Archive for the ‘Track & Field’ Category

How to Reduce Sports Performance Anxiety

March 28, 2013

Stressed AthleteAnxiety is one of the primary issues that athletes want help with. A certain amount of adrenaline is necessary to play well. I refer to this as a state of “heightened awareness”. You need to be excited and pumped up to a certain extent to want to perform. But when you have too much adrenaline, it turns into anxiety and can negatively affect your performance as well as make you feel miserable.

Pre-performance anxiety is caused by negative thoughts you have about your upcoming performance. Most often those thoughts are about pushing to make something happen; that feeling of intense pressure to play perfectly.

Start with This

Make a list of all your thoughts about performing. Start with the thought that creates the most anxiety and tap on that thought until it no longer feels true. Then take the next most intense anxiety-producing thought and tap on that until it no longer feels true. Continue with your entire list until you feel neutral about these thoughts. This process will help to clear out what is likely causing the majority of your anxiety.

If anxiety develops while you’re in the midst of your performance, you can discretely tap your karate chop point on the side of your leg, the end of your bat, the butt of the golf club, etc. Make sure you’re focused on what you are fearful about when you do this.

Here is a general performance anxiety protocol I developed for my athletes to use before they head out to play in any competition when they feel the need. Some of these statements may feel exaggerated to you but tap them anyway, you’ll feel better once you do. (If after you tap this protocol you still have some anxiety, tap through it one more time.)

Tapping Protocol for Performance Anxiety

Tap Karate Chop Point while repeating 3 times:

“Even though I’m holding this anxiety in every cell of my body, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.”

Now repeat one statement at each point as you tap:

  • I always feel so anxious before I play
  • I can’t focus or think clearly
  • Sometimes I feel sick to my stomach I have so much anxiety
  • My conscious mind focuses on the future rather than in this current moment
  • My conscious mind starts to make up stories about the trouble I’ll have
  • I’m afraid I’ll play poorly
  • I feel like I have to push and make something happen today
  • I think I have to play perfectly today
  • I’m afraid to go out and play
  • I am so tired of always feeling this anxious before I perform
  • My anxiety feels overwhelming at times
  • The stories I’m making up about what may happen out there are so negative
  • I’m only  focused on all the things that could go wrong
  • I’m having trouble seeing what I do right when I perform
  • If I don’t play perfectly it doesn’t count
  • I have to go out there and make it happen

Tap Karate Chop Point while repeating:

“I give my body permission to release this anxiety from every cell. My body can choose to relax and let go of this anxiety. My body can relax and let go of having to make something happen today. I give my body permission to release this anxiety from every cell membrane and cell receptor site.”

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Have You Heard Our Olympians Using the “F” Word?

August 8, 2012

That’s right…a few of our gold medal winning athletes at the 2012 London Olympics have used the “F” word on national television! They’re talking about how much FUN they’re having performing and how much they’re enjoying themselves.

On Aug. 4th, I heard an interview with Michael Phelps and he said, “when I first got here (in London), I was too intense. Then I just started smiling more…I started smiling and enjoying it.” And after that shift he won a gold medal and then he won a couple more.

Swimmer Missy Franklin talked about how she didn’t come into these games with any expectations about medaling. Her goal was to get closer to her teammates and enjoy her experience.

It’s no coincidence that an athlete talking about having fun is a gold medal winner. To understand what happens on a physiological level when you perform from a place of joy and having fun, please listen to my radio episode on this very topic:

I invite you to follow in the footsteps of some of our gold medal winners and start having fun again with your performance!

Mastering the Emotion of Anger

February 25, 2011

Anger is a very powerful and necessary emotion! Anger can help us take crucial action in our lives. It can be the most useful emotion in certain situations. Experiencing anger and expressing it in an appropriate way is a natural part of our human experience.

But did you know that some people become addicted to anger? The cell receptors in our body (and we have zillions of them) can become addicted to the emotional chemical of anger. Then our body creates hard wired pathways of thoughts to activate the release of the emotional chemical of anger. Then we subconsciously create situations that cause those hard wired thoughts to fire and that causes anger to release so the cells get their fix.

Everyone’s body has a cellular addiction to an emotion. It’s easy to discover your body’s emotional chemical addiction…what is your predominant emotion that comes up for you over and over? Mine is worry/fear. (Worry is really a function of the mind, but then my brain then releases the chemical of fear.)

Maybe you know someone who is often sad, or someone who is often guilty, or someone who is fearful about everything, or someone who is always hurt, or someone who is always angry. That is their body’s cellular addiction.

