Contest Nerves

As many people probably know, I am going to be attending and competing in GA States on Sunday. I am very excited about it and can’t wait to go, but there is one problem; my nerves. Personally, I do have a bit of a stage fright, but i thought this would be a good way to conquer my fear, but I am having trouble doing so. If anyone has ANY tips on how to deal with nerves at a contest I would be MORE than happy to listen to them. In fact, I might just buy a pack of Hi-Chew so I have something to chew on while I’m doing my FS :).

The best way to get comfortable on stage is to get on stage more often. Not only attend more contests and compete more, but even when you’re just practicing, get on a stage. I’ve used my school auditorium, an outdoor stage at my local library, and other stages. It seems silly, but trust me, it works.

Second, practice your routine as if you were doing it on stage, even when you’re alone. Move about your room as if you were on stage. Smile when you land a banger. That kind of thing. The more ready you are and the more familiar you are with your routine the less nervous you’ll be

Personally, I breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth. I find that it relaxes me and gets my nerves down quite a bit.

Other useful advice I’ve heard is to do some jumping jacks or do some laps around the contest area before going on stage. It’ll get your heart rate up and get some of the nerves out of your system.


^^^^^^ Excellent advice right there from a National Champion…

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Just try to focus on having fun. Get some Hi-Chew and chew it on stage. Thats what Harold does!

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Wear gloves! Mine got sweaty, killed my performance. But really, be relaxed about it and make the crowd like you. Smile!

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just adding on to advice,

if you have a chance walk around a little bit on the stage too (not too long!) so that you get used to it because i notice that usually I get nervous at the start of the routine, then as time passes it slowly goes away in the middle.

be confident and dont get worked up about mistakes and also work up (ask for some applause or something like that…) the audience when as said above ^ you “land a banger”

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Imagine everyone is naked in the audience for stage fright. (it works for me at least when I’m doing something) that and if you know your routine you will be fine. Also even if you have stage fright you need to male eye contact cause other wise you will get points taken off.

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There’s no “one solution” to fix stage fright. One of the issues that weight against competitive yoyo’ers is the fact that you’re being scrutinized, which adds a whole different level to the equation.

In comparison, if you’re merely performing, it’s an audience that matters. With yoyo contests, the audience is there, but it’s the judges you have to impress. The audience sees the positive and largely ignores the negative. The judges punish for negative through point deductions.

Now, ignore all of that.

Many people get self conscious. Some people don’t like being placed in the spotlight. Some people don’t want to be the center of attention. Me, I’ve done thousands of shows. I dislike being on the stage, but I can be on the stage with no problem. However, if I’m on the stage, I’m fixing something or dealing with something, not the focus. I am tech. I am an engineer. Dealing with the stage is part of what I do. I don’t get stage fright, anymore. Even, so I’m not confident in my yoyo abilities(or lack there-of) to throw on the stage. I’m not good, I’m fine with that and I don’t need people to say anything that doesn’t support that. I like to keep my self analysis at a low self-evaluation level. Some may agree. A few of you have seen what I can do. You can fill in where I am. I’m not objective.

One you get over the fact that all eyes are on you, that will help.

Relax. Be in your zone. Don’t do drugs. I won’t comment on hi-chew, but it ain’t drugs, so I don’t care. I will say don’t chew gum, you look like a cow up there on stage. Be well hydrated, have some food in you. Don’t be so well hydrated you gotta pee, or so much food you feel full. You just need to “take care of yourself”. To much and you could end up with nervous vomiting. It happens.

Look at the stage as “this is my time”. Your first few times will be nerve-wracking. You’ll get over it. Why? You’ve already approached the situation with a positive attitude. You want to compete and you want to perform. I also get the imrpession this is YOUR idea and your objective, NOT something being imposed upon you. On top of that, you’re asking for tips to get over this issue. Just that simple fact is a huge positive in your favor.

