How to not be nervous for gymnastics meets? (Tips)

In this guide, we will answer the question “How to not be nervous for gymnastics meets” and we will present some professional tips when managing anxiety before a meet or competition. Try not to focus on the outcome, trust your abilities, the time and effort you have invested into practice, make sure you have fun and enjoy.

How to not be nervous for gymnastics meets?

If you wonder ‘How to not be nervous for gymnastics meets?’ here we have some quick tips to tackle your nerves:

  • Try to keep your pre-meet routine the same.
  • Mentally imagine your pre-competition routine.
  • Try not to concentrate on the outcome, instead focus on the process.
  • If you lose focus, try to bring yourself to the present moment and engage all your senses.
  • Positive thinking and goal setting.
  • Keep your focus on you and your performance.
  • Doing breathing exercises.

First time competing?

If you are a gymnast and you are getting ready for your first competition know that feeling nervous is completely normal. However, our nerves can actually take control and prevent us from performing at the best of our abilities. Have you ever thought about adopting a mantra? Some professionals believe it is very useful. Here are some examples: 

  • “This is what I have been worked so hard for”
  • “Take it one competition at a time”
  • “It is my time to shine!”
  • “I will do my best and forget about the rest”
  • “I have got more to win than to lose”
  • “I will have fun no matter what”

Mental toughness

You have rehearsed the routine a million times you can even do it with your eyes closed but being mentally strong is not something you are born with, it is something you learn with a little practice. By doing this, you will learn how to keep your nerves from messing up with your performance. There is just a natural tendency to think that being nervous is a bad thing but when we shift the focus, they can work in our favour.

Finally, remember that even the professionals feel nervous every time they have to compete so it is just natural you get to experience the same feeling.however, in time competitions seem to get easier and you will develop coping skills.

Prepare yourself

If you feel prepared, you will feel more confident and less anxious. Ideally, you will start preparing before the meet season even begins so just make sure to work hard and dedicate yourself to training and practice.

Also, go into practice with a mindset where you strive to do your best, then this is your first step into getting prepared for your meet. However, it can be tempting to show up to practice and start catching up with your friends through your phone but missing some reps or leaving your routines halfway can be detrimental. Stay focused when you are getting prepared!

Visualization is a powerful tool!

Visualization can help you overcome your nerves and calm yourself down before a gymnastic meet. As recommended by gymnasticshq.com, “Visualization simply means creating an image in your mind of how you want things to be. For example, imagine yourself doing your back handspring with good form is considered visualization.”

A way to visualize is to run through your routine the night before your meet. When going through your routines in your mind, picture yourself calm and relaxed. Imagine yourself executing your routine at the best of your abilities and try to force yourself to smile every time you do it, How does it feel? Imagine the people clapping and cheering. Feel the joy and excitement.

Catastrophizing 

When we are anxious our mind starts to think about the worst possible outcomes. We also start negative self-talk saying things like ‘Perhaps I am just not good enough’ or ‘everyone is better than I am’, ‘If I don’t win, it means I am a failure’, and so on. 

Let’s think about a crucial question, ‘what is the worst thing that can happen?’ and try to answer it yourself with honesty. For instance, you could think that the worst thing that can happen is not winning but there is always another competition and this leads us to improve and get better. 

Doing this mental exercise before the competition can help you think about the worst possible scenarios and the things you fear the most so you can go into your competition knowing you can still use all your skills to perform your best not focusing solely on the outcome.

Establish a ritual

According to gymnasticshq.com, it is recommended to establish a pre-competition routine that you can follow before every meet. Besides, “Having consistency before a meet will put you at ease and help you go through the motions of competing without having to overthink things. The less your brain has to stress over what to do, the calmer you’ll feel.”

How to not be nervous for gymnastics meets? (Tips)

This will give you that familiar sense if you have practised it over and over again. However, be flexible, because sometimes there are unexpected situations that won’t let you follow your routine 100% the same every time but try to keep certain elements. Sometimes, a pre-competition routine may be established without you even realizing it is.

