?
4) When you can fully experience that experience as Mario, begin to look down at your Mario body and slowly notice it transforming into yours only as quickly as you can fully keep hold of that Mario feeling and response.
5) After repeating this process a few times, notice how you respond next time in that same situation.
'Big' moments and 'pressure' situations are only that way if you make them that way.
You only need to look at someone like Mario to know that.
Arton "Becoming Mario" Baleci
P.S. here's a picture of Ballotelli with his camouflage Bentley and matching onesie again not giving a fuck. Just because.