Performance anxiety is a naturally occurring reaction to many athletes in both training and competition. These feelings of nervousness, anxiety, and fear interfere with performance. Many athletes learn to find a way to cope with these feelings.
Performance anxiety in sports, often linked closely to choking, is the decrease of athletic performance due to too much-perceived stress. High expectations of their won success can contribute to their anxiety. This feeling is often influenced by the way athletes interpret the situation. Meaning, the way an athlete’s self-talk describes the situation creates feelings of stress, anxiety, and fear. For the athlete, to know the feelings and the physiological reaction of performance anxiety is critical to recovery and prevention of performance anxiety.
Let’s look at three things you can do before the match, during the match, and after the match to deal with performance anxiety.
Before the match:
When you begin to experience these feelings, accept and recognize these feelings. When you avoid anxious feelings, you exhaust resources (such as your focus) quicker than your intended to. Notice these feelings, but do not focus on them.
During the match:
Focus on the task at hand rather than the outcome. Existing in the present moment is where the best performances occur, not when thinking about the outcome of the match. To help with this, focus on your breathing. That focus will pull you back into the present.\
After the match:
Review your performance and take away the positive aspects of your performance. Once you identify those actions. You can reinforce those actions and behaviors that you exhibited in order to increase the likelihood of that desired outcome.
Performance anxiety Is another aspect of sports that an athlete can train to reduce the effects on their performance.