I just saw the bracket for my division at the World Championships.
It added a whole new layer of realness to the past year of training and sacrifices. It just suddenly hit me.
The World Championships are this week.
Yes, I’ve know all year what I have been preparing myself for – ever since I lost the quarter finals last year by an advantage point. I got back home with the focus to correct my mistakes and win this time around.
I realized when I saw that bracket, that the feeling in my gut has been the same since I first started competing. It has been something I fight to control – the nerves.
I had debilitating competition nerves for the first few years I competed. My heart would start racing and I would have to puke if I ever just THOUGHT about an upcoming event – weeks in advance!
There was a phase where I would just immerse myself in watching a new anime series or reading science textbooks (nerd alert!) in order to keep my mind off th upcoming competition. I would have to take (probably unsafe doses of) sleeping meds in order to get to sleep at night in the weeks leading up to an event. Let’s just say, it was bad.
Then I found that if I just acted like a goofball through the whole process, it would relieve my nerves. The right music at the right time became key as well. I could listen to southern gospel, Andrea Bocelli, Broadway musicals, marching cadences, rock, and motivational speeches – depending on if I needed to chill out or hype up.
Goofball could only take me so far though.
At the end of last year, my coaches talked with one another and determined that I was too unfocused on my matches and needed to be more mentally present with the intent to win.
To me, the psychological effects of being nervous, are almost identical to being extremely excited. What makes the difference is my perspective and how I handle the feelings.
Trying to not feel any nerves made me lose my focus and intensity. This year I have made the determination to not consider nerves to be a bad thing, but a necessary tool to keep me sharp. It has been paying off.
So bring on the World Championship! I will be fighting on mat 3 on Friday, the 50th match. I’ve never been more ready, and I am pumped!