Anxiety is one of the biggest enemies to an athlete's strong performance. Anxiety is a symptom that 'something is not right' and the knock on effect is physical, mental and emotional changes that prevents us from performing at our best.
Physically, anxiety causes physical changes in our bodies. For example, our hearts beat faster or our blood pressure rises. But anxiety can also lead to tension, stress, a lack of sleep, and intestinal disorders, to name just a few.
Emotionally, anxiety causes negative feelings. A lack of confidence and low self-esteem are two obvious ones. These make us doubt our ability and therefore our results.
However, something else has an even bigger impact and that is focus.
Anxiety causes us to focus on the negative, on the problem instead of the solution, on the doubt instead of the certainty (of the training process for example), on what cannot be controlled right at a time when the athlete should be focusing on what he or she has to do in order to do well in the competition.
An anxious athlete needs to spend time and energy putting their focus in the right place, i.e., controlling and calming down those negative feelings and finding that confidence again.
Often anxiety is deep rooted in emotional issues and isn't just the result of doubt about your training or your ability. If we can identify and overcome these issues, it can help us not just in competition but in everyday life. And we all want that.
Accompanied, individualised and well-structured work allows this process to be carried out calmly and peacefully, improving performance and future results.
We will get back to anxiety and self-confidence in future blogs.