Tryout anxiety is real and a challenge for many athletes, especially those struggling with mental blocks or confidence. When it comes to tryouts there are two main responses that occur… “I am ready, BRING.IT.ON!” or more commonly, “I am so nervous, I don’t think I am ready!” If you fall into the first group congratulations, you confident athlete you. Go show off those hard earned skills and have a blast doing it! If you related more to the nervous response YOU ARE NOT ALONE! This is the most common response I hear from athletes and there is a reason you feel this way. It is likely that you are experiencing one of the common thinking errors when it comes to tryouts.
*In case you missed it, you can read all about the top 4 Tryout Thinking Errors in my last blog post by clicking here.
The truth… There are some common ways of thinking that tend to cause so much unnecessary pressure for athletes about tryouts. The way you think can make or break your performance no matter how talented you may be. As a mental performance coach, I help athletes understand how their mindset affects their performance. How would you like to walk into your next tryout head held high with confidence, excited to show off all of your awesomeness?! If you said YES, then keep reading as I share what to do instead when thinking errors come up.
3 Tips to Turn Tryout Anxiety into Excitement
#1 Focus on what you can control
Did you know that focus is a mental game skill?! Absolutely! This means that it can be improved. The secret to mastering focus is to figure out what is actually helpful to accomplishing what you want. Once you do that, then you must let go of the things that are causing you unnecessary pressure. You have no control over the decisions of your coach, who tries out, and the skills the other athletes perform. Focusing on these things is not helpful and adds pressure so you want to shift your focus away from these things.
So, what do you have control over?
1. Actions you take to prepare yourself and your skills,
2. Your attitude, and
3. Your confidence (Yes! you can control that, see below).
Instead of counting down the days until tryouts with panic, create a practice plan. If tryouts are in 2 months, write down what you can do this week to improve your skills. How many reps will you do? Will you pick up an extra private lesson? Do you need to stretch and work on your jumps every day? You control your attitude by shifting from worry to positivity and action. Commit to your plan and tell yourself “I am amazing”, and “I’ve got this”. You are in control of your emotions and actions so starve that fear and get ready for an AWESOME TRYOUT!
#2 Visualize what you want to happen
How much time do you spend imagining the worst possible scenario? You fear you will mess up, fall, or not throw a skill. You think about how your skills do not stack up against the competition, but you do not imagine the possibility of an incredible tryout. Visualization is powerful! Not just for recapping what happened but for preparing yourself mentally.
Close your eyes and picture yourself as the most confident, prepared version of you. How do you walk into the gym? How will you talk to people and the coaches? What will your warm ups look like?
If there are any mistakes or fears you have, picture those happening and how you will handle them. Will you allow mistakes to ‘ruin’ the day or will you accept them as part of being human and keep going? Imagine yourself performing your skills with ease, confidence, and power. Now decide that from now until tryouts, this is who you will become. This is one way to practice for greater confidence.
#3 Focus on what you bring to the table
I do not know your situation but what I do know is that you care about doing a great job and being your best. How do I know that? Because you are still reading this. You know there are pieces of your mental game that may be getting in your way and you are ready to do the work to become mentally tough. You are AMAZING and you do so many things so well. Allow that to be your focus instead of the few challenges you are working through.
What are you proud of? Even if you are not yet doing your skill(s) by yourself think of how far you have come. Think about all of the things you do so well and allow that to fuel your belief in yourself (self-confidence). You are unique and not only have strong skills but you work hard. You show up and do a good job. You take care of yourself outside of your sport by being a good person. Do you take care of your body by getting sleep, eating healthy, and conditioning? All of these things matter just as much as your skills so take pride in them. Be confident in all of the amazing things you do and are. You’ve got this!
It is your choice. You can choose to stay stuck in the worry cycle that fuels self-doubt OR you can let go of the fear and be confident. I believe in you and am cheering you on!
If you are dealing with a mental block or just fears and anxiety related to tryouts or the upcoming competition season, I would love the opportunity to support you. Now is the time to start working on your mental game so you can be ready to tryout with confidence!
As a Mental Performance Coach, I help athletes turn anxiety and fears into confidence and joy. Through 1-on-1 private coaching, learning content, and application guides I teach athletes how to master their mindset so they can achieve their biggest goals.
If you want to learn more and see if Mental Coaching is right for you, I invite you to schedule a 30-minute no-cost Performance Check Session.
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