For some athletes, tryouts are an exciting time that they eagerly look forward to…a time where they get to showcase their skills and earn a spot on their squad. For others, tryouts are incredibly stressful and can overwhelm even the most talented athletes.
“a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.”
If we break down the definition we can use it to help create strategies to overcome this feeling.
Worry, nervousness, and unease are all states of mental being. Whether you have cheered for years or this is your first tryout, when you walk into the gym, the athlete you are and the skills you have are already set. You are who you are. There is no sense in worrying or stressing about the activities during the tryout because you know exactly what you are capable of and you know what skills you can perform. Anything outside of that is not worth worrying about. Instead focus solely on what you KNOW YOU CAN DO, and do it to the absolute best of your ability. BE CONFIDENT in what skills you have and do not stress about those skills that you don’t have. Worrying about skills you don’t will lead to stress and anxiety. The stress and anxiety will then begin to affect the skills that you are typically confident with…and the cycle will be a downward spiral.
The term “imminent event” simply means that something (tryouts) is coming, it has a set date, and it is happening no matter what. Your mind is the most powerful thing you possess. At every point in your cheer career (and life) your mind had to accept that you were capable of doing something before you did it. Your first steps as a baby, your first cartwheel, your first back handspring, first stunt, etc….all started with your brain saying to itself (and you)…”HEY, we got this”. The same is true for this upcoming tryout. If you tell yourself over and over and over that you are ready, your brain will actually begin to fully believe it…I’m serious! It’s a pretty cool thing that happens in your mind. Once your brain fully buys in, your confidence will soar and your anxiety will diminish because you are taking away the doubt and replacing it with certainty.
And lastly, “uncertain outcome”. Sure, we can never be 100% certain of any outcome when it comes to tryouts. There are so many factors that go into the choices a coach makes for which athletes make a team.
How many athletes can we take?
What skills are we looking for?
What positions do we need people for?
What direction do we want to go with the routine?
How many people are trying out?
How many coaches do we have?
How many total teams will we have?
How big is our budget for each team?
Because of this, if you don’t make a team, it may not even be that you aren’t a good athletes, it may be something completely different.
In life, there will always be uncertain outcomes. You will face them on a daily basis. The way to find comfort is knowing that you cannot fully control what will happen, and when it is out of your control, it is not worthy of your stress. Instead, focus on the things you can control like your mindset, your confidence, and your skill set. Give everything you have and stand tall and proud of what you have worked hard to achieve.
The Cheer Doc is an online resource for cheer athletes, gymnasts, tumblers, and other acrobatic type athletes to learn how to improve athletic performance as well prevent injuries.