Do You Get Pregame Jitters?
Are you scared when you step on the court?
Do you fear making a mistake? Or being judged by others? Or being embarrassed if you mess up?
I had a teammate one year in college that got so nervous and anxious right before a game that she would throw up…
In the game, you could tell she was hesitant and playing with fear. This teammate did a lot of good things when she stepped on the floor, but the fear she portrayed on the court was holding her back.
After one game, I asked her what was going on, why she threw up before each game, and why she seemed to play with so much fear.
She told me she wanted to be respected and acknowledged like her sister had been. My teammate’s sister went to our college a few years earlier and held some records statistically for the school.
She told me that as soon as she committed she felt this enormous amount of pressure.
The expectations she had for herself and ones she thought others had for her were through the roof. She felt she had to follow in her sister’s footsteps and “live up” to her performance.
Even though my teammate and her sister played different positions, she believed she needed to match and even exceed records held by her sister.
She told me that each game mattered significantly to her statistically and she felt she had to be perfect while on the floor.
The pressure my teammate placed on herself was detrimental to her game. She had extremely high, strict expectations and she feared making mistakes because “each touch mattered statistically.”
People knew her sister and the way she played, and she thought everyone wanted her to be like her sister. She wanted to be like her sister.
My teammate felt judged each time she walked on the court. She needed others to see her the way she believed they viewed her sister.
As a result, this player struggled to play her game, let alone, her sister’s game.
Pregame jitters are normal.
Many volleyball players get them right before a match and they typically go away after warm-ups or the first couple of points in the first set.
Pregame jitters, or nerves can be beneficial to your game… if you perceive it that way.
They can get you pumped up and ready to play. You actually perform your best when you’re excited!
When you view pregame jitters as advantageous, they’ll be useful to your game.
If you continue to have “jitters,” or be fearful and anxious through an entire match, then you may have added pressure.
You might step onto the court with high expectations, scared to make a mistake, or thinking too much about the outcome and statistics.
One of the first strategies in overcoming this fear when you take the court is to leave your expectations in the locker room.
When you bench your expectations, you’re less judgmental of your performance.
The fastest way to improve your mental game is with personal mental coaching.
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Boost Your Self-Confidence With Expert Mental Game Coaching!
Expert mental game coach Dr. Megan Melchiorre can help you overcome your volleyball mental game issues with personal coaching.
You can work with Dr. Megan Melchiorre herself in Orlando, Florida or via Skype, FaceTime, or telephone. Call us toll free at 888-742-7225 or contact us for more information about the different coaching programs we offer!
Dr. Megan Melchiorre is a mental game coach specializing in volleyball and is the newest member of the Peak Performance Team. She competed collegiality in volleyball and coaches club volleyball teams.
You can learn more about our mental coaching programs for volleyball players here.