How to Beat Performance Anxiety
How do you beat performance anxiety when competing at athletic events, or in life?
I don’t have perfect answers, I do know in the martial arts world, nothing compares to performing in front of judges. Anxiety, alert. DING. DING. DING.
Yes, they are judging YOU. Being judged by your peers remains part of our judicial system. But in taekwondo? Yes, if you want to rise to a higher rank. It’s not that much different than Olympic slopestyle where not only do jumps matter, but HOW they look. We ALL get nervous before big events. It means we care. If we didn’t, then it would mean we didn’t care. Weddings, public speaking, or any event or tournament can rattle nerves.
With THREE rules, we can overcome and exceed our expectations, regardless if you are teaching for the first time, rank testing, or at a tournament:
Rule #1. Have Fun.
That is what life is about. Yet, our lizard brain wants us to be nervous. However, we CAN control our brain response and set the stage for optimal performance.
Rule #2. Have Fun.
Seriously, we train to WIN, but compete to have FUN. Others want us to do well, but getting first place should have nothing to do with it, especially when there are many factors completely out of our control. Once we realize this, we have mentally set the stage to do our personal best. THAT matters. If we ended up in last place, THAT doesn’t matter. At least we tried. Which is better than those that chose NOT to compete (if we choose to judge).
Rule #3. Do your best.
The challenge must be approached as a personal challenge, not a competitive challenge among others. Doing your best matters most. YOUR best. That’s it. Chances are if you care enough about it, you trained for it. If you trained right for it, you’re prepared. And if you’re prepared enough, then you’ll do fine.
Instead of nerves fluttering like butterflies, form them into Geese Formation and let them work for you!