How to be an extremely confident and calm athlete during competition season.


Lilly Tubbs, Staff Writer

Elite athletes are expected to perform during competitions since they have been training long hours to get to where they are now.  I am sure many elite athletes have heard “You will compete like you train.” Typically, an elite level athlete knows it is not about luck anymore, it is about who is more prepared.  


It is important to identify if the anxiety is from internal or external factors to help combat the competition day nerves. Many athletes before are fighting an intense mental game.  As a gymnast, I know how important it is to stay calm and confident during competitions.


Here are some tips that may help athletes stay calm during competitions:

  1. Create a pre-competition routine. For example, the Olympic Snowboarder, Jamie Anderson hugs trees before her event.  Routines are helpful because they are rituals that maintain your level of control and confidence.
  2. Adopt breathing techniques. Breathing is a systematic approach to relaxing the muscles and calming nerves. It allows athletes to stop and focus on something that is more important than their nervous or anxiety.
  3. Visualizing success will help give you more confidence and remain calm. Athletes have a vision of winning, but this vision must reside in each athlete every day to help succeed. An athlete’s vision is a guide to the competition day success.
  4. Confidence is a must. An elite athlete has prepared but they must prepare even more than an average athlete. When an athlete has not prepared and put forth the effort, nerves on the day of the completion will be higher than normal; therefore, it is important to prepare and then prepare more! Confidence is key and is something easy for an elite athlete to control to prepare for competition.
  5. Focus and refocus. An elite athlete should stay focused on themselves and their own performance. When an athlete focuses on who is doing what and scoring what, will intensify their anxiety and possibly loose their own focus. Staying focused will keep an athlete calm and confident.
  6. Focus on what YOU can control. An elite athlete should only focus on what they can control themselves. It is a waste of time to focus on negative energy of others and all the “What if” questions that float through the mind.
  7. HAVE FUN! Most important part of staying calm is living in the moment and having fun! Remember the reason for starting the sport and the adrenaline felt when training and competing.  This is your day and live in that moment!