Extreme nervousness before matches

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by momtogrif, Nov 7, 2009.

  1. momtogrif

    momtogrif Rookie

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    Does anyone else get really anxious before a match, even hours before it's set to occur? I'm looking for strategies to quell the butterflies. I don't know why the nervousness is happening but it leaves as soon as I'm on court. Weak legs, nausea, etc and it's killing me.

    I don't want to give up playing and I don't want to go on anxiety meds b/c I don't handle any kinds of meds very well. Guess I just want to know if I'm the only one or if there's hope???? Thanks,

    B
     
    #1
  2. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    I don't really see the problem if it leaves you as soon as you get on the court. So just be nervous for a while. BTW, one book I read said that it's GOOD to be nervous before your match. What's bad is when you're not nervous at all, that means you're flat. Think if being nervous before the match as a good thing, and it won't bother you as much.
     
    #2
  3. Jim A

    Jim A Professional

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    I would get a sports psych book and read through it,
     
    #3
  4. rich s

    rich s Hall of Fame

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    http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/nextlevel.html

    Scroll down to the bottom of the page.

    On the left hand side is a bunch of videos by Dr Fox. They can be helpful.....I watch them from time to time.......
     
    #4
  5. Lex

    Lex Rookie

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    A little bit of pre-match butterflies ARE GOOD!
    Feel that edrenaline dump? Learn to enjoy it.
    Visualize yourself hitting perfect strokes.

    I used to have my track athletes (when I coached) visualize the perfect race. All the while, remembering how their muscles felt, breathing, eyes, etc.

    If you were to look at a standard bell curve, you'd see where the "performance" and "excitement" axis' would intersect. Too much or too little can be bad.


    Play some of your favorite "pumped up" music on your way to the match, etc.

    Bottom line: We're not playing for a paycheck...enjoy the competition and recreation!!
     
    #5
  6. Annika

    Annika Semi-Pro

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    Things I do to keep me calm before heading out the door or on my way to a match:

    Don't drink too much coffee
    Pack my bag the night before & put in car????
    Get up early enough to have breakfast

    Don't smoke
    Listen to calming music
    Do some meditation in the car on my way to the match

    :-?
     
    #6
  7. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    Apart from the smoking, I do almost exactly the opposite:shock:
     
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  8. momtogrif

    momtogrif Rookie

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    Thank you for all the suggestions. My biggest problem is that I'm darn near close to vomiting(and have on occasion) so I don't like to eat the days I play matches. For AM matches I can't even eat breakfast and for evening matches I can usually get lunch down but I won't eat until I'm out on court where I'll have some pretzels or a food bar.
     
    #8
  9. ttbrowne

    ttbrowne Hall of Fame

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    Wish I had your problem. Nowadays I have to pump myself up to play. I love the game but I don't always enjoy playing every match. I can just "show up" sometimes. When the first serve is hit, I'm thinking, "Wish I was anywhere but here."
    Then sometimes I can't wait to play. And I've noticed that it doesn't matter who I play, I still get lackadasical. I use Tylenol Migrane medicine just to get a rush of caffiene to get my intrerest up.
     
    #9
  10. Vyse

    Vyse Semi-Pro

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    i always have to pee alot cuz im nervous. Doesn't matter to me, I just think of it as my body getting rid of excess weight so I run faster
     
    #10
  11. Annika

    Annika Semi-Pro

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    ROFL! :?

    Awww It's just a game. :)
     
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  12. momtogrif

    momtogrif Rookie

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    I 'know' that in my head but my anxiety ridden brain just doesn't send the right message to my body!
     
    #12
  13. dbusiness

    dbusiness Rookie

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    It's unclear if you are playing matches against new people you haven't met or just matches in general.

    The things you do before a match, make sure your equipment is in good order,
    have you put in the practice, and workouts? On the way to the courts you should
    have some motivational or mood music that will have you feeling good, focused, and energized to play.

