Like most Saturday’s and Sunday’s during this season of my life, I spent the past weekend at one of my son’s sporting events, and I had a parent approach me to share about his son’s struggle with pre-game anxiety. These conversations are quickly becoming the norm.
As more and more people learn about my story (see article here), the more I hear about the struggles of others. However, the big difference is my issues peaked as a college freshman, and the stories I hear are from middle and high school athletes with the occasional college athlete and adult business person mixed in.
Here are some comments:
- Before tournaments I look for the nearest trash can because I feel like I might throw up walking to the first tee box.
- Sometimes I would rather sit on the bench than play because I am so afraid of making a mistake.
- My son is so worried about playing well that he will not eat before games.
- I often feel so overwhelmed by my nervousness before games that I often contemplating quitting.
- I get so nervous before matches that I don’t even want to play anymore, yet I really enjoy practicing. I am so confused.
- I often want to quit playing in the middle of a match.
- I often can’t sleep the night before games because my mind won’t stop racing.
- Before big meetings I have to take a pill to calm my nerves so I don’t lose it in front of my clients.
- I feel so alone and am afraid to share how anxious I really am.
- I am beginning to hate my sport.
This is only the tip of the iceberg. Many more athletes are suffering in silence and solitude, tragically believing a lie that something is wrong with them.
The first thing I say to every person I work with is:
“There is nothing wrong with you. Your feelings are completely normal. You do not have to fear what you feel. Welcome to the human race.”
Coaches and parents please find a resource. Athletes, know you don’t have to suffer. You are not alone. Nothing is wrong with you. Resources exist.
Psychological freedom is the result of understanding how the
mind works, and not from a variety of tips, tools and strategies designed to provide temporary relief.