In the modern world, terms like stress and anxiety have become a synonym to dread, poor health and a bad prognosis. Stress is a way of the body to handle its natural environment. People experience it in varying degrees and handle it in different ways. What happens when the feeling of being pumped up or under an adrenaline rush is part of your job? This is what athletes have learned to deal with. How do you use the edge that adrenaline gives you and handle the pressure from competition without sacrificing your health? Athletes learn this throughout their careers and have valuable insights for all of us.
Managing Performance Anxiety
Any type of performer, whether it is an athlete or an artist, has to first overcome any degree of anxiety when it comes to presenting themselves. This type of anxiety can affect the performance on the field if it is not tackled. The great focus of sport psychology is to release any negative thought patterns centered around performances and eliminate the expectation of negative outcomes.
Working Around Anxiety Triggers
Athletes with more experience are better equipped to handle anxiety triggers than younger athletes. For those that are just starting out, it is important to be prepared in situations when anxiety can be triggered. The first one is performing alone. Athletes who are in a team feel more confident and supported by their team members than someone who has to go alone in the field. These types of sports require additional psychological preparation and boost in confidence. The second one is performing outside of one’s own town, country or continent. Performing at home is easier for athletes because there is a sense of familiarity with the field and people on the rows. When performing outside your own parameters, you have to be prepared to keep stable and confident no matter where you have to play. Younger athletes are encouraged to bring their own fans or relatives to foreign games to feel a greater sense of support.
Be Well Prepared
Thorough preparation before a game boosts confidence and lowers anxiety when the big day of the game comes. Athletes have to make sure that they feel confident with the amount of training and practice that they put forth before each game.
Feel the Team Spirit
Competition is not healthy when it is aggressive and extreme. While a competitive edge gives you the incentive to win, always stick to the feeling of a team spirit, and acknowledging the role that the competition plays in your improvement and perfection as an athlete. Befriending the competition is also a good way to end a game in a positive manner and with greater ambition despite who won or lost.
Use Anxiety to Your Own Advantage
Whatever type of competition you are entering, the mindset that you have toward anxiety and how you use it makes it a positive or negative influence for you. Let the anxiety become excitement for you, and back it up with positive thinking patterns and expectations for yourself. Of course, always remember to have fun whatever happens.