Just take a deep breath

You start getting ready for your big event. Your stomach twists, your hands get sweaty, and your heart starts beating faster and faster. These are your nerves, anxiety, and excitement all put together. So how do you calm all of these feelings down?

You always want to focus on the outcome (hopefully it’s winning), but if you put too much thought into the end result your performance might not be the best. Just focusing on winning will put a lot of pressure on you.

“To calm my nerves, I separate myself from everyone and just think about what I need to get done so I can be confident when we step out on the mat,” varsity cheerleader Kelly Bissey (11) said.

When you’re warming up, don’t watch your opponent. Seeing how they perform will only make your nerves go even higher. Just focus on you and your team. Distract yourself by talking to teammates or listening to music.

“Watching the other teams sometimes psyches me out but I just tell myself ‘Psh, we’re better than them!'” dancer Katie Kourtkamp(10) said.

Another tip is keep your pre-game/pre-race ritual the same every time. This may involve a certain stretch or cheer. Maybe you listen to the same song before your race or play.

“I do the same warm up and stretches with everyone else, but I go down to the line alone. I put my spikes on left to right and I only double knot my right shoe,” said track and cross country runner Rachel Hile-Broad (12).

Nerves can really affect the way you perform. Golfer Cara Logan(9) says that her nerves always affect the first hole, but everything after that is fine. When your stomach is twisting, it can really change the way you think, so try to keep your mind clear.

One more thing that you can try is visualization. When you’re laying in bed the night before, picture your race, dance, cheer routine, game, or match going just the way you have practiced it. Seeing yourself doing what you have worked so hard for is rewarding and will give you a lot of confidence the next day.