Competing and participating in matches is something that most gymnasts really enjoy. However, the process still tends to bring out the worse cases of nerves possible. Gathering your nerves together and pulling off a seamless routine is entirely possible with some help. It is important to control your nerves or you could end up sabotaging yourself and this is never an ideal situation for anyone. So, sit down, relax, and learn how to master your nerves in time for the next meet.
Start by ensuring you get plenty of practice. A gymnast who knows their routine inside and out will be much calmer than someone who suddenly learned a routine in a single day and did not practice. With this idea in mind, avoid making changes to your routine at the last minute. Changes should be made at least a week in advance if at all possible so you have enough time to practice the new routine.
You should get at least 8 hours of sleep before a match. It is easy to feel as if a situation is out of control when you are tired. To help combat this getting plenty of sleep will allow you to calm your nerves so you can sleep and allow you to be your energetic best at the meet itself.
Pack your bag the night before the meet. This avoids the last-minute rush and panic searching the house or hotel room the morning of the meet while minutes are few and precious. Pack your gear the night before will ensure that everything you need to take is ready without causing a huge mass panic to run through you.
Upon arriving to the location for the meet, take a few minutes and look around. Find the drink machines, phones, water fountain, bathrooms, and locker rooms. Ensuring that you know where everything is will allow you to calm down and relax rather than feeling as if you are walking around in the middle of outer space. Familiar surroundings are always more relaxing than strange ones.
Spend at least 30 minutes warming up before it is your turn. You do not want to rush through your warm up. It can open you up to injury and increase your nerves. Slow and steady movements are best for your warm up exercises. If you like yoga then this is a great time to use yoga to warm up since it helps you center your mind as well.
Before you perform your routine, take a few moments to yourself to clear your head and breathe. While everyone is going to want to wish you luck, for many this can stir up the nerves they have fought so hard to control. If necessary, avoid talking to anyone until after your routine to keep down the nerves.
Once it is your turn, smile, look confident and enjoy yourself. If you happen to make a mistake accept that it happens on occasion and keep going. You should be there to enjoy yourself and have fun first, then worry about placing well in the meet second. Consider that this is only a hobby, rather than a competition that you must win is another way to help ease nerves and allow you to focus on having fun and looking confident rather than frightened and afraid.
By following these tips and suggestions, conquering the nerves that appear before a meet can handled in a mature and professional way. Regardless of the level of meet, gathering your nerves is a skill that you can use through-out gymnastics and life as well.