5 Things You Can Do to Turn Your Pre-Competition Nerves into Positive Energy
Picture this: You are 10 minutes away from an important game, and you feel like you can’t think clearly. You feel physical symptoms, your stomach feels like it’s tied in a knot and you can feel your heart pounding. You are worried that you might be getting too anxious, which makes you spiral even further! What can you do?
Every athlete has encountered pre-competition nerves. In some cases, the anxiety can be performance-crushing and affects an athlete’s focus and ability to perform at their peak. This blog will help you discover 5 simple things you can do to channel those nerves into positive energy in order to play at your full potential.
1. Focus on the process instead of the outcome: When your self-confidence is attached to the efforts you put in applying yourself, rather than in the actual outcome, then the process itself becomes exciting and rewarding, regardless of whether or not you succeed. Setting goals can be useful, but obsessively dreaming up accomplishments will push you away from the immediate reality of the field or court you are competing in. Focusing on the process will help you feel present in the moment and more engaged in the task, which will make it easier for you to perform at your full ability. In other words, center your habits and mindset around making progress rather than skipping steps to reach your goals!
2. Try a few relaxation techniques: If you are feeling nervous before a game, it is important to be able to bring yourself back into the present moment. An easy way to do this is to try a few relaxation techniques, like focusing your attention on breathing, clearing your mind, and removing tension from your body. The Harvard Medical School has confirmed that deep breathing can slow the heartbeat and stabilize blood pressure. Try closing your eyes and taking 5 to 10 deep breaths.
3. Warm up properly: By warming up your muscles and getting into the mindset of playing, you are more likely to feel prepared when you reach the field. In turn, if you’re feeling prepared, you’re also more likely to feel confident and reassured, which definitely helps in calming your nerves.
4. Focus your mind on something else: Instead of worrying so much about what could go wrong, take a step back and talk to your teammates, listen to some music, and observe your surroundings. This will help you loosen up and distract yourself from negative thoughts
5. Remind yourself why you are competing: Whether you want to get a good workout, be on a team, or love winning, we play sports for a variety of reasons. However, we often tend to forget that we play sports because it's fun. This is the right time to enjoy yourself and display what you have been working so hard to attain. Remind yourself why you are competing, and why you’re so passionate about the sport you’re in. Embrace what you do!
Now, try this for yourself! Next time you feel nerves starting to kick in before a big event, follow one of these steps to channel your pre-game nerves into determination and self-control.
"Avoiding Mental Sabotage: How to Channel Pre-Race Anxiety ...." https://www.trainingpeaks.com/blog/avoiding-mental-sabotage-part-4-channel-pre-race-anxiety/. Accessed 27 Mar. 2021.
"Relaxation techniques: Breath control helps quell ... - Harvard Health." 6 Jul. 2020, https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/relaxation-techniques-breath-control-helps-quell-errant-stress-response. Accessed 27 Mar. 2021.