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Posted in: General

Nervous or not? How do you help athlete's overcome being nervous before a game?

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  • pippaglen

    It's not very often I get to spend some time with my family, I suppose most of you would agree that when your a coach this quite often happens. 

    Sunday in Nottinghamshire was a a dry and drizzly day just right for Grass Track racing.  My partners first grass track race in 15 years. Before he left to get the car he said I have a plan once they say go I will stay at the back then drive really fast and win the race,  I know nothing about motor sports so just agreed, I missed his first 2 races but managed to get to see his last race.   

    My partner had told me he was rather nervous about the race,  when I did manage to get to see him his hands were shaking, he was looking very anxious, nervous and worried.  He lost the first two races but wasn't bothered,  I told him it's been years since you last raced things have changed,  you are racing a different car against people you don't know.  Just go with the flow and get a feel for the car and track and most of all enjoy and have fun. 

    He didn't win this race however he enjoyed the race and can't wait for the next meeting.  

    Have you ever been nervous, anxious worried before a race?  

    How do you deal with this?

    Have your athletes been nervous, anxious or worried before a race?

    How have you as a coach helped your athletes overcome this? 

    What advice have you given your athletes?.

  • shootcoach

    Hi Emma

    That's not an easy question to answer as everyone, every sport, and every event is different. In my sport of clay target shooting I need to relax the athlete but at the same time keep them sharp, not an easy mixture.

    We practice lowering the heart rate using various exercises and controlling the breathing. We make sure that the preparation for the event is perfect as last minnute panics only add to the anxiety.

    We also do a considerable ammount of visualisation prior to the event. This helps the mind tell us that it has been here before and there is nothing to worry about. If you can get him to try visualisation get him to visualise  the venue, driving the perfect race and then winning it.

  • pippaglen

    Hi David,  It's not an easy question to answer, however it's good to get others ideas, experiences and techniques that maybe could used or tweek to suite.

    Love the idea you use relaxation to help your athlete's.  unsure if it's relaxing or pumping up to race,  I'm sure next year when I'm racing I will have the same problem. 


  • MatteJHart

    We have been working with a sport psychologist at my gymnastics club this year. She has been fantastic at introducing different strategies for the coaches to work on with their gymnasts in the gym. The end goal is to be able to have some well rehearsed strategies that can be put into a pre-performance routine on the day of competition.

    We are working on strengthening the gymnasts' ability to visualise their routines. This takes time as they are young. We are also developing cue words to focus their attention very specifically. If we can get gymnasts to visualise their routines and focus on pre-selected and rehearsed cue words they can go through their routines while they wait to perform.

    I think nerves often grow from the absence of focusing on something relevant. We are hoping to train our gymnasts into good habits where they focus on the work in hand at those key moments and stay in the relevent present, rather than worrying about external factors or outcomes on the competition day that they cannot control.

  • hi Emma. I'm new to the forum, and came across your interesting post. As an NLP Master Practitioner, I know how effective it can be in dealing with nerves and impriving performance. I see massive changes as I'm coaching riders.

  • pippaglen

    It's a hard one. My partner again was racing  this last weekend he said he was frightened as it was only his second race,  I put my coaching hat on, watched took video of the race,  whilst sat watching other more experienced racers I noticed those more experienced drivers had ways of getting around the track,  I played back the video and gave him advice,  he went back out on his second race and came back with a smile and said wow that was better I didn't feel as nervous this time. 

    Results,  now to make him  little faster. 😀 

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