Reasons for fear

  • you dread facing your opponent – a bigger, tougher, stronger. and more accomplished opponent
  • you are afraid of getting hurt – a past injury. the pain associated with it, and the difficult recovery period that you had to go through can create the fear that you may get hurt again
  • you fear failure – the thought of losing the game can create a fear in you even before you begin the match

Its expression

  • Diffidence – no confidence in yourself
  • Panic – You lose your sense of calmness
  • Frozen thought processes – unable to recall and use your game plan

Impact of fear on you

  • Concentration gets affected even in the case of fear
  • But there is also another problem when you have fears – The trepidation caused by fear creates a foreboding within you, and your mind begins to focus on the outcome rather than the game itself. Your focus shifts to thoughts of a fresh injury or thoughts of losing. or the shame of putting up an effectual performance against a formidable opponent
  • Fear can sap you of energy
  • Fear can make your mind go blank

Fear Management Techniques

  • Confront the fear – Analyze the fear. What aspects of the game or the opponent have contributed to the fear?
  • Demystify the fear – Once you identify the source of fear. you can find ways to dismiss the fear
  • If you fear failure, ask yourself: how unpleasant can it be? It’s not a matter of life and death. So what if you lose one match, you can’t win them all. Isn’t it long-term goals that really matter?
  • If you fear repeat injury, use therapies like yoga and meditation to confront the fear and move ahead. If you fear injury, try not to think about it. It may not happen to you. Many players go through a long career spell without ever getting a major injury. Decide in your mind that you will face injury if and when it happens, no point worrying about it in advance. Injuries can occur in any game.
  • If you fear shame of a poor performance, remind yourself that every game is a stepping stone and a learning experience. Also train harder and more often until you fell confident of your performance. This can take care of the fear.
  • If you fear tough opponents, face the fear of a tough opponent by focusing on your opponent’s strategy totally during the game. Fear can work in your favor. Fear need not be the enemy. On the contrary, fear gives you the power of the adrenaline rush. The object of your fear-your opponent-has to be the focus of your undivided attention. Your armor becomes your concentration and effective use of game techniques. Nothing brings on the instinct to defend yourself and vanquish the other more than fear can. Face the fear and avoid going blank by focusing your thoughts on your opponent. and you can successfully tackle the most adverse situations in the ring.
  • Visualize a real-life threat and talk yourself into action: Alertness is probably one of the few things that you still retain when you have fear. Action becomes difficult because of the blank frozen state that you can go into sometimes. But you will be alert and wary, much like when you are being attacked by a wild animal. You are wide awake to what is happening, but too frozen to do the right thing. The adrenaline caused by fear has to be converted into action to transform you from your frozen state into a state of aggression, just like you would behave in a dangerous situation in a jungle. Say to yourself: “If I don’t move now. I’m going to get hurt,” or “Move. If I wait any longer, he will get the upper hand.”
  • Dealing with the adrenaline rush through simulation: A lot of grapplers and combat athletes swear by a technique called “adrenaline training.” It is a simulation exercise in which you recreate a fight scene where your practice partner shouts and behaves in an aggressive manner, much like the real opponent that you fear might do. This stimulus can get your adrenaline pumping. It is a method used to stimulate a response when you have the fear of losing to your opponent or when you freeze and go blank. If you can train your mental processes to defend yourself more effectively under fear or if the adrenaline can turn on your offense to tackle your opponent head on, then fear can actually work in your favor.
  • Feng Shui, the ancient Chinese system of arranging the living environment in a harmonious way, has some tips for dealing with challenges. Placing certain symbols or pictures in your home, such as a huge picture of a mountain range, a Chinese dragon, or subliminal way to create a feeling of strength and build courage to face challenges. The dragon is considered one of the most powerful and revered symbols dragon symbol (usually a small brass. bronze. or wooden model) is supposed to have the power to create positive energy and can inspire you to face challenges.

Lloyd Irvin is a martial arts coach. He holds the rank of 7th degree black belt in Thai Jitsu, 2nd degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, 1st degree black belt in judo. In 2002 he was named The United States Judo Federation International Coach of the year. Lloyd’s coaching experience includes having taught Secret Service, FBI & SWAT. Read more on:

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