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Michelle Barr Managing Anxiety

Michelle Barr   Managing Anxiety

Hello everyone, PCT community -I’m here today with a guest who is one of our team moms She’s the team for our Senior Restricted 5 team – Rapture and she has 3 daughters in our program 1 on Original Sin, 1 on Rapture and Sorrin is now on – Instinct and Poison. So 3 daughters on 4 teams, tons of experience with dealing with performance anxiety and you know it has some really cool strategies that she wanted to share with us and with you about this topic and hopefully help you manage some of the things that come up with dealing with teenage daughters yeah I’m actually a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Therapist – Perfect that even qualifies her more than just being a mom so I’m going to go back and listen I’ll ask questions if I need to and if you guys ever have any questions about this stuff we will link to some resources afterwards to help you out. Great so I am anxiety is absolutely normal we all feel it and it helps us to practice and do the things that we need to do but sometimes it gets too big for kids and we have to kind of contain it and put it back in the box and there’s a couple of things that we can do to help our kids and our athletes can do and to contain their anxiety and some of those things are coming to practice. Familiarity is one of the biggest things to stop anxiety or to contain it so being familiar and doing all the full outs help them become familiar with your teammates familiar with the routine familiar with all the things that we do which makes it more comfortable and able to relax but we’re actually performing the other part of it is that there actually is such a thing as muscle memory and when we do things through repetition and practice then we go into competition in high-stress situations you can rely on our training rather than stopping and having to think about the actions that we’re doing and when we do that when we stop and actually get into our brains performing – that’s choking – that’s what actually happens to high performance athletes so just to kind of just distill it down to what I’m hearing better attendance leads to more comfort leads to better performance – Absolutely So for us as coaches that’s perfect perfect equation right we know that if kids are here more we get to practice more we get better results but what you’re saying is that there’s more to it than just being at practice absolutely. Being familiar with the routine being familiar with teammates being familiar with the coaches all of that lowers our anxiety. Another thing you can do is you can come up with a mantra and i know some of the teams do that themselves – one of the team’s my daughter is on the last year came up with the mantra one-and-done and actually saying that mantra over and over again during practice or in high stress situations actually lower your stress level so over having it as a personal you know saying i got this or i’m going to do it stops our negative thoughts is often competing we think oh my goodness i’m gonna mess up my teammates are going to hate me or the stunt is gonna fall and so having that mantra combats those negative thoughts would you recommend – A lot of teams have a mantra like what you said like one-and-done or they do their different chants or things that are very specific the team would you recommend athletes also adopt a personal mantra that they say to themselves? Absolutely so kids can come up with in their own little mantra that they can say it’s fabulous because everytime start to feel the stress level of the heart starts to beat a little faster or their palms get sweaty relying on that will take them back down – something meaningful for them would be perfect Is there any guidelines you suggest in terms of length or keywords or is it really just a personal thing that you feel comfortable and that is calming to you? Anything it’s better if the kids come up with it and something meaningful for them so i got this or you know let’s go or whatever it is that they need to say to themselves and then they can rely on in high-stress situations lower their anxiety. Perfect I think from some of the stuff I’ve read and correct me if I’m wrong – Having something like that that you integrate into a routine so that you’re practicing so back to practicing the same thing over and over before each full out you you know your mantra and then set up to go that also helps to reduce that anxiety overall not just got not just saying it but the overall experience absolutely you know the chants when they do the team chants before they go on the same thing so having something that they say and all athletes do it in all sports there’s a reason for it because it does lower anxiety it does reduce that is that something they can call upon that comes instantly into their brain flight those negative thoughts like I’m going to mess up The third thing we can do is we can actually do visualizations and I know that PCT teams do that but the more in detail that they can do it and draw it like the sound of the crowds and the actual physical movement rehearsing and practicing over and over in their brain really really helps them to. So, having a child come up with their own visualizations and in more detail the better and something that they can do we make sure they go to bed before they go on then traveling towards actually really does lower the cortisol levels and stress This is some stuff that Chris and I’ve actually talked about in previous facebook lives is about visualization and developing that skill because it is a skill you know it’s not something we’re close your eyes and see yourself to something perfectly like anything it takes practice is there a time of day or a certain length of time that you recommend for athletes? You know absolutely before they perform well they thinking about it but any time they get nervous – after practice, before practice, before going to bed at night whenever that works for them so they can have that quiet time and just really get into their heads and visualize how the body feels going through the motion, what they hear when they perform the different sounds, the noises – everything the more like the more detail the better