Fear… is it keeping you from playing a better game?

     Sometimes, fear and anxiety can get the best of us in sports. The key is to
know how to manage that fear and anxiety. As a result, here is a brief
list of techniques that athletes can use to help manage their fears and
everyday anxieties.

    Occasionally, you may become stressed when you have to play in an
important game. When this happens, visualize yourself doing the task in
your mind. For instance, you have to play in the championship hockey
game in front of a large group of people in the next few days. Before
the big day comes, imagine yourself playing the game in your mind.
Imagine that you are playing in front of a large audience. By playing
the game in your mind, you will be better prepared to perform for real
when the time comes. Self-Visualization is a great way to reduce the
fear and stress of a coming situation.

Take a breath… think good thoughts.

    Sometimes we get stressed
out when everything happens all at once. When this happens, a person
should take a deep breath and try to find something to do for a few
minutes to get their mind off of the problem. A person could read the
newspaper, listen to some music or do an activity that will give them a
fresh perspective on things. This is a great technique to use right
before your next game.

    Another technique that is very helpful is to have a small notebook
of positive statements.  Whenever you come across an affirmation that
makes you feel good, write it down in a small notebook that you can
carry around with you. Whenever you feel stressed, open up your
notebook and read those statements. This will help to manage your
negative thinking.

    Be smart in how you deal with your fears and anxieties. Do not try
to tackle everything all at once. When facing a current or upcoming
task that overwhelms you with a lot of anxiety, break the task into a
series of smaller steps. Completing these smaller tasks one at a time
will make the stress more manageable and increases your chances of
success.

    In every anxiety-related situation you experience, begin to learn
what works, what doesn’t work, and what you need to improve on in
managing your fears and anxieties. For instance, you have a lot of
anxiety and you decide to take a small walk before your next sports
event to help you feel better. The next time you feel anxious you can
remind yourself that you got through it the last time by taking a walk.
This will give you the confidence to manage your anxiety the next time
around.

    Take advantage of the help that is available around you. If
possible, talk to a professional who can help you manage your fears and
anxieties. They will be able to provide you with additional advice and
insights on how to deal with your current problem. By talking to a
professional, a person will be helping themselves in the long run
because they will become better able to deal with their problems in the
future. Remember that it never hurts to ask for help.

    Anyone who plays sports needs to remember that patience,
persistence, and education will go a long way in preventing fear from
becoming a factor in their game.

Article submitted by Stan Popovich, author of “A Layman’s Guide to
Managing Fear Using Psychology, Christianity and Non Resistant
Methods.” For additional information go to:
http://www.managingfear.com