One thing most people hate about competing is the pre-competition jitters. Everyone gets these jitters at one point of their competition carrier and the successful athletes just learn how to deal with them. I started competing in Judo when I was 12 years old. I started competing at small events and I did get a little nervous but it was not a big deal until I had to compete in the nationals in a stadium that was full with a couple thousand people. At this tournament I was 14 years old and I was competing in 18-30 age division. My coach somehow was able to sign me up.
There were a million thoughts running through my head, at that time. My coach gave me a black belt to wear since it was signed up for the black belt division and I was only a orange belt at the time. The competition was in Eastern Europe in the late nineties so they did not really check the backgrounds at that time for events like this. I really had no business in this tournament. After warming up, the toughest part was waiting to be announced. After an hour I was called and I was getting ready to be on the mat. The first thought I had was that my opponent was a grown man with a full beard; the next thing you know, I was body slammed within 15-20 seconds in to the match. It was quite devastating. It took me a few days to mentally recover from this but in my next match which was a part of the teams competition, I was able to last a full 5 minute match but lost due to points. It was a grueling head to head match and I was able to control my nerves a little better. I have competed 15 years after this and jitters were always there. It is one of the perks to be alive.
Sometimes the best way to learn how to swim is being thrown in the water. Of course, the safety measures should always be taken and when it comes to competing, there is not many ways around learning how to control the nerves. You just compete and with time you learn how to manage the jitters. This is something that will never go away and the successful athletes are the ones that just learn how to deal with them a little betterWith time it will get easier since you will be desensitized to it.
One of the major reasons we get the jitters before competitions is because we are worried about being judged. We are worried about being judged by our coaches, friends, opponents and most importantly ourselves. I believe that to over come this, we must learn how to be in peace with ourselves. This is why people learn about themselves and almost become enlightened when they are faced tough challenges. If a person is at peace with themselves they won't worry about being judged and this will help them deal with the pre-performance jitters. There was a pre-fight article I read in a September 2015 magazine that talked about Uriah Hall and Gerard Musashi, and even though Uriah Hall stated he is facing a really tough opponent, he mentioned that he has never been in so much peace with himself. As soon as I read this line, I instantly knew Gerard was going to have a lot of trouble. Uriah was a huge underdog in this fight and up until the end of the first round he took a pretty bad beating. In the second round, Uriah shocked the world. He knocked out Gerard instantly with a brutal spin kick. I was not surprised by this after knowing Uriah's state of mind coming into this fight. A man that is at peace is a force that is quite difficult to stop.
A great piece of advice is to learn how to embrace the pre competition nerves. More we fight it, more difficult it is going to be. I think embracing it will let you deal with it better and will make your mind not waste as much as energy fighting it.
My Last tip on dealing with pre-competition nerves is to make sure you are with your friends the night before the competition. The last thing you want to do is get caught up in your head, thinking about everything that can go wrong. When you are around friends, this is less likely to happen. I suggest sticking to your regular routine and maybe go out for a couple of hours to hangout with friends.