    When playing someone new the uncertainty can be unnerving at times but that's
    what all the preparation is for. Having played off and on for a number of years
    there isn't much I haven't seen and if they are at the same ranking level the same
    will be true for you.

    Just like any match you win some and lose some. If you lost your bruised ego always heals. Everyone here has a playing style they have trouble conquering. Playing singles and doubles, pushers, dinkers, hard hitters, spin artist, and on hard courts and clay makes you into an all around player who has weaknesses but these will be less visible to your opponent.

    I'm like Melanie Oudin in that I don't care if you have the best coach, equipment, or if you've beaten someone who beats me when I go on the court. I believe in my game and know that I belong there.
     
    #13
  14. AndrewD

    AndrewD Legend

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    In the 26 years I played football (Australian Rules), from junior level and including 12 years as a professional, I would get so nervous that I couldn't eat anything at intervals during the match (each match divided into quarters) because I thought I'd throw up. As soon as the game recommenced, the nerves would disappear. Didn't stop me playing at almost the highest level possible in that sport. My biggest problem was ensuring I ate sufficiently on the day of a match. I never got to the point where I could eat a lot, compared to others, but I found what worked for me (I'd eat a bigger meal the night before - carbs and protein then go light on match day - toast, juices, select raw fruit).

    So, please, don't even think of using medication. Laugh at that idea, don't entertain it.
     
    #14
  15. snoopy

    snoopy Professional

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    There's nothing wrong with being nervous as long as it doesn't incapacitate you.

    I recall watching an interview with Oscar Robertson, a player who has won more basketball championships than any other player. He said he was nervous before every game he played.
     
    #15
  16. THESEXPISTOL

    THESEXPISTOL Hall of Fame

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    You just need to get in the mood..
    Sleep well (not to much), feel comfortable, eat well, take you mp3 player with you a create a playlist with whatever works with you (i like rock music to set me on the mood), watch other players if you can, try to figure out situations that might occur during the match. That works for me.

    Brad Gilbert in winning ugly said that when he was nervous before a match he would read the label (wilson, pean, dunlop, head, whatever the brand is) of the ball everytime the ball crossed the net for him during the warm-ups..
    When you come into the court to concentrate try to read the label on the b
     
    #16
  17. Capt. Willie

    Capt. Willie Professional

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    Alprazolam. ;)
     
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  18. eagle

    eagle Hall of Fame

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    Come to the realization that it is only a game. You are not an ATP pro.

    Your life, your family, livelihood, or your property are not at stake.

    It doesn't define you.

    Win or lose, it doesn't make you more or less of a person.

    Once you accept that, you will be more relaxed and have a lot more fun.

    Good luck.

    r,
    eagle
     
    #18
  19. nickarnold2000

    nickarnold2000 Hall of Fame

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    I always liked Agassi's attitude - don't worry about winning and losing, just care about improving and the winning will take care of itself. This should help you feel a little less nervous.
     
    #19
  20. 10sguy

    10sguy Rookie

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    . . . hah, having to pee just before going on the court is an indication you're properly hydrated!
     
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  21. innoVAShaun

    innoVAShaun Hall of Fame

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    Do some warmup exercises such as jogging, jump rope, or side-stepping around cones. Some of my matches weren't until late that afternoon and I'd be doing these exercises early in the morning because I couldn't sleep due to the anxiety.
     
    #21
  22. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    Propranolol wouldn't make her drowsy.
     
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  23. Oh god yes, when i was younger i didnt wanna talk to anyone 1 day before a big match, and the worse ones were when I played players from the same club, it was horrible, i couldnt sleep, my food grew in my mouth and I threw up lots of times, felt like a million butterflys in my stomach, and i would even shake minutes before a match. Good old times, that was the time when i still was hungry for victories.
     
    #23
  24. momtogrif

    momtogrif Rookie

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    So, did you ever do anything for this? Did your parents help you out or were you already out of the house? What about a sports psychologist, etc? Do you think that would have helped you?
     
