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How to Overcome Sports Nervousness

Things such as increased heart rate, shaky hands and stomach upset can strike you right before you participate in a sporting event. It’s what you’re thinking about that causes your body to react.

The more you think about stumbling, failing or losing, the more physical effects you will experience. The more physical effects you experience, the more nervous you will become. If you learn how to focus your attention on being calm and in control before each event, the physical effects of nervousness will diminish considerably.


4 Steps to Overcome Sports Nervousness

Sports Nervousness

1. Focus on how you’re going to perform the processes of the sport — not on the outcome.

For instance, if you’re competing in a track competition, focus on how to pace yourself during the race so that you can do your very best. Don’t focus on winning or worry about losing; when you do so, nervousness may strike.


2. Breathe so that you get enough oxygen into your lungs.

Take deep breaths as needed, especially if you start to feel anxiety. The deep breaths can help you relax and focus.


3. Repeat silently to yourself a cue word or phrase such as “relax” if you start to feel your body tensing or your stomach becoming upset.

This will help you regain your focus.


4. Bounce up and down on the balls of your feet or jog in place to release some of the nervous tension and then clap your hands right before you go into the competition.

The clap can become a signal to focus on the process, not the nervousness, according to information in the article “Nervous is Normal: Tips to Help Our Athletes Overcome” by David Jacobson of the Positive Coaching Alliance.


Tips and Warnings

  • In your down time, write ways that you can handle problems that may occur while you are competing. For instance, if you slip and fall, you can get up and give it your best effort without focusing on the end result.
  • Never focus on the feelings of nervousness or anxiety when they begin to occur or you may end up making the situation worse. Silently repeat your cue word or phrase in your mind to calm yourself and regain your focus.


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