Ok, firstly anxiety and nerves are slightly different things.
Anxiety is where you are looking forward to achieving a particular outcome in the future. The frustrating part about anxiety is that you are basically waiting for a ‘time’ to achieve it. For example a match on the weekend, in a few hours etc. Usually anxiety goes away once the match has started and you are able to do something about the outcome.
During a match or just before anxiety is usually replaced by nerves. So, what are these nerves? A definition of nerves is: ‘the gap between what needs to be done and what you believe you can do’.
Nerves are good – it mean that you care about the outcome !
Again, ‘what needs to be done’ – beat this opponent, play strong, volley well, work out how to beat someone.
The next part – ‘what you believe you can do’ – can you beat this opponent, play well etc. The closer your ‘belief’ on your ability to ‘achieve’ what needs to be done the less nerves you should have…. Never thought about it that way? The nerves are proportional to the size of the gap! Examples
If you are confident you can beat someone you might be slightly anxious to do it – but not nervous.
If you think you are going to loose, and are sure you can achieve loosing well you wont be nervous. (being negative – but proving a point)
If you are playing a good player of similar standard however you are feeling a little rusty, well you might feel nervous about how you will perform on the day.
How do you reduce nervousness?? Increase confidence. How do you increase confidence? Be confident in your preparation leading into the match. Your fitness, technique, routines etc.
If you are well prepared, confident with what you have done before the match you should be less nervous.
Preparation is something you can work on to reduce anxiety ! It makes you already in control of the outcome – preparing yourself. Now do you see how they fit together?? Interesting…
There also other tips for confidence like strategy and mental rehersal – that is going to be in another article!!
Have a great day !! Michael