What Causes Sports Anxiety? Plus, Tips to Get Your Game (Back) On

It’s the night of your big game. You’ve trained and practiced for months, and now everyone — your coach, your team, your audience — is watching you. A win or a loss could come down to a single, split-second reflex. Your heart starts racing, and you can’t berhenti thinking about how everyone will react if you choke.

Sports performance anxiety, also called sports anxiety or competitive anxiety, is incredibly common. Estimates suggest anywhere from 30 to 60 percentTrusted Source of athletes experience it, according to a 2019 review.

Of course, knowing you’re in good company might come as cold comfort when trying to move past those overwhelming feelings of nervousness and tension.

But we’ve got some good news: You can take steps to handle and even prevent sports anxiety. What’s more, knowing why it happens can make a difference.

Read on to get the details on sports performance poloclubapt.com anxiety, along with a few kiat to overcome it so you can get your head back where you want it — in the game.

What are the signs?
Researchers often divide the signs of sports performance anxiety into mental and physical categories.

Common physical signs of sports anxiety include:

Tremors. Maybe your hands shake when you’re holding a tennis racket, or your foot twitches when you need to stand still.
Racing heart. Hormones like adrenaline and cortisol can make your heart beat faster.
Hyperventilation. You might feel as if you’re choking or can’t catch your breath.
Muscle tension. Your muscles may feel so tight they become painful, and you might also notice tension and pain in your head.
Bathroom troubles. When you go into fight-or-flight mode, your body may rush through digestion so it can focus all its resources on survival. You might notice cramping and a sudden, strong urge to visit the kamar mandi.
Common mental signs of sports anxiety include:

Intense fear of failure. When you imagine losing, your mind may leap to the worst-case scenario. You might worry about letting your team down or others laughing at you.
Disrupted focus. You might have trouble concentrating on the game, instead getting absorbed in how others react to your performance.
Overthinking. You may temporarily “forget” how to do actions you used to do automatically, like swinging a baseball bat or catching a ball.
Reduced self-confidence. You could start doubting your abilities and wonder whether you can really win.
Sports anxiety can eventually lead to:

Self-sabotage. You may unconsciously set yourself up to fail by skipping breakfast or going to bed late the night before. Self-sabotage, in short, provides an “excuse” for a bad performance so you don’t lose face. Of course, a lack of preparation can also worsen your anxiety.
Lashing out. Sometimes people express their worries through anger, shouting at teammates, or getting physical with opponents. According to a 2019 report, this is especially likely if your coach yells at you a lot.
Poor performance. If you feel distracted and discouraged, chances are you won’t bring your A-game to the competition.

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