The word “gremlin” has been around for a long time. However, it became more known after the 1980s comedy-horror film of that name. One of them comes to town as a pet. Creatures proliferate and unleash mayhem in the region.
Tennis great Martina Navratilova was one of many sports legends who described the anxiety of an athlete as a “gremlin.” It begins with suspicion. She then grows into a giant ball of terror capable of defeating herself before her opponent.
At least the movie variety of gremlins is fiction. Anxiety is not.
“Many of my clients are athletes and I tell them there will be anxiety. Shah says. “A little anxiety is good because it helps you focus.
One of the lexicographic meanings of politics is “principle relating to or inherent in a territory or activity, especially when it concerns power and position.”
By that definition, anxiety is endemic to sports.
It manifests itself in different ways. For one, sleep before a game is elusive. It happened to Sachin Tendulkar.
“I was anxious for 10-12 years and had many sleepless nights before games,” he revealed in 2021. Then I made up with when I couldn’t sleep at night. I started doing things to keep my mind comfortable. ”
Acceptance is key here, Tendulkar stressed.
The trouble is, even when a player is in good form, anxiety can come. As such, it is often difficult to close out matches. Roger Federer was just one point away from winning his 2019 Wimbledon final against Novak Djokovic, cementing his legacy as the greatest player of all time. Also with his serve. But tennis magician and ultimate artist Federer just couldn’t make it. He had snakes and ladders like drops. Djokovic, who was a turtle for most of the match, eventually emerged victorious.
Federer snatched defeat from the jaws of victory to upend the cliché. It wasn’t just anxiety. Djokovic played well in his one of those points. But we can safely assume that part of it was anxiety when nerves resulted in tense arms and jellied legs, making routine shots and plays difficult to execute.
To prepare for such moments, athletes use different approaches. One of them is that he trains very well so that he can bring a positive feeling into the game that he has done it all on his own. And when negative emotions come, I hope positive thoughts win out.The great Olympian of India, Neeraj Chopra, is from Loughborough, England, training for the 2023 season. seems to tell Outlook.
“There are times when we feel physically and mentally exhausted during training. That’s where we push ourselves,” Chopra says in a video call in response to a question about anxiety. Reaching a goal and completing a workout even though you are tired is another feeling.I think it will help athletes [get stronger mentally and guard themselves against anxiety]”
The pressure of public expectations also leads to player anxiety. But Chopra says athletes feel the expectations first and foremost from themselves.
“Don’t Pressure Saas Me Hote Hi” he says. (Both types of pressure coexist). Chopra is aware of the outside noise heading into the competition. But when the gun fires, so to speak, he can shut it out and focus on his job.
“When the competition starts, I tell myself that I’ve been training for this day. “Sometimes you perform, sometimes you don’t. Sport has its ups and downs. Gradually, people are realizing that it’s impossible to keep winning.”
obsession with winning or not losing
Chopra, who has gone down in history with an Olympic gold medal, is now in a position where defeat doesn’t bother him too much. This is not to say that he is complacent. But deep down he knows he has achieved his primary goal.
But the majority are not. The arena is full of ambitious athletes who have yet to prove themselves at the Olympics, even at the state or national level. They are driven by a desire to win and plagued by the fear of defeat. Former tennis player Mardy Fish, whose battle with near-fatal anxiety was filmed in his 2021 Netflix movie Untold: Breaking Point, said he “loves the feeling of leaving the city undefeated.” aptly stated. It is the reward coveted by all sportsmen of all abilities, from club level to pros.
Sonal Shah observes a common theme in most of the athletes she counsels. They’re actually good, but they can’t translate that into match performance.
“Tournament play is different in the same way exams are different than home study,” Shah told Outlook. “When my clients enter tournaments, they fear whether they will win or not. The fear is greater if they are up against a challenging opponent. Because of all these thoughts, their anxiety levels are very high.”
Players then undergo a program that includes diet, journaling, yoga and SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound). Small steps like listening to music before a match or closing your eyes for a second or two during a tense situation can also help. It’s nothing pretentious like “I’m the best,” but it’s something that’s authentic to the individual and allows them to do their best.
Diet can play a big role. Shah says her turnaround for one of her clients started with weight loss. “This particular player had moved to a big city and was having trouble coping with a new coach and environment,” she says. It wasn’t entirely in my hands, but I dealt with it first because of the weight. Players immediately started feeling better about themselves.”
Sometimes grief can trigger anxiety.Ben Stokes struggled to come to terms with his father’s death and sought treatment for his condition, Stokes’ journey also captured in documentary (“Phoenix in the Ashes”).
“I’m still talking to the doctor, [though] Not so regularly, I still take my meds daily. It’s an ongoing process,” the star’s England all-rounder says in the documentary about his treatment.
For gymnastic champion Simone Biles, accumulating pressure, past trauma and fatigue were the reasons she pulled out of several events at the Tokyo Olympics. One of his victims of sexual abuse by infamous US gymnastics coach Larry Nassar, his mental load in Tokyo was so devastating that the gymnast was disoriented in the air. , experienced a “twist” that put them at risk of a dangerous fall. Having won her four gold medals at her Olympic Games in Rio 2016, she was lucky not to break her neck or spine and wisely decided to withdraw from several competitions. To her credit, Biles returned to participate in the balance beam finals, where she won a bronze medal.
Repeated questions from the media about one subject or milestone can be a source of stress for players. Neeraj Chopra may be an Olympic gold medalist, but few media interactions aren’t asked about breaking the 90m barrier.
Chopra came very close last year when he threw 89.94 meters in Stockholm.
It’s annoying to be asked about 90m all the time, but I usually just laugh it off.
“How short am I at 90 meters? Only 6 cm,” he grinned. “But it’s kind of a magic mark in our sport, and people keep talking about it. To be honest, so are we. The javelin thrower medal.” “90m Mar Rake High Isne” (He threw 90m), we say about the pitcher who did it. I know I’m close Maybe God chose a place for me to happen. When it happens, it happens. ”
This kind of attitude is a great way to make sure the javelin flies far, and the anxiety lingers even further.