I get really bad anxiety when preparing to compete. The downside of having such a good imagination is I physiologically react to visualization like I was actually in a live fight. Heart pounding, adrenaline pumping, etc.
I sat down today with one of our mma trainers and talked through it with him. He told me “yea… You need to chill out.”
Talking through it with him made me realize that it was only getting worse with each competition, not better. So I figure I need to determine the real reason why I’m freaking out so I can deal with it.
I know it’s not fear of injury. I’ve been injured before, I’m sure I’ll be injured again at some point. I know how to deal with that.
It’s not fear of loosing. I know that win or lose, I haven’t failed. Besides, when I’m a black belt, no one is gonna care if I tapped to an armbar as a blue belt. Right now I’m just testing things out.
It’s not fear of winning either. Oddly enough, I thought it might be this at first. But again, winning as a blue belt doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things – won’t make a difference when I’m a black belt!
I think I finally nailed it down to two things. I shall now proceed to dissect them and hopefully then diffuse them.
“I don’t really deserve to be here”
I never feel like I’ve trained enough or put enough time in. I remember:
Every time that I sit out a round of sparring (stupid odd numbers sometimes!)
Every time there are no appropriate training partners
Every class I’ve been late to because I was with a massage client
Every day when I’ve slept through morning training
Every day that I’ve goofed off while rolling instead of pushing
And so on…
In counter to this, I sat down and worked out an average of how many hours I’m actually on the mats a week – and added them all together.
My total mat time is at least 550 hours so far this year!
Doesn’t look like slacking from that angle! Numbers are something concrete I can hold on to. I’ve put in my time – and I DO deserve the chance to compete.
“I don’t want to fail my team/coach/self”
This is the hardest one for me. I have never had a team before and am still not quite grasping how much that they really have my back. I worry that if I fail, I will loose their respect and confidence.
Complete nonsense I know. We already know I am going to do the very best that I can – with whatever scenario I land in. No matter what the outcome, it won’t change who I am. It won’t change what I know. It won’t change what I am capable of. I am capable of both outstanding success, and horrific failure – but I am defined by neither one of those.
So what now then?
I went back and revisited my reason that I started training in the first place. Can you guess?
I wanted a challenge.
Well here it is – exactly what I asked for when signing up.
I’m drowning out any negative thought with 2 positive statements.
Now I feel that nervousness transforming into anticipation. Ooraah.