Everything you need to know about sports performance anxiety

Sports performance anxiety is one of the biggest differences between the driving range and the course. When you're alone on the range with no consequences, your mind is clear and focused and it's likely you'll swing with ease. But out on the course, sports performance anxiety can often kick in as the nerves build up and doubt begins to creep in.

If this sounds like something you've suffered with before, then don't worry! You're not alone. Even some of the biggest and best pros have dealt with performance anxiety before.

But what does performance anxiety feel like, and what actually causes it? We've put together everything you need to know about sports performance anxiety below, as well as some useful tips to help manage it.

What is sports performance anxiety?

Sports performance anxiety can have a big impact on sports performance for both professional athletes and amateurs alike.

What causes performance anxiety in sport actually has to do with evolution. Anxiety is our body’s response to the fear of danger in the future. It’s a primal survival mechanism that we've inherited from our early human ancestors when they were facing down large predators.

This 'fight or flight' response has evolved since, with large predators being replaced by more emotional, social and psychological danger. In sport, this is usually associated with our performance, whether it be on or off the golf course.

What does performance anxiety feel like?

If you're wondering if you've experienced sports performance anxiety, then start by looking for the tell-tale signs such as:

  • Sweaty hands
  • A racing pulse
  • Nausea
  • A trembling voice
  • An overwhelming desire to leave the situation you're in

Sports performance anxiety can actually manifest itself in several other different forms including 'choking,' loss of concentration and freezing up altogether.

What triggers it?

It can be hard to determine what triggers performance anxiety, as everyone has different fears and worries.

But at its core, sports performance anxiety is about an intense belief that you're going to fail. But what causes this intense fear of failure? Well, often sports performance anxiety comes from a lack of confidence in your own abilities and how well prepared you are for the task at hand.

One way you can determine the cause of your performance anxiety is by taking a sports performance anxiety test (sometimes called a SCAT test). This test will identify the beliefs and attitudes that hinder your performance and reveal triggers that take you out of your comfort zone and block you from executing the task at hand.

What can help prevent sports performance anxiety?

Sports performance anxiety can be overcome by learning sports psychology techniques like visualisation, self-talk and deep breathing. Beyond sports psychology, finding your personal strengths and focusing on those instead of weaknesses will make you a more confident player and put you in a prime position to succeed.

Another method you can try to reduce sports performance anxiety is through CBD oil. A 2015 study found that using CBD oil could reduce anxiety and nerves in performance - something which can help golfers if they're struggling with concentration levels on the course!

Our own study revealed some concrete findings on the effect of Darren Clarke CBD oil on golf performance, with 77% of participants seeing an improvement in their sleep quality and mentality on the course.

CBD products for golfers by Darren Clarke CBD

If you're suffering from sports performance anxiety when you're out on the course, why not look at taking CBD for golfers? At Darren Clarke CBD, we have a variety of oils and gummies that are designed to help you relax and improve your concentration. You can shop the full collection here.