How to Use Pregame “Nerves” to your Advantage
Many athletes have misconceptions about the effects of pregame “nerves” before competition sport.
*Misconception 1: Elite athletes are NEVER nervous.
*Misconception 2: It’s the total lack of nerves that cause elite athletes to be successful.
*Misconception 3: Elite athletes are born with the capacity to remain 100 percent calm even in the most stressful competitive circumstances.
These misconceptions are erroneous beliefs that affect an athlete’s preparation, effort and focus, ultimately, holding them back from achieving their potential in their sport.
Let’s take some time to examine how these misconceptions impede performance…
- If you believe some athletes never get nervous, you might think there is something wrong with you when you get nervous in competition. This type of thought process could cause your nerves to spiral out of control before or during a competition.
- If you equate a lack of nerves with success, you might feel athletic success is impossible for you. When you believe success is not possible with nerves, you will put less time and effort in practice and training sessions.
- If you buy into the idea that elite athletes are genetically immune to nerves, you will feel helpless to manage your nerves and therefore feel hopeless in competitions when under pressure.
The truth is… ALL athletes experience some degree of nerves, stress, or added adrenaline. Adrenaline and intensity helps you compete at a high level. Anxiety and worry can cripple you mentally.
Elite athletes are successful because they put in the work. Elite athletes dedicate a lot of time developing their physical and mental games and it is that preparation that helps them succeed.
Elite athletes know how to manage pregame jitters or move themselves into an ideal range of intensity where they perform their best.
If you want to perform at your peak, a little bit of nerves is just what you need–as long as you are not “nervous.”
Managing nerves helped Virgil van Dijk, defenseman for Liverpool of the Premier League, earn PFA Player of the Year honors.
VAN DIJK: “I don’t know what it is. It’s just something I’ve learned over the years and it’s something I’m very happy about. If you’re nervous you think: ‘I don’t want to make mistakes or give the ball away.’ But you limit your own qualities then. Over the years, I’ve developed the mindset that there are many more important things in life.”
Van Dijk uses this to his advantage helping him play at his peak during soccer matches.
VAN DIJK: “It’s more excitement than nerves these days. Even before the Champions League final last year [against Real Madrid]… I was very relaxed. I was like: ‘Let’s go, let’s do this.’”
By learning how to harness your pregame jitters and not turn it into anxiety, you can perform at your peak on a more consistent basis.
Using the Adrenaline and Intensity to your Advantage:
Embrace pre-competition jitters as helpful to your performance as they can help you focus and give extra energy when in competition.
Avoid turning pregame jitters in to anxiety before competition. Note that feeling pumped up and excited can feel the same as nervous.
As Ken Ravizza would say: “Get the butterflies to fly in formation and use them to your advantage!”
Understand that “pressure is a privilege” as tennis great Billy Jean King would convey to other athletes.
Improve Mental Preparation in Sports!
If you’re an athlete who is frequently tight, tense, anxious, or wants to learn more about how to relax better under pressure, The Relaxed Athlete is for you!
Confidence and the ability to relax under adversity is what championship athletes do best.
It only takes one tense moment for you to lose a critical point, miss a putt, or lose a second off your lap time. You cannot afford to let distractions run wild in your mind and cause you to make errors at critical times in the game!
The Relaxed Athlete is a complete system to teach you how to relax like a champion and harness the power of relaxation every time you step on the playing field, court, track or course in practice and games!
This workbook and CD program consists of 2 audio CDs that include 14 days of focus boosting exercises and a simple to follow workbook that guides you through each of the 14 days, helps you apply strategies, and customizes the exercises to your personal focus challenges.
- How to quickly identify distractions that sabotage your concentration and how to quickly refocus after distractions.
- How to use pre-shot routines before shots or serves to help you be more task-focused instead of worrying about results.
- How to use pregame routines to help you harness the power of zone concentration before competition.
Learn more about one of our most popular CD programs in The Confident Athlete Series…
What are customers saying about our mental game programs?
“I first purchased
‘The Confident Athlete’ to see how the program went and immediately saw
results. I then purchased the rest of the Confident Athlete Series and
have noticed a dramatic improvement in my level of play or should I say
consistency. I currently play NCAA Division 1 baseball for Lamar
University, and even my coaches have noticed a change in the way that I
approach the game. My attitude and confidence at the plate. I am able to
get into that zone were I am able to narrow my focus on to the task at
hand. Thank you for helping in my continuing goal to mental toughness.”*
“By far, The Confident Athlete Series is the most powerful tool I’ve used to perform my best. The simple and easy to use program has helped me take my game to the next level.” *
~Shaun Burrell, professional surfer
*Testimonials found on this site are examples of what we have done for other clients, and what some of our clients have said about us. However, we cannot guarantee the results in any case. Your results may vary and every situation is different. No compensation was provided for these testimonials.