Battling Performance Anxiety as a College Athlete | 2aDays

Battling Performance Anxiety as a College Athlete

Anxiety is something that no individual asks for or wants. While some athletes use the pregame time to get pumped up and ready to play, others may face performance anxiety. This can lead to the athlete feeling negative thoughts as a result of the rush of adrenaline before a game. 

In short, performance anxiety can directly affect how an athlete plays. Here’s how to combat it and stay on top of your game.

How to Manage Your Symptoms

In order to combat performance anxiety, there are several things that an athlete can do. To begin, set a pregame routine that you like and stick to it for every single game. Getting yourself into a “ritual” that you do over and over again will help to keep you better prepared in case your anxiety tries to take over. Also, it may help to go over your pregame routine with a friend or two from your team. Having and seeing others do the same thing you are doing will help to keep your mind off of the negative thoughts.

Related: Handling Anxiety as a College Athlete

Make Use of Visualization

If you find that your performance anxiety and negative thoughts are based around the idea of failure during your competition, attempt to visualize your successes. In order to achieve this, you need to close your eyes and imagine yourself in the game that you are about to go out there and play in. This will also help to allow your thoughts to slow down and become more focused on what you are trying to visualize as opposed to the negative thoughts that are constantly trying to cloud your mind.

Related: Webinar: The Silent Struggle – Mental Health of College Athletes


The final tip that can lead to you successfully combating your performance anxiety is to simply relax your mind and your body and slow down. It is normal for those with anxiety to allow the negative thoughts to take over. You are not alone in how you feel. The sooner that you accept what is happening to you, the sooner you can make steps to improve it, starting with forcing yourself to take deep breaths and relax.

If your performance anxiety becomes unbearable or you’re struggling with your mental health and need resources, here are some places to look:

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 800-273-8255

American Psychiatric Foundation

Anxiety and Depression Association of America

National Alliance on Mental Illness 

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