How Players Can Re-Frame Anxiety

Hoops Mind Blog - How Players Can Re-Frame Anxiety

Life can be stressful sometimes.

Every human being has struggles in her or his life.

Currently, we are all dealing with a worldwide pandemic. Outside stressors can distract every person on the planet, from employees to family members to athletes. While some other aspects of our lives are more important than sports, we can apply skills we practice for better performance on the court to life as well.

Spending time and mental energy worrying never helps a situation. Worrying about something that might occur in the future or that has already happened in the past both take us out of the present moment.

There is a direct correlation between focus and performance, and distractions only stand in the way. A team or a player can have mantras and sayings focused on pre-emptying negative thoughts with positive energy.

When anxious feelings come up, try to bring awareness to them. Name the feelings if you can, and consider ways to alleviate a tight chest or a pit in your stomach or your shallow breath. Often, an intentional deep breath can loosen those physical feelings associated with that moment and help you re-center.

Below, we will provide some insight into overcoming your anxiety and being the best possible athlete you can be, regardless of your surroundings.

Control What You Can Control

It is important to remember the extent of what you can control. You are just one actor in a giant production put on by this grand thing called life.

Don’t worry about controlling too much.

Athletes should not spend time with frustrations over calls made by referees or officials. It is not your job and you only have so much energy and focus to use.

Your job as an athlete is to channel your best effort into playing as hard you can and playing to the best of your ability.

Everything else is out of your control.

Have Fun

Sports can serve as the perfect outlet for reframing your anxiety.

When we have a growth mindset, we recognize our brains and bodies change for the better when we keep working through a failure or setback.

It is a great place to clear your mind and commit yourself to a higher purpose, like being reliable for your teammates and coaches.

Above all, having fun is paramount.

If you find yourself too anxious about an upcoming game, remember what made you fall in love with the sport in the first place. Stay present in each and every moment of the game.

Sports and exercise provide a useful reminder that your mind and body do best connected as one.


A well-prepared player is a confident player.

Getting to work, studying, feeling confident in the thoroughness of your preparation is the best way to ease anxiety immediately.

It helps you feel in control. If you are in the habit of putting in work, you will be more ready for situations as they arise. A player who has put in work all summer is less anxious for upcoming try-outs than a player who did not.

The same can be said for the player who listens to their coach during practice and understands the team’s tactics and gameplan.

The more you work on and improve your physical and mental skills, the better you will feel about the moments that bring up those feelings of anxiousness.

Next time you are feeling anxious, practice these tips. Better yet, start preparing now. You have the power inside yourself.