You're not the only one
It’s not uncommon to be nervous before a tryout, game or even a practice. I’ve been playing football for 30 years as a quarterback and I still get nervous, sometimes I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders. Life is constantly changing and we are faced with challenges everyday; so building a mental strategy can be key to owning your nerves. This isn’t a blanket solution for everyone, nerves/anxiety aren’t the same for everyone; this is what works for me.
No matter the level of football you play, nerves are normal. Mastering your nerves can take time so be patient and compassionate with yourself. Performing under pressure is a mental game and similarly to catching a football it takes practice and repetition.
Here are a few things I do before a game to ease my nerves:
I take time for myself. By getting up early before the competition I don’t feel rushed. During this time I’ll do my shoulder exercises. I also set a goal for myself, something very small and achievable. While doing my shoulder exercises I focus on my breath work, it tends to keep me calm.
Focus on yourself and not what others will be doing. So essentially I don’t compare myself to anyone else and I just concentrate on me. I stay away from negative talk and I stick to my game plan. I also find a good listener, a confident, a person who’s got my back.
Developing your own strategies to reduce nervousness can help keep you calm and permit you to focus on your performance as an athlete. Take the time to find what works for you.