Dealing with stress is an everyday thing. Here are some things we can do to cope with stress during a competition.
Stress is a part of our everyday lives. Work, school, kids, home… there are stressors everywhere.
Our boss may be on us to meet a deadline. The house might need a new roof. The kids need new clothes for school. If we let it, it can overwhelm us and turn us into a whimpering mess.
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How we deal with stress is a factor of experience and knowledge. We develop coping skills to deal with stress and work through it.
The shooting sports come with stressors of their own. Muzzle awareness, general safety, stage planning, the list goes on.
The shot timer and trying to place well introduce the most stress, and these are all things we need to deal with to make our shots.
Here are some suggestions on how to deal with stress. These have been effective for me in the past, so I think they can work well for you.
I promise this doesn’t involve aromatherapy or massages, these are just some things to help you to chill out some.
Take a deep breath and let it out slowly
Our brains need oxygen to function at peak performance. By taking a second to fill your lungs with oxygen and removing carbon dioxide, we are able to flood our brains with clean air and let it operate better. Plus it’s been proven that breathing deeply has a calming effect on the body and will help to settle nerves.
Develop a routine and stick to it
I have a set routine I do when I approach the shooting position. I breathe deep, adjust my wedding ring, check where the grip of my gun is, adjust my holster and kick the dirt around to get a good stance. Sticking to our routines can calm us as these are things that we are used to and find comforting.
This is something that is always suggested to stay healthy and not get overheated, but I have found if I stay hydrated, I don’t start to feel physically bad from the heat, so I am not as anxious or nervous.
Take a break
With everything that is going on at a match, trying to process everything and watch everything will add to your stress. You will see people who are better then you, and realizing like you can’t compete with them is self-defeating. Walk away from the firing line for a little bit. Sit in the shade for a few minutes. This has a calming effect and will help.
Talk it out
Your best support group are your friends and family. They often have the best effect at calming you down and helping to deal with your stress.
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These are all techniques I use at competitions when I am stressed out. I find them calming and I don’t get as anxious and jittery.
What techniques do you use to stay calm during a match? Share with us in the comments.