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Performance Anxiety and the Superbowl: What the Pros Do to Overcome Stage Fright

It’s one of the most watched events in America, seen my millions of people! It’s invigorating and exciting! It’s ground shaking and monumental! It’s the Superbowl!!! While it’s exciting for those off the field, those on the field may struggle with anxiety before and during the big game. Performance anxiety impacts up to 30% of the adult population but the stress of a game as important as the Superbowl can give athletes anxiety.

How Athletes Cope with Performance Anxiety

What do they do? How do athletes cope with anxiety without allowing the pressure to leave them ineffective on the field or court? They work hard on and off season to perform. You’re probably saying, of course athletes work hard, they work out, they do drills, they practice—practice makes perfect, right?

To effectively cope with performance anxiety, methods such as breathing techniques, decompressing, and learning how to stay in the moment instead of worrying about what may or may not happen during the game are used.

Sports psychologists as well as the National Institute of Health recommend that athletes facing anxiety both on and off the field be treated by trained mental health professionals right away. Left untreated, anxiety can lead to serious psychological disorders which may lead to increased risk of athlete injury during the game. As much as there are high expectations for these games like the Superbowl, players are encouraged to go out, have fun, and stay positive—after all, it is “just a game.”

Looking forward to an exciting game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers!

Author
Dr. Ifeanyi Olele Ifeanyi Olele, DO, MBA, MS, is a board-certified psychiatrist who sees adolescent and adult patients in the greater Washington DC metropolitan area at Genesis Psychiatric Solutions. Dr. Olele is a dedicated psychiatrist in the treatment of anxiety, depression, trauma-related stress disorders, and attention deficit disorders. Dr. Ifeanyi Olele is one of the few psychiatrists who utilizes psychotherapy (talk therapy) as part of his treatment plan.

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