For instance, you may eat the same breakfast before a competition or wear the same hairstyle every time. More likely, your coach has created a special warm-up routine before every competition. 

Focus on what you can control

When we are anxious, we have a sense of uncertainty about the future and about what will happen but there are certain situations we can’t control. For instance, if we knew before competing that we would win then there wouldn’t be a need to practice and commit to your routine or if we could control how other gymnasts perform it would be easier and we wouldn’t have to feel nervous at all.  

Instead, not knowing the outcome or wanting for it to be the way we want is out of our control. What we can control is the way we perform, the energy and effort we put into it and of course, our positive mindset no matter what happens.

Getting enough rest the night before

Avoid watching movies, doing homework or doing other things until late at night the day before a meet. professionals recommend getting a lot of rest and a good night’s sleep before training or competition.  If you are tired during a competition or training, it will certainly make you feel tired and you will not perform at your best.

Finally, try not to eat too much the night before since it can give you a stomachache and prevent you from sleeping the whole night through.

How to not be nervous for gymnastics meets? (Tips)

Why is this blog about How to not be nervous for gymnastics meets important?

As we have discussed, being nervous before a gymnastics meet is normal. However, there are ways to cope with your anxiety to prevent it from affecting your performance or performing at the best of your abilities. Some of the tips we have shared such as keeping a pre-meet routine the same every time, mentally imagining your pre-competition routine, trying not to concentrate on the outcome, instead focus on the process and if you lose focus, try to bring yourself to the present moment and engage all your senses.

However, consider that there are things that we can’t control so try to focus on those that you can, such as preparing your routine, smiling to the crowd, having a positive attitude, etc.as long as you do your best every time and stop focusing on whether you win or lose then you will become more relaxed and confident about your meet.

Please feel free to leave any comments or thoughts about the content of this article!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about How to not be nervous for gymnastics meets

How do I calm my nerves before a gymnastics meet?

If you want to calm your nerves before a gymnastic meet, one way to start is to visualize and run through your routines the night before your meet. While doing your routines (in your mind), see yourself as calm and relaxed. Also, try implementing some breathing exercises as well as some meditation

What should I do the night before a gymnastics meet?

The night before a gymnastics meet it is recommended to prepare yourself. By preparing we mean packing the necessary stuff and making sure you take your gymnastics equipment with your (i.e. wristbands, grips, etc.). Before the meet, make sure you eat healthily but avoid eating too much or you will get a stomachache. Drink water to stay hydrated and avoid pop sodas. Finally, make sure you get a good night’s sleep (8 to 9 hours).

How do I stop anxiety before a competition?

Here are some tips on how to overcome anxiety before a competition:

– Focus on the task at hand instead of the outcome. Try to keep yourself in the present moment instead of thinking too far in the future.
– Imagine a good practice day and how happy, calm and relaxed it makes you feel.
– Smile and laugh as much as you can. This will help with your nerves.
– Compete as you don’t mind about the outcome.

How do you not get nervous when playing sports?

To manage your nerves while playing sports, try to:

– Mentally put yourself in situations where you are under pressure. – Plan how you will think and react to that specific situation.
– Imagine you are executing your skills at the best of your abilities.
– Focus your mind on the present moment and engage all your five senses.
– Think about all the difficult situations you have gone through and compare them to that moment.
– Focus on one thing you can lock your eyes and mind onto.
– Be confident and build trust by using a mantra.

What does Simone Biles eat in a day?

Simon Biles prefers to start her day eating Kellogg’s Red Berries. If she is not in the mood for cereal then sometimes she gets a plate of egg whites to switch up with some added extra protein powder.

References 

Gymnasticshq.com: “6 THINGS TO DO BEFORE EVERY GYMNASTICS MEET TO HANDLE YOUR NERVES AND PERFORM YOUR BEST”

Juanita Agboola

Juanita Agboola is the editor in chief of HFNE and an expert in mental health online. She has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues since 2012. All Guides are reviewed by our editorial team which constitutes various clinical psychologists, PhD and PsyD colleagues.