4 Tips To Keep Your Nerves Under Control Before A Race

Getting nervous before a race is a very common and feared reaction among athletes. Knowing how to manage these emotions is essential to avoid them putting at risk all the hours of preparation and training.
4 tips to keep your nerves under control before a race

Almost all athletes and coaches need tips to keep their nerves in check. This is because, if we don’t know how to manage it, excess anxiety and fibrillation before a race can compromise sports performance.

Nerves before a competition shouldn’t be seen as necessarily bad. It is normal for the athlete to feel nervous, which means that the sport has a special value for him or her. The problem arises when this state of fibrillation negatively interferes with performance, or when it generates doubts and negative thoughts.

There are many ways to keep the nerves in check: meditation, relaxation, distraction, routine… and all of them tend to work quite well among athletes. The key is not to teach all the techniques as if it were a cookbook, but to evaluate, know the athlete well and teach him the ones that suit him best.

Learning to control the nerves is a fundamental task for any athlete. In this article you will find some tips to avoid impairing performance.

Establish a pre-competition routine

The uncertainty of being in an unusual situation can make anyone nervous. Many times these factors cannot be kept under control, but that does not mean that nothing can be done about them.

The pre-race routines are a set of actions that are performed automatically at the most decisive moments. Their goal is to direct the athlete’s attention to what is relevant before a competition. In addition, they can also induce a sense of calm and control, because they act as a kind of ritual.

Preparation for boxing.

That is, performing a series of actions systematically before a race generates in the athlete the feeling of having the situation and their emotional reactions under control. In fact, we know that establishing sports routines helps you focus better on the important issues.

Meditation helps

Meditation is a very effective tool for maintaining psychological well-being, so much so that this practice extends beyond the field of sport and finds application in schools, companies and hospitals.

In the case of sports, meditation is useful before the competition because it helps the athlete to focus attention on himself, thus ignoring potential distractions. These distractions can be external, such as the audience, the weather or the behavior of rivals; or internal, in the case of negative thoughts and a lack of self-confidence.

An article from the University of Almería states that the athlete trained in meditation performs tasks with greater precision, is less reactive to interference and better assimilates what he has learned.

Learn to manage the condition of the body

The nerves before competing manifest themselves with a series of physical and psychological symptoms that generate discomfort and concern. Therefore, learning to recognize them is the key to keeping them in check before they become a problem.

Nerves present themselves in many ways; it can be said that each athlete feels them in his own way. However, there are a number of common symptoms that are worth looking out for :

  • Increased heart rate and respiratory rate.
  • Feel like a knot in the stomach.
  • Muscle tension and a feeling of stiffness in the joints.
  • Excessive sweating on the palms.

Once these reactions are detected, it is important to move to the next level and make the resources available to achieve a state of calm. Furthermore, not only is it enough to observe what is happening in the body; It is also necessary to identify the situations in which the athlete is more likely to feel nervous.

Train yourself to keep your nerves in check

Words have a great impact on the athlete’s behavior. Many times you only pay attention to those of the coach, but talking to yourself can also affect performance.

Motivational phrases that an athlete tells himself that impact the performance of a task are called self-instructions. For example, using positive self-instructions before running is effective for keeping nerves in check and increasing confidence in achieving your goal.

Woman preparing for a swimming competition.

An example of positive self-instruction is repeating to yourself: ” I’ll do my best ” or “I’m ready to face this competition . Even if they seem trivial, if they are repeated enough at key moments they can generate a big change in attitude.

A guide to keeping your nerves in check

Nerves can get felt unexpectedly in many situations and play tricks on athletes. But we must not be afraid, on the contrary we must be vigilant and prepared to face them as best as possible.

There are many techniques to effectively control the nerves, but this does not mean that the athlete has to learn them all, rather focus on the ones that best suit their way of being. In fact, every athlete is unique, so what works for one may not be effective for another.

Therefore, each athlete must be able to deal with situations individually. This, of course, implies receiving physical and mental training appropriate to his physical and mental characteristics.

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