"My philosophy is to not be scared of anyone. If I play well, great; if I don't, I learn from th ematch and move on."
- Saina Nehwal
Emotions can cause athletes to focus on uncontrollables or distractions in competition. As a result, they lose confidence.
If you get emotional before competition, here are some helpful hints for staying confident:
1. Define it, feel it, own it, i.e., “I’m scared because my opponent looks so skilled and athletic.”
2. Take some deep breaths. I find that breathing in big for 4 seconds, holding for 4 seconds, and breathing out for 4 seconds is extremely helpful. It’s like setting the reset button on a video game.
3. Value the hard work you put in to prepare for competition and credit your past successes, i.e., “I’ve worked hard on my serves and when I focus on my game I play well!”
4. Remind yourself of your game plan, the goals and strategies you set for competition, and stick to them. This can be as simple as saying, “Keep my feet active, be aggressive, and focus on my side of the net.”
5. Short term memory, be like a goldfish in relation to your emotions. Celebrate successes and embrace your failures for a quick moment, then move on.
6. Physical action, do something like dance around to remind yourself to stay loose between points (in sports like tennis or badminton). Or, if you play a sport like basketball, where there is constant action, hustle back on defense (reminder to keep hustling) and brush your shoulder (reminder to brush off the mistake).
7. Reflect afterwards. Think about and own your successes and failures, then create a plan for the next practice. Be prepared to work on things that didn’t go well in competition.
To sum it up, address the emotion, reset, stick to your plan, focus on the things that help you perform your best and make you feel confident, and afterwards, reflect.
For more information or if you want us to help you personalize your competition plan, contact us!