No matter what age, ability or level enjoy your football…

It sounds like an obvious thing to do but sometimes as we build up to match day, kick off and during a game our emotions can get too much.

Nerves can get the better of us and cause too much stress effecting our performance.

Whether its too much pressure from parents and coaches, too much expectation or the child feels that he or she has to perform to earn the praise of their coach, parents or friends.

It’s important to teach kids how to understand and manage their emotions before big moments, so they can attack challenges with confidence and let their skills shine through.

Everyone gets a little nervous before a big game. However, for those who experience the severe symptoms associated with social anxiety disorder (SAD), the quality of their athletic performance will often suffer.

The relationship between anxiety and sports is so strong that a whole field of psychology experts are now commonly used to combat nerves.

So what can we do to help nerves?

Preparation and visualisation – are great ways to create a positive mindset and picture how the game is going to go. This can be done the night before a game, on the way to the game…

We will touch on this in more detail in our next blog..

Distraction – you often see professional footballers wearing headphones as they get out of the team bus, some see it as unsociable or just trying to look cool. But this can be a great way to tune in to your ‘in the zone’ place and put yourself in the right frame of mind and ultimately distract any nerves that might otherwise creep in to your thought process.

Focus on what you can control – If you find yourself worrying about who is in the crowd watching you, or the other team being better than you—remind yourself that these are aspects that are out of your control. What you can control is your own performance, how well prepared you are, and how well you react during the match. Turn your attention to YOU!

Express your feelings – many children will have anxiety issues but hide them very well, even from their own parents. If your feeling under too much pressure to play in a certain game let your parents, friends or coaches know. Sharing emotions can be very difficult but are a great way to overcome and understand how you feel and that its ok to feel this way. As a coach I always look for signs when I greet a student, are they themselves, how has there day gone? If I identify maybe a mood change can I then engage with the student to put them at ease and help them overcome any anxiety or stress.

Good nerves

Feeling nervous before a match is natural and part of your body’s way of helping you do your best. The “stress hormones” (like adrenaline) that your body produces at times like these can actually help you focus and help you perform at the highest level.

I hope you enjoyed my blog, enjoy your football!!

Best wishes

Jason

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