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Teen Sports, Performance, Academic, & Social Anxiety

Many of us have experienced fears and anxiety regarding public performance. Performance anxiety is a type of anxiety characterized by a fear of failing or not meeting expectations in situations where one's performance is being evaluated. It commonly occurs in situations such as public speaking, exams, sports, or artistic performances. Teens and preteens are often more susceptible to such anxiety die to factors including experience and development, as well as practical factors such as the large amount of situations they are involved in, constant grading and competition, and the unrelenting scrutiny of peers.

I work frequently with teens who experience anxiety with sports. Such difficulties do not discriminate between girls, boys, captains, bench players, rec., travel, intramural, varsity, JV, and everyone in-between. Teen sports anxiety can stem from various sources such as fear of failure, pressure to perform well, concerns about disappointing teammates or coaches, and comparison with peers. Your child may experience nervousness, physical tension, difficulty concentrating, and performance decline. Your teen may experience particular difficulty making decisions regarding trying out or joining a team or continuing a sport they've played for a long time. Avoidance of practices and intense nerves prior to tournaments are common in teens experiencing sports related performance anxiety.

Similarly, musical performance anxiety is a type of anxiety experienced by musicians before or during performances. I have worked with many teens participating in instrumental groups, choruses, and musicals who have experienced overwhelming feelings of anxiety. Anxiety and tension can arise surrounding NYSSMA solos, concerts, solo pieces or sections, group tryouts, and individual practices/rehearsals. Teens often develop anxiety from fear of judgment, perfectionism, or pressure to perform well.

Teens often experience anxiety in academic situations such as test taking, giving a presentation, and being called on in class. Academic achievement messages from teachers, parents, peers, and themselves can maintain high levels of stress in teens with academic anxiety. As a result, many teens feel physically unwell, can't focus or remember material, and occasionally even skip classes during tests and presentations simply to avoid the feelings altogether. 

Teen social anxiety is a condition characterized by intense fear or discomfort in social situations, often due to concerns about being judged, embarrassed, or rejected by others. Teens with social anxiety may avoid social interactions, struggle with making friends. This anxiety can significantly impact a teen's daily life, academic performance, and overall well-being. I can help your teen uncover root causes of social anxiety and develop coping and social skills to improve their wellbeing.

Performance Anxiety can be experienced with or without Social Anxiety. Initial sessions will focus on determining accurate diagnoses.

Exploring the sources anxiety allows teens to process unhelpful and unrealistic thoughts, as well as negative past experiences. Together we will learn and practice CBT strategies to overcome the grip of anxiety, and gain the support of others including coaches, teachers, and parents.

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