Using Positive Key Words to Overcome Nerves
It can be so easy to think negatively going into a game, during a game, or even after a game…
You may be scheduled to play against the team with the top outside in your conference, or you may have shanked two serve-receive passes in a row, or even missed the game point serve in a tiebreaker…
With situations like this, negative thoughts can appear quickly and easily, such as:
- “I hope she doesn’t hit it to me.”
- “I suck at serve-receive.”
- “I can’t believe I missed that serve, how could I let my team down?”
Like most athletes, volleyball players can talk themselves into victory or defeat.
I grew up with volleyball standout, Megan Hodge… After high school, Megan took her talents to Penn State, where her team won several National Championships and she earned countless awards and recognition…
However, some of those include multi-year NCAA Championship Most Outstanding Player, First-Team All-American, and Big Ten Player of the Year.
Megan continued in her success and went on to play professionally after college, earning numerous World Championship Medals, along with a Silver Medal in the 2012 Olympics.
We were crosstown rivals in high school and her dominance always made it a struggle to compete against. I was a fairly skilled player myself, but I would get nervous and anxious playing across the net from Megan.
Sophomore year, my team was down 0-2 going into the third set, in their house. I was also an outside and my setter at the time pulled me over as we walked onto the court for a line-up check.
She told me, “You hit just as hard as Megan. You can do this. Tell yourself you can score each attack.” While I don’t think my swing was as powerful as Megan’s, I knew I could score.
I continued to repeat those positive key phrases to myself through the rest of the match. My team ended up winning the next two sets and the 5th set, in which I was unstoppable.
Once the game had ended, my coach came up to me and said,
“You were on fire. I knew you were going to score each time you got set, and I think you did too. You were fist pumping in the air before you even landed.”
Having CONFIDENT thoughts going into a game and during a match can greatly impact your performance.
You want to write down a few positive words or phrases that resonate with you–ones you can steadily repeat before and during a match. Something like, “You got this,” “Next ball,” “You’re a great hitter,” or, “Reset.”
Also, practice using these positive words during practice time, so that on game day it comes more easily. As I mentioned earlier, you can talk yourself into victory or defeat.
What words are you going to use?
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 starting in office May, 2018. She competed collegiality in volleyball and coaches club volleyball teams.
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