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  25. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    Minor nit: Oscar Robertson was a great HOF player with the Bucks but he is not close to having won more basketball championships than any other player.

    Were you thinking of Bill Russell?

    As to the OP, I used to get nervous to the point of vomiting and freezing up when I ran track in high school. The best mile I ever ran in H.S. was at a road meet I wasn't scheduled to run in, so I had gone out partying until 3am the night before. At 6am at my house I get a call from the coach saying he needed me to run after all. :shock: At 8am I had my best race ever and I was so relaxed you could have knocked me over with a tiny feather. The mind is a funny and powerful thing.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2009
    #25
  26. No, I didnt,my parents knew about this and could easily spot it so they just let me be. This was when i was 10-15 years old...I talked to my coach about but it wasnt any easy solution, my club was very good and there were tons of great players so it was always very competitive. Any sign of weakness you would get steamrolled.
     
    #26
  27. dbusiness

    dbusiness Rookie

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    3 years of psychology trying to help you overcome your problem here.

    It's unclear if you are playing matches against new people you haven't met or just matches in general.

    The things you do before a match, make sure your equipment is in good order,
    have you put in the practice, and workouts? On the way to the courts you should have some motivational or mood music that will have you feeling good, focused, and energized to play.

    When playing someone new the uncertainty can be unnerving at times but that's what all the preparation is for. Having played off and on for a number of years there isn't much I haven't seen and if they are at the same ranking level the same will be true for you.

    Just like any match you win some and lose some. If you lost your bruised ego always heals. Everyone here has a playing style they have trouble conquering. Playing singles and doubles, pushers, dinkers, hard hitters, spin artist, and on hard courts and clay makes you into an all around player who has weaknesses but these will be less visible to your opponent.

    I'm like Melanie Oudin in that I don't care if you have the best coach, equipment, or if you've beaten someone who beats me when I go on the court. I believe in my game and know that I belong there.

    From the limited amount that you actually write about yourself and not your children I would say you lack confidence, are unsure, are a developing player, who needs to work with a varity of playing styles to be successful.

    This will not happen overnight this problem will gradually lessen as you develop on the court over the next 2 or 3 months if you work at what I advised.
     
    #27
  28. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

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    I have this problem as well in tournaments and two techniques work for me:

    1. Play the ball, not the person. I try and attain a deep concentration on the ball - even between points (when returning). The ball is the same every match while the people are different. Seems to help focus the mind.

    2. Concentrate on your breathing. This is a Zen technique where you focus on breathing in and out - not fast or slow, just normal. If other thoughts enter your mind, turn back to thinking about your breathing. It's very calming and helps get the junk out of your head. You can do this anytime, even during the day before a match.
     
    #28
  29. Annika

    Annika Semi-Pro

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    Ok now you're going to think I'm really crazy. :) BUT this weekend my hubby and I were first hitting then playing sets for almost 2 hrs. I was chomping on my spearamint chewing gum the entire time. I could chomp loudly or even blow bubbles. :-? This is what I felt it did for me: Kept me focused; kept my throat wet; kept my calm

    It's worth a try!
     
    #29
  30. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    I heard that some of the top players in the game take meth and then wear wigs during the match. Give it a try.
     
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  31. ttbrowne

    ttbrowne Hall of Fame

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    Worked for me...but now, I feel the sudden urge to write a book!
     
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  32. Geezer Guy

    Geezer Guy Hall of Fame

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    Sounds a little like morning sickness to me. Have you tried peeing on a stick?
     
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  33. Perry the Platypus

    Perry the Platypus Rookie

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    In all seriousness have a beer about 15 minutes before the match. Works like a charm.
     
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  34. That advice is decent-if its not directed towards a junior.
     
    #34
  35. Perry the Platypus

    Perry the Platypus Rookie

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    Well.....we are in the adult section.....

    I did not in anyway intend to suggest that juniors should drink before a match.

    However, for those over 21 (or whatever the age limit might be where you live) I maintain that it is a viable solution.....
     
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