When your child athlete is participating in their sport, several things are happening. Most are positive, like sportsmanship, motor skills, self-confidence, social skills development, exercise, friendship, and fun.

In order for athletes to perform, we need adrenaline. Adrenaline feels like pre-game jitters and nervousness. When athletes learn to focus and manage their adrenaline, they will find joy in their sport again, feel confident and be able to perform, and possibly at a higher level.

However, as your athlete moves into more competitive levels, or if they begin to compete individually, they may feel the presence of pre-game jitters or nervousness. This is normal. For some athletes, their pre-game jitters make them feel extra jittery and weak, or their nervousness turns into nausea, interfering with their performance.


Here are 5 signs your child may be experiencing sport performance anxiety: 


1.  Changes in thinking or unusual behaviors.

  • Negative self-talk
  • Hesitation
  • Decreased confidence during sport 

2.  Irritability and trouble sleeping. 

3.  Pretending they are sick or injured to avoid participating, going to practices, or games. 

4.  Wanting to quit or experiencing decreased levels of enjoyment. 

5.  Developing physical symptoms stemming from anxiety.

  • Stomach pains
  • Headaches
  • Feeling dizzy


As a parent, this can be really hard to see your child go through. And as a child, it’s frustrating and uncomfortable to feel like this.

If you feel like your athlete could use some extra help better preparing for their sport, schedule an appointment today and let’s work together.

Leigh Reisberg

Leigh Reisberg

Child Therapist | Clinical Intern

I help families break through their roadblocks and create stronger and deeper relationships. I believe that together, we can help your child. 

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