Athletes experience more pressure and anxiety before big games because there is higher significance attached to their performance. It is important that athletes maintain a balanced level of anxiety when preparing for and during an important event. Too much anxiety will limit athletes’ ability to reach peak performance and no anxiety can lower athletes’ motivation to prepare efficiently.
It is natural for athletes to experience some anxiety, nerves, or butterflies before a big event. This is a sign of intensity that can be used to enhance athletic performance. I refer to this as a sign of intensity because it heightens athletes’ level of awareness and excitement to compete. A balance between high anxiety and low intensity is what athletes need to achieve in order to perform their best.
One way to balance intensity and manage anxiety before big games is by keeping the game in perspective. For example in baseball a players should remind themselves that although it is a big game, it is still the same game with nine innings, 27 outs, and diamond dust. The same eight players in the line-up ready to go to battle with you, and no matter what the result is, life will go on and the game will stay the same.
Putting the game in perspective help athletes reduce the significant of the event so it’s more manageable and easier to cope with performance anxiety. However, like I mentioned earlier athletes should experience some level of nervousness or anxiety with isn’t a bad thing.
Butterflies and jitters are the result of the mind communicating to the body that it is time to compete. Athletes should embrace this as a sign of intensity and respond with high levels of confidence, focus, and composure.