Second, NOBODY wants you to do bad. Yoyo contests are about the contest and the competition. There are winners and losers. Unlike so many other contest type events, I have found the yoyo and skill toy groups to be supportive of the group, the event and the community as a whole. Everyone wants you to do your best. This includes the audience, your fellow yoyo peers and even the judges. The only difference is the judges just can’t advise you, at least NOT until after the contest. Yes, you are being judged, with points adding up and being clicked off as necessary. Hey, it is a contest, that’s how it works. At least for the most people, people aren’t trying to undermine each other. Some contests I’ve done sound for(not skill toy related), the contestants get nasty. It’s about screwing with people’s minds and causing them to force mistakes.

Third, regardless of what happens, people want to help you succeed. Again, feel good knowing you’re among “friends”.

Fourth: If you feel uncomfortable, judge your level and decide if you will continue or cancel. Every CalStates, there’s a few new players who bail, usually during prelims, so I don’t see that as much anymore since I handle the main stage. In 2012, one kid dropped out before his prelims, he just couldn’t do it. Another kid got himself so worked up due to stage fright he was in the restroom puking his guts out.

Fifth is mind over matter. If you think you can do it, you CAN do it. A positive outlook goes a LONg way.

Sixth: Focus. You’ll need to block out what you don’t need to worry about. There are only two things you need to focus on outside of you and your performance: the announcer and the music. You need the announcer so you know you’re going to start. You need the music for your routine. Until you get over things and are comfortable on the stage, ignore the crowd and ignore the judges. This may make your routine a bit “cold”, but you have to do what you have to do. As you perform more, you’ll get more comfortable.

7: Be prepared. Nothing major here just typical stuff. Have your contest set with fresh strings(broken in as ncessary), bearings in good working order, response in good condition, and extra strings, bearings and response pads to be safe. If you’re confident in your gear, you feel more comfortable. Similar, practice your routine and know it cold inside and out, forwards and backwards. Confidence in yourself will also go a long way. On that angle, warm-up. If you can go through your routine ahead of time somewhere, go for it. At this point, don’t make changes though. Stick with what you came up with. Sometimes, winning isn’t about winning the contest, it’s about getting over a hurdle or obstacle.

8: Some people don’t get over stage fright. Sometimes not completely. But, if you WANT something bad enough, you’ll deal with it. Don’t push too far too fast. You could set yourself backwards. However, if you do end up taking a step backwards, you’ll also be able to pull yourself back forwards. You can undo this.

I hope this helps.

With big shows, it’s easier: You remind the talent that “if you don’t get out there, you don’t get any money, which means I don’t get any money, which means the whole crew doesn’t get any money either, and you’re toast”. Money is a BIG motivator in that circle. We ain’t in this for our health, we do this for money.

For yoyo contests, it’s not for money. The intentions are far more pure!

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Thanks guys :slight_smile:
One more question, the contest literally just announced that there is going to be a prelim. Can I do tricks that I’m going to do in my final FS for my prelim?

yes you can.

Make sure you wash your hands like 5 minutes before going up. Just breathe, relax, and go at your own pace.

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Every time before you start your music to practice, every time before you throw, look into the gap of your yoyo and take a deep breath. Start doing it now and you’ll condition yourself to do it regardless of nerves, then the deep breathing will mitigate the effect it has on you.
Edit: I want to mention that this method has produced results for me in terms of reducing stage anxiety, and without being graphic I want to emphasize that I’m a person who knows anxiety. An extra tip- make as many friends at the contest as you can beforehand. It doesn’t matter if you see them or if they’re loud, but concrete knowledge that a significant percentage of the audience wants to see you succeed is an awesome non-scary motivator.

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Practice practice practice until your routine is rock solid and your muscle memory will take over. Also make sure you pick a song that you love and goes well with your routine.

Go to your your doctor and ask if can have a beta blocker for your day at the contest. My wife is a dr so I asked what an alternative would be for an anti anxiety drug (since no dr would go for that just to perform yoyo tricks; although, it would work as well lol) and said wouldn’t have a problem giving it in these types of circumstances.