Stay Calm Before A Game
How To Stay Calm Before A Game
We have a big game tonight against a team we’ve scrimmaged twice already, and both times they beat us pretty badly. I’m pumping this game up to my team, and I think I’ve made them more nervous than they usually are before a game. Is that good? Is it good to be nervous? Let’s discuss…..
Being nervous before a game is nothing to be worried about. If fact, having sweaty palms is not only normal, but I actually prefer it. Being nervous is a positive sign that you care about the game, you care about performing well, and you care about winning. We all get nervous. Anxiety and uncertainty of what will happen in the game will cause even the best players to have butterflies. Even pros get nervous before games. I heard that Bill Russell (who won 11 championships with the Boston Celtics) once said that he would throw up before every game due to nervousness.
Being nervous usually comes from doubt. Wondering what the other team is going to do and are you good enough to play against them. That’s why my team has a pre-game ritual. Like shooting free throws, having a ritual is extremely important. It not only helps keep you focused, but it also helps to eliminate all other distractions.
Before going out to play, try closing your eyes, taking a few deep breaths, and visualize yourself playing the game, doing all the things you’ve learned in practice, and executing them to the best of your ability. Focus on performing the basic skills and the fundamentals well. The simple act of taking a few deep breaths will calm your nerves and help you relax.
Keep in mind of everything you’ve done up to this point that has made you the player you are. Think about how hard you’ve practiced. Think about how much you’ve improved the last few weeks. Games are like a test in class — they will tell you how well you are doing and what you need to work on. Look at games, not as something that you pass or fail, but as a learning experience that will tell you what you need to work on the next time you practice.
If nothing else, know this: it’s okay to be nervous. It’s actually a good thing. It’s a sign that you’re ready to play, it will give you added energy, and it will make you more alert. And…. it’ll ware off in no-time.