Anxiety when playing sports

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    Apr 06, 2010 2:32 AM GMT
    Anyone experience high anxiety when playing sports? more so than the usual adrenal rush. I've had it since highschool and I have a hard time getting rid of it, it totally makes so rigid sometimes that my performance begins to suffer.

    Any way to cure myself? or should I see a shrink? I couldn't really find any books on this while browsing at Barnes and Noble.... any suggestions?
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    Apr 06, 2010 2:35 AM GMT


    Well, it's not uncommon, so that should help alleviate any sense of strangeness.

    Here, maybe this will help a little:

    http://www.ehow.com/facts_5638183_anxiety-sports_.html


    kindly, -us two
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    Apr 06, 2010 2:47 AM GMT
    Guided relaxation. It takes practice but it helps immensely. Develop a routine before every game, match, tournament whatever.. stick with it.
    Or, choose three key words or three things you want to focus on. Write them on your hand and when you're feeling tight or anxious, look at them. It gives you something concrete to focus on instead of thinking about the end result which is not good.
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    Apr 06, 2010 3:13 AM GMT
    yeah thanks for the link, I'm pretty aware what it is, but it's become chronic after years and years, in fact for me, it's not the game the I solidified, but the fears associated with it, talk about ironic.

    Guided meditation? you've tried that and it works for you?
  • me35mtl

    Posts: 306

    Apr 06, 2010 3:58 AM GMT
    Andre_SD saidAnyone experience high anxiety when playing sports? more so than the usual adrenal rush. I've had it since highschool and I have a hard time getting rid of it, it totally makes so rigid sometimes that my performance begins to suffer.

    Any way to cure myself? or should I see a shrink? I couldn't really find any books on this while browsing at Barnes and Noble.... any suggestions?


    Anxiety is not something you can cure yourself over night. Its something you really should see someone about because it could later on manifest itself and later present itself in another aspect in your life.
    But a good start is that you know that you have this problem and are aware of it when it starts in which situations.
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    Apr 06, 2010 4:41 AM GMT

    This source is a little bit technical and academic, but it gets to what proved for me to be the heart of the matter when it came to performance anxiety in sports. The sources listed at the end of the article are very good too:


    http://www.athleticinsight.com/Vol1Iss2/Cognitive_Behavioral_Anxiety.htm




    A few sessions with a cognitive behavioral therapist who specializes in working with athletes did the trick.
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    Apr 06, 2010 6:41 AM GMT
    I use to get anxiety when I was younger...esp playing football, baseball...because..eh..well, I was afraid that I threw like a girlicon_sad.gif .....but over time I conquered my anxiety by just "doing it"...and btw.....( I DONT throw like a girlicon_lol.gif )
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    Apr 06, 2010 7:06 AM GMT
    Knowing you're prepared, and having a plan, can make a world of difference.
  • Sparkycat

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    Apr 06, 2010 8:07 AM GMT
    I've always been terrible at sports due to being very afraid I'll be smacked in the face by the ball.
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    Apr 06, 2010 12:26 PM GMT
    I agree with those here who have suggested that you see a therapist. There are many great techniques they can teach you to overcome and master your anxiety without pharmaceuticals. And those techniques can also help you be more confident in other areas of your life.

    Good luck!
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    Apr 06, 2010 12:46 PM GMT
    I played baseball in middle school. I had a morbid fear of batting. Of course, it didn't help that I was left handed and most right handed pitchers hit me right in the kidney with their fastballs. icon_mad.gif
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    Apr 06, 2010 12:49 PM GMT
    Sometimes.... depends on the sport. I would get high anxiety in sports that required me to track something, like soccer, tennis, or baseball, but not so much with athletics, swimming, or martial arts. There it was much more of an adrenaline rush than "performance anxiety."
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    Apr 06, 2010 12:57 PM GMT
    chuckystud saidKnowing your prepared, and having a plan, can make a world of difference.


    I'm with chucky here.

    Sports psychologist will stress this too.

    if you're prepared to the best of your ability, and got everything practical covered, and are rid of all external distractions, that's a good start. you can do this yourself.

    Ask yourself what causes this anxiety... and is it rational? if it's irrational you should be able to deal with it, maybe with some help.

    the thing is you need to find the reason for your anxiety in order to get rid of it, I don't recommend any easy fast solutions where some "personal coach" tries to sell you some kind of self suggestive mantra hocus pocus.


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    Apr 06, 2010 2:38 PM GMT
    What do you mean by "high anxiety"? Is it a mental thing, or does it manifest in a physical way? There's a genetic condition known as myotonia congenita. It's caused by neurons incorrectly transmitting the electrical signal to your muscles. Instead of firing and relaxing, they fire repeatedly for a short period of time, and cause contractions in the muscles.

    I have a mild version of this condition. I used to chalk it down to nerves, until my brother (genetic... he's got it too) saw a neurologist about it, who directed him to an immunologist and then to a geneticist.

    The only way to be diagnosed is by a genetic test and there is no cure, but fortunately there is a treatment for it. I'm not sure of the details - I don't take drugs for it. As I said, I only have a minor case.

    It's interesting to note, though, that one of the side effects is a disposition towards muscle growth due to the increased contractions! Every cloud has a silver lining. Go figure, eh?

    I found this pretty neat:

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    Apr 07, 2010 5:28 AM GMT
    guided meditation simply doesn't work that well, at least self-guided. I think my brain sees the reverse-psychology trick of it and wants to rebel.

    I am going to check in with a sports psychologist, apparently this is not a new thing (it never really is I guess).


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    Apr 07, 2010 5:42 AM GMT
    That could be something to do with mild burnout. Volleyball's a sport where I feel a shitload of anxiety because the student coaches back in high school (well, a few years ago then) emphasized the "do-what-you're-told-whether-or-not-you-know-how-to-do-it-because-everyone-else-seems-to-know-what-they're-doing approach" rather than the instructive so for a while, I hated playing volleyball...

    I find reintroducing the sport through play helps...so, in my example, I joined an intramural team with friends with no intention of competition but rather friendly fun...and as you feel more comfortable, you feel more competitive and bloodthirsty. icon_biggrin.gif
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    Apr 07, 2010 6:02 AM GMT
    Don't fight it, use it.
    Anxiety and stress actually increase your physical abilities (faster heart rate, increased glucose levels in blood etc...)
    The trick is to learn to keep your mind cool while your body is upset (shaking knees, urge to pee).
    On a psychological point of view, the fear to be affraid is worst than the fear itself, but you can come to see it as a free and legal hormon boost. Studies showed that stress can increase your performance level more than illegal drugs likes amphetamines.

    I had similar issues as a teenager, and used to perform badly when the competitions where of major importance : well prepared, perfect physical condition, but the stress made me unable to think right, and I made bad choices. you know, the one that you ask yourself after : why did I do that.

    I tried relaxation (sophrologie), before to realise it did me no good to be without stress during event : I made me less performing, physically.

    So I worked hard to use my stress instead of trying to limit it, welcoming it as a mesure to my motivation.

    It's very hard to explain, but it's possible to disconnect your emotions and your reasoning, not unlike ridding a wild stallion ;-)

    Side note : I never meet top level competitor immune to anxiety, it's just like courage, you don't know what it is if you can't feel fear.