Managing Performance Anxiety

Do you feel dread about performing? Do you feel stage fright before a presentation or anxiety before the big game or test?

Athletes and students often experience performance anxiety.  The anxiety not only influences their performance, but it can also affect their self-esteem and self-confidence.

fail run stress

When we experience too much anxiety, our bodies react with the “fight-or-flight” response.

Symptoms of performance anxiety are:

  • Racing pulse and rapid breathing
  • Dry mouth and tight throat
  • Trembling hands, knees, lips, and voice
  • Sweaty and cold hands
  • Nausea and an uneasy feeling in your stomach
  • Vision changes

There are ways to manage this anxiety so that you can perform better.  Here are five tips.

Click on the links for more information.

positive thinking

1 – Attitude

See the positives of the stress response. Think of stress as energizing and fueling you to perform well.  You can turn that energy into positive energy.

2 – Imagery

See yourself performing well.

Focus on what you can control – the process, not the outcome.  For example, if you feel anxious about the big soccer game, image yourself being in the right position and making clean passes.  Think about each play, rather than whether you win or lose.

brain speak

3 – Self-Talk

Self-talk can help take the athlete’s focus off of the outcome and thus reduce stress.  Don’t beat yourself up with negative self-talk.  Focus on what you can do to make it better.  Be positive and use “you” or your name.

For example, say, “You are prepared,” “You have trained for this,  you’ve got this,” or “You have the skills.  Let’s show them.”

4 – Exercise

Take a 2-minute brain break.  Just two minutes of exercise can relieve stress and help you focus.  Cross the mid-line of your body to engage both sides of your brain.

Some exercises you can do to get your brain going are: Head-Shoulders-Knees-and-Toes, Jumping Jacks, or Squat Thrusts.

just breathe clouds

5 – Breathing

Try the 5-5-5-5 breathing technique.

  1. Breath in slowly through nose for 5 seconds
  2. Hold 5 seconds
  3. Breath out slowly through mouth for 5 seconds
  4. Hold 5 seconds

Repeat this about 5 times – or until you feel calm.

test kids girl schoolSummit Performance Consulting LLC works with students and athletes of all ages to improve performance.  Get more mentally tough!  Contact us for more information at or 561-325-8363.

Comments are closed.