COVID-19 has led to a worldwide disruption of the sporting industry and has altered many athletes’ demeanors, attitudes, control, and confidence. Has COVID-19 put you in a mental rut? Are you nervous to get back onto the field/court or feel as though this disease has threatened a pillar of your identity?
Here’s a quick tip to reset and refocus: 4-7-8 This is a breathing technique that can be used when stress and anxiety are high and you need to calm back down, find your ground, refocus, and continue on with your head a little higher. How to do it: Inhale for 4 seconds, hold that breath in for 7 seconds, then slowly exhale that breath for 8 seconds. This helps to reset the diaphragm, calm the breathing, and bring focus and awareness back to the main task at hand.
**Example: It’s Johnny’s first day back at soccer practice. He hasn’t been training the past few months due to the pandemic. He is very anxious about where he might compare with the rest of his teammates, but he remembers the 4-7-8 breathing technique to relax his body and mind quickly and calmly. He did this technique after he laced up his cleats and before he walked onto the field and felt much calmer and ready to practice.
**Example: Lacey had a pit in her stomach at the thought of her first game tomorrow. He friend taught her the 4-7-8 breathing technique to help reset and refocus her goals for the game. After going through 2-3 reps of this breathing pattern, she felt calmer and more in control of her thoughts and feelings.
Important Note to Remember: Our physical ability sets the bar for what we might be capable of, but it is often our mind that determines how close we get to that potential and how often we perform there. If you are not preparing today, then you will be repairing tomorrow.
Let’s decrease your anxiety, increase your control of your goals, and bring back a purpose to your trainings and practices.
Robyn Antoyan is a certified athletic trainer at Compete and has her Master’s degree in Sport Psychology.