• Kate Allgood

Use Stress to Improve your Performance

Athletes deal with stress both on and off the field of competition each and everyday. Stress itself is not good nor bad, it is all in how you perceive it and shift what you are focusing on. One of the main emotions that often comes with stress is nervousness. Before a competition athletes will usually feel nervous or excited, the difference lies in the perception of the athlete of the energy that is going through their body. Nervousness usually goes with a negative mindset, whereas excitement usually goes with a more positive mindset and feeling of confidence.

We can choose how we view the energy going through our body. Many times people will tell themselves to relax or breath when they start to get nervous, but often times this not help, because the person is saying there is a reason they need to relax or breath, that in that moment something is not right. It is always important to focus on how you want to feel rather than bringing the focus to how you do not want to feel. It is always better to feel excited than nervous, or to have a mixture of both. I remember before my first practice, and each game during the season, how I would always feel nervous/excited. It was a feeling I didn’t mind, because mostly I was excited to play, and the nervousness was minimal and wasn’t based out of fear but rather anticipation.

Perception is everything, and if you can change the perception you have of nervousness, and see it as excitement, the feeling won’t go away, but it will make you perform better.