How To stop being nervous in games

Today we’re going to talk about how to stop being nervous during your field goals, games, and life in general. So, stay tuned.

We’ve all been there as an athlete where you’re about to go onto the field to play your position, kick your field goal, have a big kickoff – there’s something on the line that you’re going to do and perform at a high level for. Most likely, you’ve got butterflies, you’re a little nervous, you’re having a hard time catching your breath, your heart’s beating really fast. These things are totally natural.

We’re going to talk about a few things that you can do to help relieve that stress and remove the nervousness from the situation.

One of the first things that you need to do in order to remove that feeling of being really nervous is to realize that it’s really just a thought. It shouldn’t have any impact in your actual life because it’s not a physical thing; it’s a thought. It has no bearing on what will actually happen unless you allow it to.

How to stop being nervous

If you feel nervous, realize first that it’s just a thought. You can either accept it, move on, and overcome it, or you could let it consume you and allow it to have an effect on the outcome in your reality.

With that being said, what we do is let’s say we get nervous, we pay attention to that emotion. “Okay, it’s a thought. I’m nervous for whatever reason.” A lot of times, you’re nervous for nothing. 

There’s nothing to be scared about because you’ve done this a lot of times before. You’re on the team for a reason. You know what you’re doing. The coach trusts you to do this skill. You are going to be fine; it’s just a matter of overcoming that thought and being able to get past it.

So, how do we do that? For starters, if you are nervous, try visualizing something – visualizing yourself doing that act to perfection, to where there are no flaws and you’re doing it exactly the way that you should be doing it and in the way that you’d like it to look.

Let’s say you’re nervous about kicking a field goal to win the game. First of all, you’ve kicked a million field goals by now. You’ve kicked so many field goals. You know how your body should react. You know what your body needs to do. You just need to trust it. Trust your swing and let it happen.

First of all, remove the fear of whatever outcome may happen. You’re in control of this situation. You’re in control of your thoughts; don’t let your thoughts be in control of you.

Visualize

Now, once we’ve moved past the barrier of being nervous in terms of internal thoughts, and you’re starting to visualize the success that you want, let’s start thinking about overcoming the thought, in general, of I’m going to do xyz and flip it on its head so that it’s more of a positive outcome. 

Instead of thinking of yourself doing it in a bad way, you see yourself performing it at a high level, and believing in it to know that it will be the desired outcome that you are looking for. Rather than thinking of the million things that could go wrong, think that you know that you’re going to do it.

First, you believe that it happens and you feel it happening, as if you’ve made the kick and you have your team run over and everyone’s celebrating. You know that feeling and you internalize it. That’s a big way to overcome that feeling of nervousness.

The next is to just have fun. Just remove the stress from it all. Hang out with a friend. Chop it up with someone from the sideline. Talk about something. Maybe talk some trash to the other team. Or maybe don’t do that. Throw the ball around with someone.

Stay relaxed

Just remove the pressure from your head. Go sit down if you want. Go stretch. Hit a few into the net. Keep yourself loose. Shake it off. Don’t allow that thought to get bigger and bigger. You’ve got to attack it. Let it go. Let the balloon pop. Move onto the next thing.

Your mind is a lot more powerful than you think. It’s about 90% of kicking. If you are able to say, “I know that I’m in control of the situation. I’m going to allow myself to be in control of this situation,” it’s going to work out a lot more times than you’d imagined.

Just the simple thought of being in control and paying attention to that, and overcoming your thoughts, is already huge.

So, let’s say that you do control your thoughts, you’re able to visualize your success, you’re able to do everything that we’ve talked about in this video, and it works great. That’s awesome. 

Breathing (my favorite)

But truthfully, my personal favorite for the fastest way to overcome nervousness is to control your breathing. Let’s talk about that for a second.

Your brain and heart have a huge impact on your performance in-game. So, if you let your brain go wild and you let your heart beat out of control, it’s going to be very hard to calm down at that moment. 

Every single time that I’ve ever been nervous in my entire life, after learning how important breathing is, it has been my go-to solution. Try it for yourself. 

Box Breathing

The next time that you feel extremely nervous – your heart’s beating fast, you’re getting butterflies, your thoughts are racing a million miles an hour – take a deep breath for about 4 seconds, hold it for 4 seconds, exhale for about 4 seconds, and hold that for about 4 seconds. Then repeat. So, it’s a 4-second breathing interval.

This is called the box breathing method. It works great. I’m a huge fan of it. There’s also a few other things that you can do. You can do meditation. You can do the Wim Hof Method. Those are all great. But in reality, whichever method you decide to use, just take some deep breaths.

When you’re performing deep breaths, really focus on the exhale. That exhale is huge. I would even suggest doing a 5- to 8-second inhale and a 5- to 8- second exhale, doing that until you feel much better. It’s a much better way than doing just one deep breath. 

You can do that, too. Doing one deep breath is fine. But if you’re really over-the-top nervous, do a couple. Do a few. Maybe even 5 or 10 repeats in a row. During that time, let’s say you’re looking at the uprights, and you’re focusing on doing very well in that position.

The main thing here is that if you have a second, take at least one deep breath, but make it a good one. Make it a really impactful breath for yourself.

There are hundreds of studies revolving around how breathing affects our life. It affects our sleep. It affects our energy. It affects our mood. So, let’s take control of that, especially in something as high-level as playing a sport. 

Let’s use our breath to its max capacity. Let’s use it for us, not against us. We want to be able to have it as a superpower.

At the end of the day, if that still doesn’t work and you’re still really nervous, that’s okay. That means that you care. That means that you’re actually wanting to play this sport or be in that situation. If you care enough, you will be nervous, and that’s totally fine.

But at least we now know that there’s a few ways that we can combat that nervousness, and relax ourselves a little bit more, so that we can perform at a higher level.

Use your nerves for you not against you

The last thing that I’m going to touch on is if you’re still very nervous, like I said earlier, you can use that as a superpower. You can use those nerves to trick your brain into thinking that it’s a superpower, that it is how you can excel at what you’re doing.

If you’re very nervous about something, sometimes it’s a good thing. You can almost say “This  is an extra burst of energy and an extra jolt that I need to do well.” Now, let’s try to couple that with breathing and thoughts of affirmation and visualization. Let’s try to use all of those and add a cherry on top.

If you’re over-the-top nervous, cool. “Hey, brain. I’m really nervous. Let’s use this and put a little bit more adrenaline into the ball.” Still trust your swing and technique. You’ve practiced this a thousand times; don’t forget that muscle memory. Allow that to become a part of your mindset, your routine.

Next time you’re out in the field, use that to trick your brain so that it becomes a superpower in your sport. Try it for yourself next time you get nervous. 

Just remember that you’ve done this a thousand times. You’ve practiced this a lot. You’ve already done your breathing. You’ve already done everything you can to relax. Now it’s just time to have fun, let loose, and whatever happens, happens.

Realistically, 10 years from now, that moment that you’re in isn’t going to be as serious. So, you might as well have a little bit of fun with it. Almost every single time, you will be perfectly fine; it’s just that our brain has a really good way of tricking us into thinking that the situation is much worse than it actually is.

Next time you’re in that situation, breathe, relax, let it go, have fun. You’ve done it a million times. You’re going to be totally fine.

I appreciate you reading this article. Go get your copy of The Art Of Kicking Ebook as it covers everything i’ve learned in my career and am passing it onto you guys and gals. Also, check out my additional resources here.

Other than that, have a great rest of your day. We’ll talk soon.

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