How to Keep Anxiety at Bay before a Competition
The biggest secret to excelling at Sports when it counts the most is mastering how to keep all that anxiety at bay. If you let yourself to get too excited or nervous right before or during a big game, you could get your muscles stiff, lose your self-confidence and worse still, performance will suffer for it! An athlete could get so anxious before a game that he/she ends up performing at sub-par levels despite adequate training. Most of the reasons for pre-game This is why it’s important to learn how to manage the causative factors and psychological responses that lead to anxiety.
Live in the moment
It’s a good thing for athletes to think your future. That is what a long-term goal actually means. However, when you are only a few days away from a major competition, it helps to limit your focus to the present. You’d need to stop ruminating about what hasn’t happened yet, and try to One major sure-fire way to become anxious is when you constantly allow the locus of concentration to drift back to the past or skip too far ahead into the future. To stay self-confident and poised for success in an actual game, you need to teach yourself to maintain your focus to the NOW.
You have one Job
Never allow your focus to drift to anything or anyone other than yourself (especially if you play a Sport where you are a solo competitor). Your only job is to give a stellar performance! Worrying about your opponents, who might be watching, if people would be disappointed in the outcome of the game, what your coach might be thinking, how well teammates are playing (for team-based sports), etc. will certainly make you start feeling anxious. Staying focused on yourself, and the one job you have will keep you relaxed and confident in your abilities. Also, please give your very best, and avoid mentally comparing yourself with others!
Consistency is key
It’s really straightforward to know that you need to focus on the present, but a bit difficult to do it consistently! A great way to keep your mind focused on the moment is by learning to notice whenever your focus begins to drifts from the present to the past or far ahead into the future. At these times you must quickly revert your concentration. Losing your focus like this from time to time is perfectly normal and in itself won’t make you anxious, but not realizing it and quickly bringing your mind back will.
Stop worrying about your Goals
One of the greatest anxiety-inducing habits you can make as an athlete is to constantly think of your goals in the heat of the competition. For instance, “I must win this tournament,” “We must score a goal,” “If we don’t win this, our chances are screwed” or “I must prove to coach that I’m a good athlete” Concentrating on the outcome goals instead of the processes that will help you get there will cause you to be tense while you play, ironically, preventing you from reaching them. So, stop your worrying about your goals and focus on your actions at the moment.
Worrying about the future gets most athletes into difficulty by making them anxious. Although you can’t exactly flip the ‘switch’ that automatically stops you from over-thinking, you can intentionally distract yourself from having anxious thoughts. In a couple of days leading up to a big game or competition, be sure to keep yourself busy. Avoid allowing yourself free time to over-think. You could focus on an assignment, hang out with friends, go see a movie, listen to your favorite music, etc to keep yourself occupied and distracted. This will help you stay relaxed and confident right up to the final moments leading up to your big day.
Focus on the Controllables
There are lots of variables in Sports that you have no control over. When an athlete focuses on the uncontrollable factors they tend to get anxious, causing them to lose their self-confidence and perform badly. It’s always a good idea to create a list of all the factors about a forthcoming competition that you have no control over.
For example, the crowd, playing time, your future in Sports, how well you’ll perform, whether your team will win or lose; how you are feeling that day; other people’s expectations of you, etc. You could use sticky notes to post them at visible parts of your room. Keep in mind that these are the mental traps to avoid. They are the very things causing that feeling of uncertainty. Focus instead on what you can control at the moment.
Enjoy the Game!
Playing at your personal peak levels while under pressure will require you to have fun while you’re at it! Fun is the secret recipe that helps you stay confident and be at your best even in the heat of competition. Whenever you take a sport, competition or race too important, it puts too much pressure on you mentally, and this could adversely affect the quality of your performance. The more fun you’re having, the better your game skills will be. To really excel as an athlete, you must get into the game and enjoy the competition while embracing challenges as they come!
Anxiety before a big event is something every athlete will face at some point in their careers, (Usain Bolt was so nervous at a race, he forgot to tie his own shoes LOL) but dealing with it is an absolute necessity. Most of what makes us anxious as athletes is purely psychological, so once we are able to identify the mental traps that could keep us from staying calm and collected enough to deliver our very best, the problem is already half-solved. Before an event, you can keep a positive outlook by spending some time daily to picture yourself achieving the best possible results at the coming event. You have trained hard for it, and you CAN win! Envision your thoughts and emotions during those big moments and see yourself doing well under pressure.
KHO Health was acquired by was acquire by 9INE POINT in the summer of 2019 and is now referred to as 9INE POINT Health.