I get really nervous before the game, what’s wrong with me?
By: Mike Margolies, MA, CMT®
Is this you? Do you get so nervous prior to a game that your performance is negatively impacted? I hear this a lot from the athletes I’ve helped over the last 35 years. It is the most common complaint I get along with a lack of confidence. So if this is you, what happens next is the key to what kind of performance you are going to have. Before I get to that next step, let’s take a quick look at what you may be experiencing.
What are you feeling physically? Do you have any of these things going on?
- Tight muscles
- Harder to breathe
- Nausea or nervous stomach
- Rapid pulse
There could be others and it could be a combination of these things. How about mentally? Experiencing any of these?
- Loss of focus
- Racing thoughts
- Crisis of Confidence
- Feeling of impending disaster
All of these symptoms (feelings) point to your being nervous or anxious. Let me allow you in on a little secret. Almost every athlete from a youth player to a world champion has these feelings from time to time before competing. They are just signs that something is about to happen. How you interpret these feelings or symptoms and what you do next make all the difference in the world about what happens next.
Mentally tough athletes know this when experiencing any of these feelings. They will often think, now I know I’m excited and ready to play. They realize if they are too excited that they have the skills to refocus themselves. This is one of the most important lessons an athlete learns from a Certified Mental Trainer®. How to become aware of thought and feelings and put them in the correct perspective.
Some athletes who are focused on what the symptoms mean start to think something like this. I’m so tight how am I ever going to perform well? I may throw-up the first time I touch the ball. I hope nobody sees me hit the ball out of bounds, but my shoulders are so tight I know I’m going to block it.
There is a story about Hall of Fame Basketball legend Bill Russell. He has said that he used to throw-up prior to every game. Instead of thinking, oh my, I’m going to have a bad game, he thought, Now I am ready to play, let’s go take it to them. Just a different way of looking at the situation.
You see, it is how we talk to ourselves about these feelings and our awareness of the events that determine our success or failure well before the beginning of play. What if you could learn to become aware of these thoughts and change your thought patterns about these things? It makes all of the difference in the world. A good mental trainer can help you learn these skill. Why not start today and begin to have better performances and be happier with your performance? Find a mental trainer who will help you learn these skills faster. Learn these skills, because that is what they are, and a good mental trainer will help you get there faster. Why not start today?
Take the mental toughness assessment by clicking on the following link. http://www.mentaltraininginc.com/mental-toughness.php