Nerves are a pretty common experience prior to a big race or competition. They’re not a bad thing as nerves get your adrenaline pumping and raring to go. However, they can sometimes get the better of you and your performance suffers as a result. If you’ve suffered from nerves and find they impact you negatively, we hope these tips will help you keep them under control and use them as a force for good.
#1 Relaxation techniques
Relaxation techniques are something to practice in the weeks leading up to the event. Used correctly, relaxation will help you feel more confident and less anxious because your shift your mindset from one of dread to one of excitement.
There’s a tonne of relaxation tips online, but they can include listening to calming music or a podcast, reading a book meditating or simply sitting peacefully not doing anything. They just need to help your mind switch off, clearing out any negative emotions or thoughts.
In the weeks leading up to a big race, sometimes all you can about is race day. No matter how hard you try to block it out, you can’t escape it and the nerves begin to tighten their grip.
In this instance, try to detach yourself from the event by doing other activities to distract your mind. For example, meeting up with friends, going for a coffee, keeping busy at work or planning a new project. Distracting the mind with other things will help you avoid unnecessary (and unhelpful) overthinking.
#3 Respect and acknowledge your thoughts
Having the ability to accept your feelings and emotions is key in dealing with – and overcoming – them. Being able to control these thoughts is a really important skill to have as an athlete.
Our minds are incredibly powerful and if we train them well they can be a huge asset for optimal performance on race day. Visualising how you want a race to pan out and rehearsing every detail can really comfort the mind and increase confidence in your ability. Being able to visualise yourself achieving your goals and the race going perfectly can help remove anxious thoughts or elements of doubt and what could go wrong.