Category: Performance Anxiety

We’ve all had it, that niggling voice that discourages us before or during competition.  Self-talk is our inner narrator, and when it directs our attention to destructive thoughts or feelings, it can deep-six our performance levels.  Thankfully, mindfulness training teaches us an easy way to strip power from this kind of talk, and separate ourselves from its consequences. Mindfulness teaches us to shift away our attention away from analysis or judgement, and toward observation and acceptance.  An analytical mind evaluates and reacts.  It examines the past, it anticipates the future.  It worries and it avoids.  The observing mindset merely notices and accepts.  It doesn’t get hooked by negativity or try to change it, it neutralizes it by letting it pass by, like a leaf in a stream. “I’m not good enough,” is a prototypical example of negative self-talk and, like nearly all negative self-talk, it’s analytical.  It’s an assessment of our value and, left to its o...
There are butterflies in your stomach and you feel weightless. Weak.  Your legs feel numb and you don’t feel like moving. Your hands sweat and you give up on wiping them off on your jersey. Your heart races. Your muscles tighten.  You start to wonder about what is going on and if it will ever stop. Your focus is off the road and you have already forgotten the game plan.   Extremely uncomfortable right? Now, what if I told you that you could be the best player on the team not despite these feelings, but because of them?  What if I told you that they could affect your play in a positive way? Would you take them? Would you elect to have all of these symptoms in order to be the best on your team? The best in your conference? According to social and sport psychologist Yuri Hanin (2010), research actually shows that functionally high anxiety, especially in top-level sport, is beneficial for athletic perfo...
Unfortunately, injuries are part of being an athlete and will likely affect the majority of those who participate in organized sports. Sometimes, enduring an injury can sideline you for a few days. Other times, it can take you away from the game for months or even a full season. When athletes are cleared, they are physiologically cleared, meaning they are allowed to go back to full contact and no restrictions because the injury is healed. On the other hand, psychologically speaking, the athlete may not be ready to return. Athletes are typically eager to get back into their sport after an injury. However, when they are finally able to participate again, the feeling isn’t quite the same. When performance isn’t familiar upon return, athletes may be discouraged and upset, which may lead to aggravation and loss of passion for the game. This could lead to depression and anxiety.    In the past, the psychol...