How Athletes Deal With Anxiety: Part 1

To get more insight on how athletes can deal with anxiety click HERE to get a copy of my ebook!

2018 IWF World Championships

When to use Sport Psychology?

Sport Psychology is useful when you are struggling in sport and life. However, it is just as useful when you are on top of your game.

A lot of athletes put stress on themselves on a daily basis or on the competition day due to their inner narratives, also known as self-talk or what you say to yourself in your mind.

How do you deal with anxiety? You get top athletes that give their best daily in the gym and they have the want and the drive to be on top but what stops them from performing their best on competition day?

Anxiety is a brutal force that takes away from your potential. Why put in hours, days, weeks, years into something to let anxiety on game day take it away from you?

There are so many athletes that suffer from anxiety and coaches do not always know how to deal with it. The first thing they think is the individual doesn’t have what it takes to be a top athlete. Instead, if the coach understood what is really going on with the athlete and actually try and tackle the root problem and work on the athlete’s anxiety in competition, it could be a massive breakthrough not just for the athlete and their performance, but also a trust bond forms between the athlete and coach where the athlete actually feels the coach is there for their wellbeing.

Not all coaches can do this. If you can’t do this, then help the athlete to see someone and help them deal with this problem. You might just get yourself a gem that was hidden away. The thing about coaching is that not all coaches get is asking for help doesn’t take away from your credibility. Instead it shows you want to get the best out of your athlete by reaching out to experts in their field. Yes, experts in a specific field means that person knows best with regards to that specific topic or situation. You get way too many coaches who want to play the expert in everything and by doing so you actually take away from what your actual strength is. Do what is right for your athlete and try get them to the top with a great team behind them and by having this, you can focus on your task at hand as the coach and you can make sure the job you do is a quality job.

Getting back to anxiety athletes face, there are a lot of ways you can solve the problem but you need to start somewhere. Figure out what exactly makes you nervous. A lot of times it is the competition setting and putting way too much pressure on yourself instead of taking a deep breath, focusing on why you are there and believe that you have put the work in and you are ready.

Here is what happens to an athlete that experiences way to much anxiety. Ultimately performance decreases. Some athletes need to get their arousal levels up in order for them to perform at an optimal level, others need to be brought down and be more relaxed. This comes from knowing yourself as an athlete and knowing what makes you perform best.

Arousal level graph- When athletes get too psyched up

The athlete and the coach needs to be on the same page with regards to how to get the best out of the athlete. When there is a disconnect and the coach does not know what makes the athlete tick, it can have an adverse effect and can ultimately take away from what the athlete can actually do whilst reaching their full potential.

In my next article I will be covering ways athletes can cope with anxiety and how these ways can increase performance.

For those coaches and athletes who want to explore their athletes or themselves better and want to get the best out of their performance, I now sell a practical Mental Skills ebook on my website. Any questions regarding my ebook can email me or I can help guide you through the ebook once purchased for best results.

Follow my journey @powerfulpretorius

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