It's perfectly natural to be nervous at meets; almost
all gymnasts have feelings of nervousness and anticipation while preparing for competition.
Even some of the best gymnasts in the world feel pressure to do well from their
coaches, their friends and family, and, most often, from themselves. Anticipation
is a natural response to pressure. And most of the time, it's a sign that you're
The only instances in which nerves are bad are when
you let them hinder your ability to perform to your potential. For example, many
gymnasts are so nervous on the balance beam that they can barely stay standing,
let alone do the skills required in their routines. Other situations in which pressure
can get the better of you: freezing in the middle of tricks or routines, forgetting
parts of your routine, or even when nerves get in the way of enjoying yourself.
Remember, meets are supposed to be fun. If you have
a problem getting yourself to relax at a meet, you need to get a handle on your
nerves before they get a handle on you. Try some of the following tips:
Work out hard at practice. The better you know
the skills you need to do, the less you need to worry about doing them at the
Get a good night's sleep the night before an event.
Your body should be fully rested in order to be at peak performance.
Before falling asleep, close your eyes, clear
your mind of everything, and mentally picture yourself doing several of each routine,
perfectly and without any flaws.
In the morning, picture yourself doing a few more
When you arrive at the gym, take a good look around
and familiarize yourself with the surroundings. Know where essential places, such
as the bathroom, are. This way, you don't have to run around frantically looking
for them later.
Warm up your body thoroughly. Relax your muscles,
and stretch them well. The last thing you need is an injury.
Be aware of everything you do. Your mind is the
control center of your body. You should know what it feels like to do a skill
correctly so when it's time to do it in competition, your body obeys your mind
without any doubt.
Before it is your turn to perform, sit down, clear
your mind, and picture another perfect routine.
If you make a mistake, don't dwell on it. What's
done is done, and it won't do any good to think "what might have been." Move on,
and concentrate on upcoming skills.
Take deep breaths.
Don't hold back. Confidence = success!
Smile! It's hard to feel nervous when you're
If you still have excessive nervousness, you might
want to take aside some time to try some relaxation techniques.