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Performance Anxiety: How To Spot It And Overcome It

More athletes experience performance anxiety than you think, and many of them don't know that's what they're experiencing. Performance anxiety can be hard to spot because it can be masked under many different emotions, and it can manifest differently depending on the situation. But in episode 3 of The Panel, we chat about performance anxiety, how to spot it, how to cope with it, and what it looks like to play while experiencing it.

We also discuss the importance of seeking professional help if you find yourself struggling with this. Counselors and sports psychologists can arm you with the tools to beat the anxiety or cope effectively. With that said, seeking help in advance can help you recognize the anxiety before it manifests as a breaking point or a meltdown.

Key Points

1. Unrealistic Expectation Can Cause Performance Anxiety

Setting unrealistic expectations can sometimes trigger performance anxiety. These could be expectations set by the coach, your parents, or even yourself. Specifically, goals that are not measurable or lead you towards perfection are unrealistic and can leave you feeling empty and like a failure. In addition, these irrational expectations put unnecessary pressure on you and can lead to performance anxiety.

2. Coaches Can Cause Performance Anxiety

Sometimes, coaches fail to create healthy environments for their team, leading to toxic team cultures. Those kinds of team environments leave athletes feeling unsure and ultimately not (emotionally) safe. That can be a cause of anxiety and specifically performance anxiety when playing under that coach.

3. Master Your Failure Recovery Can Limit Performance Anxiety

Things won't always go as you planned, but that's life. So you have to build a failure recovery plan for when that happens? Failure recovery plans help you snap yourself out of the mindset that will leave you focused on what went wrong instead of focusing on the next task at hand. Figuring out strategies to not get caught up in your failures can help reduce performance anxiety because they will help you stop dwelling on the mistakes that could cause performance anxiety.

Key Quotes

  • "I was hard on myself. I knew that if I didn’t play well that I wouldn’t play, and that was something that I faced every single day, for every practice, for every game, for four years." - Cassidy Barnard

  • "It's easier to save the house before it's burning." Find your help before you need it. - Sydney Umeri

  • "I had more anxiety going into practice after a bad game than going into the game." - Katie Mehlhorn

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