3 Ways Athletes Can Handle Performance Anxiety

3 Ways Athletes Can Handle Performance Anxiety

Performance anxiety Is another aspect of sports that an athlete can train to reduce the effects on their performance.

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.


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Cheerleading is more than pom-poms and megaphones.

One of the most common debates is whether or not cheerleading is a sport. While I do agree that cheerleading was not intended to be a sport when it was first invented, all-star cheerleading is extremely athletic.

Two and a half minute routines are action-packed with stunts, tumbling, jumps, and dances. A cheerleader must perform a near perfect routine while keeping a smile on his/her face. All-star cheerleading is HUGE and it has completely changed my perspective on cheerleading. Here are eight of my personal favorite routines that are filled with skill, talent, and excitement.

1. World Cup Allstars- Shooting Stars 2015

Shooting Stars were my original dream team when I was a little girl, and they still are. Known for their original themes, Shooting Stars don’t only perform a routine; they put on a SHOW. This, world-champion, Jersey Boys themed routine never fails to give me goosebumps.

2. Stingray Allstars- Orange 2012

The Stingray Allstars are known for their extremely clean routines. I remember rooting for Orange in 2012 and being ecstatic with their performance. Six years later and this is still an iconic routine.

3. Stingray Allstars- Steel 2017

Most people were not expecting Steel to win the Cheerleading Worlds in 2017, but they pulled it off with an amazingly hit routine. Steel is such an incredible team and one of my all-time favorites. I can’t help but feel proud when I watch this routine.

4. Top Gun Allstars- TGLC 2014

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5. World Cup Allstars- Twinkles 2012

What’s amazing about the World Cup Twinkles is that they are a youth level 5 team. This means that they are aged from eight to twelve years old performing the same skills as these other teams whose athletes are up to eighteen years old. The Twinkles leave me speechless every year. However, in 2012 the team filmed a documentary “Chasing Perfection” which made me fall in love with the team even more.

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7. Brandon Allstars- Senior Black 2015

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Cover Image Credit: wikimedia

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How Can Our Generation Make An Impact On The Addicted Population?

We see good people succumb to terrible habits and addictions, but there are ways to turn it around and see things in a different light.
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The sad truth of the matter is that the younger population is the overwhelming majority of people that make up the addiction population. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the United States is facing one of the worst opioid epidemics where at least 116 people die from opioid-related drug overdoses (as of an estimation from 2016) on a daily basis.

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Strung out and listless, they may not be resilient enough to go back on the straight and narrow because of deeper issues that are still being ruminated about. So whatever the initial reason was to start out on this path of experimentation then turned into a full-blown illness that has gotten so out of control. As bystanders, we tend to marginalize the issue, toss it under the carpet, and forget that it exists.

I do not claim to be an expert on addiction. I have not spent years studying this population or have people that I know succumb to the illness, but I do know what it feels like to make a judgment call on these people. For the last several weeks, I have had the opportunity to get a glimpse of what has happened or not happened to these people. It is eye-opening, to say the least, and it made me reflect on a few things.

Mental health, in general, is something that society tends to avoid. Opening up to the people around you is difficult to begin with, but it is even harder when you do not know why you feel the way you feel.

Perspective on your life situation becomes warped and the people around you who think they know you make it easy to convince yourself that you are in the wrong. It is unresolved issues and undiagnosed mental disorders, that push people into substance abuse and we tend to not recognize it.

Those who suffer substance abuse or addictions feel that the only source of support is the substance itself. The most memorable thing I have heard from behavior group therapy is this:

[Substances] does not talk back, does not demand attention, and does not need comfort. It is just a friend that waits for you like a loyal puppy. And for a vast number of people suffering from addiction, it is a true statement. When people have failed to love and support them, substance abusers tend to go for the substance whether it be alcohol or opioids.

For those who do not suffer from addiction, we lose sight of what is important for the people who do. A first reaction to seeing someone who is suffering addiction is to take a blame game stand. "You are not trying hard enough," is a typical response for some who do not understand how addiction keeps a person captive. To the people who suffer addictions, the main focus tends to be how to get relief from the things that are uncomfortable. It does not make it easy when the people around them are not supportive.

So what should the next steps be? We are peers of many people who suffer addiction and are in a position to make a real impact. Our jobs (however difficult it may be) are to listen and recognize when someone needs help. And it starts when addiction (opioid or otherwise) is treated like an illness.

It is 10 times easier to relate to someone who is suffering from diabetes than it is to someone suffering from mental illness or addiction, which is saddening and sobering. The first step that all of us can do to put a dent in reducing the number of overdoses and deaths is to help others make the right choices for them. It is easier said than done, but it can make a world of difference in someone's life.

So if ever a friend or a family member musters the courage to admit they have a problem, it may be a good first step to turn off the judgment and lend an ear.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr
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