Competition Nerves and How to Overcome Them

How to Feel Good about Competition Nerves

Competition nerves can either be a good thing or a bad thing depending on the effect on your training and performance on the day, and of course how uncomfortable you feel.

This article is for you if your nerves are impairing your performance or worse still making your experience of competition unpleasant. The latter is more serious because significant discomfort is likely to make competing potentially unhealthy and unsustainable for you.

Excessive nerve-racking feelings or self-talk can lead to a generalisation of nervousness resulting in having those feelings in what would otherwise be easy to deal with events. So it's best to find an effective way to overcome your nerves quickly. But fear not - help is at hand!

How do I Overcome Competition Nerves?

Relax - no need to be nervous about any of this because here are 3 of the best approaches to rid yourself of nerves from quick and simple to more thorough:

First of all check with yourself what you are really feeling. To do this think about a situation in which you experienced the feelings you want to overcome and write down a list of words that describe what you are feeling.

If it is really something more akin to anxiety or fear then this check out other articles by this author on anxiety and fear. If it's nerves or anticipation then follow the advice below.

Breathing: Take a deep breathe and focus on your breathing. Breathe in for a count of 4. Breathe out for 4. Put your hand on your stomach and notice it moving in and out with the breathing. Repeat for a few minutes or until you feel calmer. If you are really relaxing then breathe in for 4 and out for 8.

Realisation Technique: Good, now, so you're reading this because it's either nerves or anticipation. If it's not anticipation then

- Take a moment to remind yourself of all the good reasons why you are doing this. How many good reasons can you find?

- Got them all - how many did you find? Good, now find another 2 good reasons...

- Got another 2? Excellent. It's true to say that everyone has a bit of anticipation before achieving something they want - isn't it? And you do want to achieve this don't you? I love the anticipation of a good build up so check out your feelings and notice if there could be more of a sense of anticipation now. Is there more anticipation you can feel now? Check out your feelings. Do that now. If it's anticipation now, well done.

Effective Coping Mechanism: If doing your very best is important to you and you want to stop doing nerves and do something that gives you better results, or your nervousness is more broad than about a specific event then this one is for you:

Nervousness like all emotions is the result of an unconscious process i.e. most of the process resulting in feelings of nervousness is outside of conscious awareness. Everyone does this process in their own way and the right specialist can help you quickly realise how you do nervousness and to create an appropriate intervention.

An example of an easy intervention could be to increase choice in your nervousness process to include new unconscious choices which serve you better. E.g. if feeling 'total self-belief' were preferable to nervousness, then an intervention would include choices that result in feelings of total self-belief. Notice 'choice' is the key word. How would that be for you? The intervention for you may be similar to this or different, whatever is most appropriate and effective for you. Would having more comfortable and resourceful feelings result in better performance or more enjoyment for you?

Whichever approach you chose make it quick, easy and effective for you.

Paul Burden MSc is Peak Performance Coach at SportPerform. Amongst other things Paul is a Certified Master Coach and Trainer of Neuro Linguistic Programming, a Master Hypnotist with close to 20 years of coaching in sport. His passion and forte is assisting people to make the changes needed to create the success they want.

For more information and resources relating to this article check out or contact the author directly via

Copyright Paul Burden 2011. All rights reserved.

Published At: Competition Nerves and How to Overcome Them

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