I’m Coach Briley Casanova and today I want to talk to you about 5 ways to cope with pre-performance anxiety.
Whether you’re an athlete, student, working professional or someone with a hobby that means a lot to you, all of us will experience or have experienced a level of performance anxiety to some degree.
What dealing with pre-performance anxiety is really all about is not trying to avoid the anxiety
altogether. It’s about knowing what to do when it happens.
While there are things we can do to lessen the frequency of experiencing it, I’d rather know what to do when it happens in addition to preventing it from happening.
5 Ways to Cope With Pre-Performance Anxiety:
Tip #1: Take a deep breath.
Relax. One breathing technique I like to share with my athletes is easy to remember with the number 4: breath in through your nose for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, exhale through your mouth for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds. Do this 4 times total. This will equate to 64 seconds of pure breathing. During all 64 seconds of breathing, focus on simply counting each breath. This should be the only thing you focus on.
We can all set aside 64 seconds of our day prior to a performance to reset, relax and refocus. Breathing is one of the best tools to help you calm down your pre-performance anxiety.
Tip #2: Remember your goals.
Another way to cope with pre-performance anxiety is to focus on each task and action step at hand. Only you know what goals you have and what it takes to get there. Remember all of the steps you have taken leading up to your performance in front of you.
Have you put in the time, effort, energy and attention needed to get here? If you can answer yes to that, then that’s all you should remind yourself of in that moment. If you need help along the way in terms of setting goals, ask for it. The coaches here at PerformHappy are eager to help you set goals and create action steps for those goals if you need assistance.
In the meantime, up until the moment of performance, remember all of your previous accomplishments, strengths and goals that got you to that moment. Keep a list of your goals, accomplishments and reasons why you’re ready to perform on hand for moments of doubt and anxiety! Fill your head with all of the good things you have done.
Tip #3: Ask yourself: What’s important now?
Think of the acronym: W.I.N. = What’s Important Now. Coming back to the present moment is your best friend in moments of fear, overthinking, doubt and anxiety.
Another question you can ask yourself is “Where are my feet?” Your feet are usually right beneath you, physically supporting you and are what you have immediate control over. They take you where you want to physically go.
Finding a constant thing to bring yourself back to when feeling anxious or overwhelmed is a great way to reset your brain to staying in the present moment and being prepared for your next competition/performance.
Tip #4: Feel the anxious feeling and then let it go.
Have a bounce back routine ready for moments when pre-performance anxiety creeps in. For example, maybe your bounce back routine is as simple as taking a sip of water and resetting yourself to come back to the task at hand. If you have a journal with you, write down what’s making you worried and then rip the page out of the
journal and physically throw it away.
Find a way to feel the anxious energy and then release it. Heck, you can write down your worries on a piece of toilet paper and flush them down the toilet, if you want to make it more fun! Walk a lap around the arena, sing a verse of your favorite song, repeat your favorite affirmation, there are so many options to choose from.
No matter what bounce back technique you choose, find what works for you. Another favorite technique of mine is adjusting my ponytail/hair style once and then getting back to whatever task is next. Either way, have a bounce back routine ready to go for moments of anxiety.
Tip #5: It’s all about mindset and interpretation of pre-performance anxiety
Are you going to see fear/anxiety as a bad thing and something that should be avoided? Or are you approaching it as the trigger that tells you “Feeling this anxiety means I’m ready to go and my body is saying that it’s go time! It means I care a lot about my performance!”
Which mindset will you choose? In the end, pre-performance anxiety is up to your interpretation of its value.
I hope these bullet points give you some ideas on how to prepare for pre-performance anxiety. Please feel free to reach out to me directly if you have any feedback or questions about this post. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Happy training! And remember to download the Sport Confidence Roadmap below.