Determining Your Pregame Level of Intensity
Do you consider yourself a nervous athlete? Do you become anxious about being anxious and fall apart during games?
Many athletes believe they need to be totally relaxed when competing.
When a little bit of nerves strike during the pregame, some ‘nervous’ athletes freak out. For the nervous athletes, just sensing some degree of edginess can create that ‘uh-oh’ feeling and cause them to spiral out of control.
The problem is that some athletes freak out when they feel pregame jitters, which can be normal for many athletes…
Contrary to the belief of many, nerves or edginess is not only good for athletes but necessary for optimal performance.
When do nerves go from good to bad?
The turning point is when an athlete gets over-excited, anxious, or worry.
Think of it as driving a car…
Not stepping on the gas pedal gets you nowhere just like an athlete who is totally relaxed or under-aroused. Flooring the gas pedal can cause you to feel fearful and out of control.
There is an optimal “speed” that will produce the best results.
Vancouver Whitecaps defender Christian Dean recently made his first Major League Soccer start since Aug. 29, 2015.
Dean was the third overall in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft but suffered a knee injury and a foot injury which halted his 2016 season.
In his first game back, Dean admitted to some nerves prior to the match but knew that this feeling was normal and necessary to play to his potential.
DEAN: “Before the game, I had some butterflies for sure. That’s a good thing. My dad always said if you don’t feel it, you don’t care.”
Some degree of pregame jitters means you are ready to compete.
Many athletes ask:
“How do I know the line between regular butterflies and anxiety?”
There is no definitive answer for all athletes. There is a range of arousal that propels an athlete to perform their best.
One sign is how quickly your pregame jitters go away. If they stay with you during a good part of the game, you’re probably anxious.
If pregame jitters go away in the opening moments of the game, it’s just common jitters.
Once you understand your ideal pregame intensity, you will be physically and mentally ready to compete at your peak.
Tips For Determining Your Pregame Intensity
Start rating your level of intensity, from 1-10, after each performance.
A rating of 1 would mean totally bored or hard to get up for the game. A rating of 10 would mean freaking out and overly-anxious.
Look for trends in your good performances and your intensity or edginess ratings.
Many athletes feel they compete best somewhere between 5-8, but your range may be quite different.
Once you know the ideal level of intensity, you can stop the snowball effect where a little bit of butterflies can turn into a stampede of anxiety.
Also by knowing your range, you can develop strategies to amp up a bit or calm yourself down to keep you within your optimal range.
It’s time to get those butterflies working for you!
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Mental Game Coaching for Soccer Players
Master mental game coach Dr. Patrick Cohn can help you overcome your mental game issues with personal coaching.
You can work with Dr. Patrick Cohn himself in Orlando, Florida or via Skype, FaceTime, or telephone. Call us toll free at 888-742-7225 or contact us for more information about the different coaching programs we offer!
We look forward to helping you improve your mental toughness!
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“Dr. Cohn, Michelle had the best weekend of soccer she has ever played. She was relaxed, did not get frustrated with herself or teammates, and never once ‘shut down.’ Numerous parents noticed a difference in her composure and attitude. Thanks again for EVERYTHING…Michelle is in a very good place right now!”
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~David, Sports Dad