As an athlete, there have been multiple occasions where I was very nervous to play in a game. Whether it was something my coach told me or the team we were up against looked intimidating, pregame jitters always hit me right before the game. There are also multiple ways I’ve learned to tackle them.
First, taking slow deep breaths is very effective. It helps calm you down before the game. It’s been proven that if you’re feeling nervous before playing, then you don’t play as well as you hoped. Another thing that helps calm me down is thinking about something else, like a homework assignment that’s due soon. It helps your mind forget how nervous you are for the game.
Second, listening to music is very helpful for relieving your pregame jitters. By playing your favorite song before the game, it helps you get fired up instead of nervous. This also brings me to another way, imagine yourself doing great things on the field, court, or wherever you’re playing. If you think you’re going to play poorly, then you are probably going to play poorly.
Last, listen to the coaches’ advice during warmups. They will tell you if you need to work on something if they see it. If they don’t say anything to you at warm-ups, you’re doing exactly what you need to do and it’s helpful to listen to the talk they give before the game. They’ll say things like, “Look at this team, we’re bringing this one home.” I’m always pumped to play after “teaming it up.”
There’s more ways to help extinguish nervous thoughts before games, but I have found these to be the most effective for me. Pregame jitters never get the best of me.