In this guide, we will discuss “How to not be nervous for lacrosse” and a few useful tips to help you calm your nerves before a lacrosse game.
How to not be nervous for lacrosse?
You may be wondering, ‘How to not be nervous for lacrosse?’, especially if you would like to be part of the team. We all feel nervous sometimes and it is completely normal so there is no need to feel ashamed or bad about it. Moreover, feeling nervous means you care about it but sometimes we tend to care too much, so we need a balance.
Before a lacrosse game or tryouts we may feel so nervous we start having certain physical symptoms such as an increase in your heartbeat as if you were about to have a heart attack, your breathing becomes shallow, your stomach may hurt, you can feel dizzy or about to faint, etc. Many people get to have different symptoms but the point is that this is an anxious response.
Moreover, the lacrosse game is close and your body reacts to the situation that is perceived as threatening or harmful (even if it isn’t really) and sends an ‘emergency signal’ or alert to prepare you to run away or face the situation. However, getting nervous is not necessarily a bad thing, it can also be good. Yes, the feeling is not something we enjoy but in time we could flip the switch and turn it into a good kind of feeling.
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The ‘flight or fight’ response: is it good or bad?
As we mentioned, being nervous is not necessarily a bad thing, it means your body is preparing to perform at a higher level. The ‘flight or fight’ response has been wired into our brain for thousands of years, ensuring our survival when we need it the most. However, let’s think for a second how in our modern world we are not exposed to the dangers our ancestors were.
Imagine you are out in the woods and you run into a bear, which probably won’t happen often but still is a great example on how our brain sends an ‘alert’ signal throughout our body to command the release of adrenaline into our blood system. This will inevitably make all of our senses more accurate and since most of our blood gets concentrated in our muscles then we are able to run faster, jump higher or in this case, stop more lacrosse balls.
Subsequently, anxiety or feeling nervous is not a bad thing after all and we could actually think it works to benefit us in particular situations.
What is the problem with being nervous?
We talked about how under particular situations feeling nervous or anxious can actually work on our favour, for instance, at a lacrosse game. The real problem with feeling nervous is how anxiety tends to build up when we are not playing, for instance, imagine you are paying attention to class and suddenly there is an intrusive thought related to practice, tryouts or a tournament.
It is enough to get our flight or fight response triggered where we can feel how our heart rate increases, our stomach feels funny, we go from cold to hot in a minute. This can be quite exhausting to be honest and the truth is all this adrenalin flowing through our body will go to waste because we are not at an actual game to spend the energy.
What can we do? Your brain won’t be able to differentiate between the thoughts you are having and the real threat so it reacts. However, if you are able to get your mind off the game, try out or practice, but how can you do that? We will talk about it next.
Don’t fight your nervousness
Fighting your nervousness will only increase anxiety, it is a vicious cycle. Instead, accept and acknowledge you are nervous, you could think something like ‘Ok, I am nervous but this is completely normal and it is not something to worry about’.
Instead of worrying, flip the switch from being nervous to being excited, How? Well, if you analyze the situation, when you feel excited or happy, you have virtually the same symptoms as when you are nervous, although a different perception about them, meaning, negative when you are nervous and positive when you are excited/happy.
Be in the present moment
It is easy to let our thoughts take control over how we feel and behave. Before a big game, our mind can take us further into the future or back to the past and so on. This contributes to our anxiety. The idea is to focus on the present moment since we don’t really know what will happen in the future with certainty and we can’t change the past, what matters is what we do not in the present moment.
Meditation can be a really useful tool to help us recognize when our mind is drifting away and helping us come back to the present moment. Just take some deep breaths and feel everything around you as it comes.
Trust your abilities
We could think about how we are not at the same level as other team members or other athletes. Yes, we could perceive how there are better players than us but we need to remain calm and confident about our abilities or we wouldn’t be playing in the first place right?
If you believe there are better players out there, faster, stronger, etc., use this as motivation and as an opportunity to improve your skills and abilities when playing this sport (or any other).
Have fun, think less
As we have mentioned, our thoughts will make us feel nervous and anxious so we can say they could become our worst enemy. Instead, try to have fun, show the passion and interest you have while playing lacrosse.
Overthinking, especially when we feel there are situations we can’t control, will only take the fun out of the situation, will make us feel less confident in our strengths and abilities when performing. Try to let go of the uncontrollable, those things you can’t control and try to work with what you can.
Don’t be too hard on yourself
Most of the time we can be extremely hard on ourselves, no need for other people to judge us or criticize because we do that on our own, but why is this? Well, we tend to set really high standards for ourselves and when they are not met we get frustrated and angry.
Remember you are allowed to make mistakes, you are not perfect but do things to the best of your abilities focusing on the positives. If there are things to correct or things you see you can improve then do it but don’t dwell on it.
Why is this blog about How to not be nervous for lacrosse important?
In this blog about ‘How not to be nervous for lacrosse,’ we talked about how normal it is to feel nervous and how it can actually be used to perform at the best of our abilities. Flipping the switch from a negative sensation to something positive will help us manage our anxiety.
Moreover, remember not to fight the feeling but recognize and acknowledge it as a normal part of life. Feeling nervous from time to time is not a bad thing but remember to seek help if it becomes too overwhelming that it disrupts your day to day activities. Also, try to live in the present moment, not the past to go over mistakes and certainly not the future because we don’t have any certainty about how things will develop.Finally, try to have fun and when you find yourself overthinking about it then change the focus and concentrate on something else.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about How to not be nervous for lacrosse
How can I hide nervousness?
If you try to hide your nervousness then your natural response would be to fight the feeling. However, instead of fighting try to acknowledge you feel nervous and recognize it is normal. Moreover, breathing will be very important to help you decrease anxiety.
Should I try out for lacrosse?
You should try out for lacrosse if you really like the sport or you feel passionate about it. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be perfect at it. Effective lacrosse coaches will normally look for athletes that can be taught about technique, mechanics of throwing, and catching. Cradling, hitting and dodging. Additionally, if you have experience with basketball then it could be a plus since it can help with setting picks and moving without the ball.
How do you calm your nerves for sports?
To calm your nerves for sports practice deep breathing by finding a quiet and comfortable place. You could start by taking a few deep breaths (i.e. five) and then increase it (i.e. ten). Before your game you could close your eyes, breathe and feel how the stress and anxiety decrease considerably.
Should I try out for lacrosse?
If you want to belong to the lacrosse team then yes, go to the tryout. Just as in any other sport, lacrosse coaches are always looking for good athletes or those that even though are not extremely good they know the basics such as throwing, cradling, hitting and dodging. If you are not that good don’t worry, what really matters is your willingness to learn, it is extremely valuable for coaches.
What to drink to calm nerves?
There are some drinks that are said to aid calm your nerves such as green tea, valerian, cherry juice, black tea, warm milk, chamomile, water and fresh veggie juice.
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Lacrossegoalietips.com: “Are You Getting Nervous For Lacrosse Season?”
Hallissey, T. (2015, Nov.) How to Conquer Your Sports Anxiety Issues. Retrieved from blog.nylizards.com.