Tournament and Test Anxiety

If you’ve ever participated in a competition or have taken a test, you know that nerves can sometimes get the better of you. Even if you know the subject well, test anxiety can paralyze your performance and skew your scores. According to the ADAA, 1/8 children suffers from some kind of anxiety disorder, as well as millions of adults.

test anxiety

Do tests make you feel like this?

Martial arts is great for learning to overcome test anxiety. The system is set up for each student to learn progressively, in steps, at their own pace.

Trying something new can be stressful, so NWSMA starts by creating a safe environment for learning. Beginning students start with easy and basic techniques. We gradually build students up, teaching them more complex techniques and how to handle increasingly stressful situations. The difficulty increases gradually, making it easier to handle.

Don’t under-value your nervousness, though (as long as it isn’t crippling).
Being nervous means that you care about something, a lot. The opposite of being nervous is not caring, so being nervous shows us that you care!!

But sometimes, instead of making you sharp and focused, test anxiety can overwhelm and distract you. If this is a problem for you, there are a few things you can do to help:

  • Practice. Prepare. Over-prepare. Be ready for anything. Visualize yourself succeeding. Take pride in your dedication to practicing.
  • Remember that you’ve done it before and can do it again.
  • See the good. Take a moment each day to think of something you did well. Congratulate yourself for your successes.
  • Allow yourself to make mistakes and learn to laugh at yourself. If you can forgive yourself for that one silly thing you said or did, you can move on and tackle the next task.
  • Breathe. It helps calm you down. Take a moment to step back, refocus, and then go on the attack. Don’t overthink it; sometimes the best solutions are the simplest ones.
  • Don’t let one or two things slow you down or stop you. Keep going, do what you can, and go back to the things that are more difficult.
  • Remember that, in the grand scheme of life, small mistakes are just that–small! Focus on the big picture and remember your past successes.
  • Be confident.
  • Believe in yourself. Don’t think you can succeed; don’t try to succeed; decide to succeed and know that you can.

About Sensei/YDN Caitlin

Sensei Yudanjanim Caitlin is a 2nd degree black belt, senior instructor, administrative assistant, and student of Tae Kwon Do, Karate, and Arnis at Northwest School of Martial Arts.
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