Competition is a bigger stage for many athletes and that means bigger stakes. The bigger the stakes for athletes, the harder it is to keep emotions in check. Actors refer to this state of mind, that is, being able to perform during practice but stumbling during performance, as “stage fright.”
While the stage in acting may not be the same as it is for athletics, stage fright or performance anxiety can cause turbulence in the way that you play. The pressure you feel to perform well does not come from your environment or the quality of your opponent. Pressure and stress result from how you perceive the quality of your opponent or importance of the game. Some athletes get excited about playing a rival, but others are scared to lose for many different reasons—rejection by team members, an angry response from a coach, or disappointment from parents.
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