Jacob Spinks. Provisional Psychologist
Playing junior sport at an elite level can bring about feelings of performance anxiety, stress and nervousness. The journey can be challenging and sometimes overwhelming, and although it's normal to feel anxious and nervous before a big game, children do not have to experience these feelings alone.
Excessive anxiety can hinder your performance and affect your overall quality of life.
One of the most important things to remember is that you're not alone in this journey. Many athletes face similar challenges and feelings.
Here are some ways to manage these feelings in the lead up to a big game:
Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and visualisation. These techniques can help you reduce anxiety levels and feel more calm and focused before a big game.
Challenging negative thoughts is another helpful strategy to improve mental well-being. Negative thoughts can fuel anxiety and self-doubt, which can hinder your performance. Learning to challenge these thoughts and replace them with positive affirmations can help you feel more confident and focused.
Seeking support from a trusted friend, coach, or psychologist can also make a significant difference in managing anxiety. These individuals can provide you with strategies and techniques to help manage your symptoms and provide you with the support you need.
Building resilience is another important strategy to cope with the challenges that playing sport can bring. Resilience involves developing the skills and mindset to overcome setbacks and challenges. This can help you cope with the ups and downs of elite sports and reduce your anxiety levels.
Lastly, taking care of your physical health can also help reduce anxiety. Eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and engaging in regular physical activity can help you maintain a healthy balance and feel your best.
Remember, it's not just about achieving your goals, but also enjoying the journey.
If you're struggling with anxiety, please don't hesitate to reach out for help.