Is performance anxiety getting the best of you? Are you overwhelmed with panic at the thought of competing in front of others? Do your limbs become a bundle of nerves and your stomach a knot of butterflies come game time? We know the feeling. And we’re here to help! In this new three-part series, we’re sharing our best tips to help you navigate those meddlesome feelings of self-doubt and fear, and reduce your anxiety when you’re under pressure.
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Here’s our 1st tip…
Tip #1: Focus On What You Can Control
Imagine you’re standing at the free-throw line, palms sweaty under a blinking scoreboard of 65-65. All eyes on you as the game-winning point rests on your next shot. Feeling anxious? In these situations, more often than not, our brains immediately seize on the “what if’s” of the scenario and zero-in on variables outside our control. This leads to nerves, panic, agitation, stress and tension—ultimately interfering with the quality of your performance.
Next time you find yourself at the free-throw line, or preparing for any high-pressure performance, try this exercise:
Create a list of all the elements about your performance that are within your control. List things like the amount of effort you’ve put into preparing/training, your attitude, mindset and perspective, your skills, etc.
Create a list of all the elements that are out of your control. These might include skill level of the opponent, the weather, quality of the field/facility, decisions of your coaching staff, etc.
- Your effort
- How you manage the uncontrollables!
- What you focus on
- Skill level of the opponent
- Coaching decisions
- Order of the line-up
Take a moment to focus on what you can control, instead of what you can’t. Doing this will help reduce performance anxiety so that you can kick, pitch, bat, swing, bike, shoot, dive, sing, act, drum, and perform at your best. Next time you feel nervous before a competition, practice shifting your focus to the CONTROLLABLES and letting go of the uncontrollables!