How to help relieve competition anxieties

Photo by: Kitt Canaria

You get anxious in training thinking about the competition.

You get anxious before hard training thinking about the hard training.

You get anxious just before competition, thinking about the difficulty or duration of the competition.

You get anxious midway, thinking about the pending outcome.

You get anxious afterwards, thinking about the next event.

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I know all of these feeling well. So do you. Now ask yourself, which one of those anxieties, have anything to do with winning and losing.

The Moment

Everybody says it: “Live in the moment, be in the moment, enjoy the moment, etc.”

It has been said so many times that I think we have become immune to the statement. We hear it, we nod, we agree, we move on and forget about it. Some have thought deeply. Most have not. The problem is, it is exactly what we need.

When people focus on “The Moment”, they usually think it’s about focusing on now, without any thought of past or future. This isn’t necessarily true. The past and future play a major role in your ability to be in “The Moment.” The past and future affect your performance in “The Moment”.

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However, “The Moment” is the time in which all matters will be decided and accomplished. Things will get done, or not done, finished or not finished. It is the pivotal time when the past collides with time to move into the future. This makes “The Moment”, the most essential.

Here is how to use it in a competition:

The match is looming.

The training is over.

The event is now.

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The anxiety is at an all time high.

Negative self talk is battling against positive self talk in an epic duel.

You didn’t sleep well the night before. You may have come close to or actually vomiting your breakfast from nerves.

Now stop! Ask yourself if any of this anxiety has anything to do with winning?

You have made it to the event. Regardless of what supplements you took, how well your training went, how well you slept the night before. At this point, you are either going do it or not do it.

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A good training camp will definitely play a major role.

But, once the event starts, it means almost nothing. You could’ve had the best training, but nerves beat you.  You could’ve had terrible training and somehow pulled off a victory.

I have had some of my best matches with no training and some of my worst when I had incredible training.

The Problem

During Training Camp

  • Nervous for tomorrow’s tough session.
  • Hurt and wondering if the tournament or fight will be possible.
  • Worried that you won’t have enough time.
  • Unsure if your skills are 100%

Pre-Match

  • You are hoping training was enough.
  • Unsure if you can do it.
  • Visualizing your opponent’s strengths.

During The Match

  • Starting to feel tired. Slowing down.
  • Wondering if you can do it.
  • Dealing with pain, unsure if you are tough enough.
  • Caught off by the crowd or bad referee calls.

The Solution

Put yourself at ease. It is a lot simpler than you are making it.

The fight will come. You are going to win or lose. It may be tough. It may be easy.

Here is the deal: are you going to do it or not do it?

You are going to do it. Put it into your brain that you will finish no matter what. Even if you don’t finish or the outcome isn’t what you expected at a certain point, you have little control. All you can truly do is train your best one day at a time, eat sensibly, and sleep as well as you can. When the competition comes, go out there and be present in “The Moment”.

Realize that the past (training) has something to do with it, but at that present time, nothing to do with finishing, winning or losing.

Realize that the future (results/post match) will never be in your favor if you aren’t focused second by second and inch by inch on what you have to do.

After 19 Years

Each day I am thankful for so many reasons. Each tough training session, I look forward to the difficulty. I embrace it with little focus afterwards or before. If I allow the thought of the difficulty to creep into my head, I will not be effective in training. If I focus on the length and duration of the training, it will sap my will and energy.

I enter training with a curiosity. I go into the match with a humble acceptance of what could happen and I realize that my past helped, but now is what I need. My willingness to accept any future outcome is based upon the fact that “I don’t know” what it will be.

Will I get hurt, will I lose, will I win? Did I do enough, did I prepare, did I warm up well enough? I don’t know.

What I know is this: I am here. I am going to do it. I am going to push. I am going to accept fear, understand it and bring it with me while I crush this competition. I don’t know if I’m ready, and I don’t know if I will win.

I do know that I’m here and I’m thankful that I get to compete. I’m always going to do it, regardless of anything else. I might as well stop worrying about before and after and accept the here and now.

We could leave this earth even quicker than we arrived. Pain is fleeting, victorious feelings will be blurred and forgotten. What matters is now.

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