Anxiety appears in many forms in sports or during an important exam. The term butterflies come to mind as athletes prepare for competition. The often used strategies to enhance self efficacy and self talk are, instruction drills, confidence building, rewarding statements and the use of verbal persuasion. But how does one relax prior to completion? At VRC I believe in relaxation and visualizing the competition before it happens. At times performance anxiety happens prior to competition. While I may not be able to eliminate all stress with the athlete, I help manage the stress in a joint effort with the athlete to develop coping skills throughout the process. I find out what the stressor means to the individual including the arousal of mind and body in response to the demands made on the athlete from participation and during their daily routine. I also explore the benefits of good stress for the athlete.
Athletic Scenario of Reducing Anxiety:
During a competitive tennis match at change over my client began to shake after losing a close set where she was up two breaks. She took a time out spoke with her coach and appeared nervous from my observation in the stands and was afraid to move on. She was able to get through winning the match. This happened in a few matches during the year so through intervention with applied sports psychology techniques, I was able to get her to relax by using her key cue phrases and remind her of the goals that she set. She wanted to improve on her previous matches and tournaments and she was doing just that. She was able to complete the matches by soothing and calming her nerves by practicing the techniques and incorporating them into her workout sessions prior to competition.