Do Your Athletes Have Pre-Game Jitters or Anxiety Before Games?
A sports parent asks:
“My sports kid gets especially nervous before some games and seems to kind of psych himself out before the game even starts! Is there anything I can do?”
Pregame jitters are a common source of anxiety for players.
Keep in mind that the jitters are different than performance anxiety or fear.
Your sports kids may feel some completely normal pregame jitters when the natural adrenaline kicks in… They are excited about the upcoming competition.
Excitement can easily be mistaken for anxiety, especially if your sports child has a history of getting nervous during games.
Their memory of these nerves hurting their performance in previous matches may cause them to mistake adrenaline for anxiety, which will only cause more anxiety.
This type of anxiety can undermine a strong, confident performance.
An anxious player will be unfocused, unassertive, play tentatively and will not have fun. It’s important that you help your sports children frame their pregame jitters as just that, pregame jitters, and nothing more.
The first thing to do is let your sports children know that pregame jitters–butterflies in stomach, higher heart rate, sweaty palms, etc.–are completely natural and are a natural reaction to help them perform well.
Studies have shown that anxiety reappraisal—when kids tell themselves that their pregame jitters is actually excitement—is a very effective method for embracing their feelings before competition.
Help your sports kids reframe these jitters by saying things like, “Those jitters will give you the energy to play through the whole game!” or, “Use those jitters to concentrate that energy into achieving your personal goals!”
The late mental coach, Ken Ravizza, would tell athletes:
“Get the butterflies to fly in formation.”
If you can help your sports kids start viewing these pregame jitters as a positive, they will actually work for them instead of against them.
When they start thinking of the feeling as “pumped up” instead of anxious, they can use the energy to take their play to another level.
Learn Mental Game Lessons to Help Young Athletes With Their Pregame Prep!
Young athletes and their parents and coaches tell us that sports kids often struggle with these pregame mental game challenges:
- They feel pressure to excel from expectations they feel from others
- They focus too much on the outcome instead of the process
- They fail to take charge of their confidence before the compete
- They don’t trust in their skills when they go from practice to competition
- They hang on to mistakes and dwell in them in competition
- They worry too much about what others think about their performance
- They tighten up and play safe when they feel pressure to succeed
- They interpret pregame jitters as harmful to their performance
“10 Minute Pregame Prep” will tell you everything you need to know about ensuring your sports kids avoid classic mental game pitfalls before a game, learn how to trust their instincts, and just go for it. It provides lots of advice for you, too…
With our program, you can stop wondering what to do and relax before your kids’ games!
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Help Young Athletes Boost Confidence in Sports!
Do your young athletes:
- Criticize themselves often after making mistakes?
- Lose confidence after working with a negative coach?
- Freeze up and look scared when faced with competitive pressure?
- Perform like stars in practice but freeze up or play tentatively during games or competitions?
If so, check out The Ultimate Sports Parent!
The Ultimate Sports Parent will teach you powerful mental toughness secrets to improve your child’s success in sports.
Get proven strategies form leading youth sports experts!
What are sports parents saying about our mental training program?
“The Ultimate Sports Parent program is well designed to help parents and athletes come to terms with developing well rounded student athletes. This workbook will help give athletes and parents the competitive edge.”
~Mike Maveus, athlete & youth sports coach
“Dr. Patrick Cohn and Lisa Cohn are to be congratulated! Together, they offer a wealth of knowledge, information, and practical mental tools for sports parents on the substantial “mental game” challenges and pressures facing today’s young athletes.”
~Marc D. Anderson, LCSW, MGCP, Mental Game Coach