In my presentation tonight at the 2011 Tapping World Summit, I’ll address the cellular addiction to anger and how to tap for that to help the body begin to release this addiction. Although we focus on anger in my presentation, the remedy I provide applies to any emotion that your cells may be addicted to.

In addition, we’ll be talking about and tapping on all aspects of anger – whether you are someone who is angry all the time, has trouble recognizing anger or who is afraid of anger, you won’t want to miss my powerful presentation on anger.

If you haven’t already registered for the 2011 Tapping World Summit, it’s not too late. Just click on this link to register:

Two tapping experts are presenting every day at the Summit and you have 24 hrs. to listen to their presentation for free. You won’t want to miss this valuable event that runs from February 21st – March 3rd, 2011.

Your Soreness May Not Be What You Think It Is!

August 9, 2009

OBaseball Catcherne of the biggest challenges I’ve had with athletes is getting them to look at a sore part of their body in a whole new way and then tap for that. Athletes are so conditioned to think that if some part of their body is sore, it’s because they were over-using that part of the body either in competition or practice. (I’m not talking about soreness that accompanies a real injury or after workouts.)

I’ll illustrate this by sharing a great story. I worked with an MLB catcher for three seasons before he retired. During the season, we would do weekly sessions to stay on top of issues that arose. For three solid seasons we had the exact same conversation, and it went like this:

Me: How is your shoulder and how are your knees?

Him: Well my shoulder is a little sore because I’ve been catching a lot this week (or my knees are a little sore because I’ve been catching a lot this week).

Me: Your shoulder (knees) isn’t sore from catching, it’s because there’s something you are emotionally upset about that didn’t get processed out of your body and it’s sitting in your shoulder (knees). Do you have any idea what that might be?

Him: No, not really. (Sometimes he did know.)

Me: How are things with your wife? How are things with your kids? How are things with your teammates? How are things with management? (After getting to know him, I narrowed it down to this list of questions.)

Him: He would name what he was upset about.

Me: Okay, move your shoulder (or bend your knees) and tell me on a scale from 0-10 how sore it feels.

Him: It’s about a 6 (that usually seemed to be the level of soreness).

Me: Let’s tap on the emotional upset. We do the tapping and then I ask him to move his shoulder or bend his knees and now tell me the level of soreness.

Him: He giggles and says “that’s amazing, it’s gone.”

Me: Yes, that’s because the soreness wasn’t from throwing and catching, it was the emotional upset that got stored in your shoulder (knees) to get your attention.

On the very last day I worked with him, we had this conversation again and tapped one more time for his soreness. Only this time we had a different ending (after he giggled and said “that’s amazing, the soreness is gone”)!

Him: So what you’re telling me is that when I’m upset about something it can settle into my shoulder and knees and cause soreness.

Me: Yes, that’s exactly what I’m telling you.

Him: So all these old retired catchers that are walking around all crippled, it’s not from catching all those games, it’s from all the emotional stuff that happened during the course of their career that never got processed and is still sitting in their body.

Me: Yes, that’s exactly what I’m telling you.

Him: So what you’re telling me is that I don’t have to be crippled when I’m older.

Me: Yes, that’s exactly what I’m telling you.

It brings tears to my eyes every time I tell this story. This man believed he would suffer the same fate as some other retired catchers and have to live a life crippled and in pain from years of catching. He now knows this isn’t true.

My experience with him is a common one among all my athletes. From golfers who believe their shoulders and backs are sore from swinging too much to runners that believe their legs are sore from practice, time and time again I’ve been able to show them it’s not what they think it is.

While emotions have an energy and frequency to them, first and foremost, they are chemicals that are released by the brain and flood the body. When you are angry with someone, that chemical of anger releases from your hypothalamus and floods your body, docking onto cell receptors made just for anger. I have come to believe that our body will place that anger (or whatever the emotion is) in a location that will be sure to get our attention. For athletes, that location is usually in the part of your body you use the most in your sport. It sure does get your attention!

With the use of Emotional Freedom Techniques it’s easy to speak to the body and release that soreness. The biggest challenge is the athlete’s conditioning around this issue. I spend a fair amount of time retraining athletes to ask this question when they notice soreness and their mind says it’s from competition or practice, “what’s happened in the last 24 to 48 hours that I’m upset about?” Your mind will do a “computer search” and pop up the answer and that’s what you tap on. Keep tapping on the issue and all the aspects around it until the soreness is gone. I promise you’ll be amazed!

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