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Rachel Sung May 4 2018

Butterfly Training Tips: How to calm nerves before a match with Rachel Sung

(By Rachel Sung)

As players, we often hear our coaches and parents telling us before the match to relax and avoid letting our worries affect our game. Although it seems simple, getting rid of nerves before a crucial match seems nearly impossible. While we must note that feelings of stress and restlessness before a match are completely normal—sometimes even helpful— there are a couple methods that might prove effective in helping you calm the pregame tension.

1. Find an empty space and listen to your favorite inspiring/motivating songs

Personally, music has shown to be the most successful in quelling my nerves about the upcoming match. Blasting some fast paced music in my earphones loosens my body and clears my mind to prepare me both mentally and physically for competition. From past experience, listening to music works best when you find a quiet environment as empty surroundings give you more room to freely release your emotions. Moreover, vacant areas provide us with the flexibility to do anything necessary in getting rid of the jitters, whether it’s dancing or singing. Try this method out next time you experience severe nervousness: walk away from the people around you and get your body/mind primed for the match.

2. Breathing Techniques and Self Reassurance

Oftentimes, simple exercises like sitting down and slowing down your breathing can be extremely beneficial in soothing your anxiety and uneasiness. Deep breaths in and out give you a sense of calmness, further improving your mentality going into the game. Another method to boost your confidence before a match is to visualize yourself playing your best game and convince your mind that you have the ability to hit or make the shots you’ve practiced for so long. One of the best ways to equip yourself with added reassurance is to go back and watch some of your own highlight videos; rewatching some of the best matches you have played tend to instill in your confidence and trust in your own skills. Next time you feel your muscles cramping and heart racing prior to a match, try out these methods, maybe one of them will be useful.

One of Rachel’s recent matches at the T2 Challenge
(Courtesy of T2 Diamond)

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