it is for them it is very relaxing too The last thing we can do or a couple more things that can do is we can also teach our kids to do deep breathing and I know we all think oh ok take a few deep breaths and calm but there actually is strategies to do it and it’s more of a really breathing in breathing in so that you feel like your tummy and you can feel that and then expelling the air slowly over eight seconds and actually doing that will actually lower their heart rate and it’s not something that kids just can do they have to actually practice to be able to do it and what happens just before they go on to compete they do that a few times they lower their heart rate they get calm and focused and centered and they also increase the oxygen which helps them go perform This is actually something that I’ve been really interested in over the last little bit is breathing techniques and i’ve been researching and reading some of the people involved with Laird Hamilton and Wim Hoff and some other guys that advocate this same kind of thing is you know breath training so just like we train to learn a skill or learn a backhandspring or we work on a stunt we forget to teach athletes how to breathe properly and the power of our breath is is unreal. That’s something that you know in the future we should really dig in to on one of these chats there is some awesome, awesome results going out from people who practice this stuff yeah absolutely and so one easy way to do it like 478 breathing breathing in 4 seconds holding it and really feeling up your stomach holding for 7 seconds and expelling for 8 and so if kids keep doing that it’s fabulous for them. And from what i’ve read it and the exhalation is almost more important it takes more effort than the installation so we’re kind of really thinking of getting rid of all of that air and that is something a lot of athletes don’t do – in my experience I see those athletes that get anxious that are really shallow short breathing and they get themselves nervous and the heart rate goes up like you said and their blood becomes more acidic because they’re not getting rid of or off gassing their carbon dioxide so I think teaching those athletes complete all the way out is vital. That eight seconds right, that’s a long time to breathe out. So, learning how to do that is great and it you know it does everything it lowers heart rate, it brings in oxygen it does all of those things like deep breathing is amazing and unfortunately when we get anxious we do shallow breathing ok – lastly what we can do as parents we can do a few things and so anxiety is contagious like emotions are contagious and our kids pick up on it and so it’s really important that we’re calm and so if we’re not prepared in the morning of a competition we’re trying to find bobby pins and hairspray and bows and white socks all of those things thats not good, our kids pick up on it. There is a couple of things that can do we can lay everything out the day before and make sure that were prepared that we know where the venue is how long it’s gonna get to go there – that we’re not arguing and fighting with our kids about hair and makeup find a parent that can help you out to do it instead of you bringing that anxiety into the relationship in the morning the other part is arriving early really really important to arrive early at competitions. Again familiarity reduces anxiety so, having your child arrive early to the competition being able to walk around the venue see other athletes perform being able to meet up with buddies and have laughs – that is crucial into lowering our anxiety for our kids and it also lowers our anxiety right if we’re rushed and trying to find parking or you know we don’t know where we’re going and we’re running late and more anxious and our kids just skyrocket in their anxiety It’s funny this is a timely conversation and I have two young boys and my thing is I like to be early i like to be organized when it comes to travel or events and my wife i argue often about the morning because I’m like we gotta go we gotta go we gotta go and i know that i’m ramping up much anxiety because I can feel it and you know it’s funny she just sent me an article that talked about how the morning routine can set your kid up for success the other thing with with what you’re saying that I’ve seen maybe you can touch on this is anxiety seems to be contagious you know you can have a totally chilled out team and then one athlete arrived late who dialed up and parents are dialed up and it just spreads through the team and this calm prepared team you had two minutes ago is now frantic and the sky is falling and and it takes a lot of effort to get that back yeah absolutely right. It’s not fair to the other athletes as well when I was running late and get there late- things happen but if we can be prepared and try to avoid those things it’s crucial to having a good performance Excellent so really those are the basics and there are like more strategies if your child or athlete is experiencing anxiety for certain task or certain parts of it but overall I think we can lower anxiety by doing a few simple things like that Perfect thanks so much for coming and sharing what you know – if people wanted to reach out about something they could do you wanted to connect with you? Absolutely I am on facebook, you can come up to me and ask. I have lots of resources and lots of ideas and strategies to deal with individual anxiety or giving you different ideas H opefully this has been some beneficial i know the coach some of these techniques i’m going to try out on my own teams and just kind of force some of this stuff onto them but you know anxiety around competition is very normal it is something that a lot of athletes experience and with some very straightforward and practical methods or techniques you can make the competition day significantly more enjoyable absolutely and the season to right the competitions are what we work for all year so they should be fun and enjoyable not stressful and anxiety-provoking perfect thanks much for sitting in with us we hope you enjoyed this chat and hopefully you can take some of these practices and try them out with your kids Thanks for having me.

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