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Kerri Walsh Jennings on Calming Nerves

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Kerri Walsh Jennings (@KerriLeeWalsh) is a professional beach volleyball player on Team USA. Walsh Jennings attended Stanford on a volleyball scholarship before playing professionally, and is now a five time Olympian, entering her first Games on the USA indoor volleyball team, and four time Olympic champion. She is the most decorated beach volleyball Olympian of all time, having won three gold and one bronze medal in beach volleyball. She has also had major success in the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships and World Tour, with 24 FIVB awards and honors under her belt since 2002.

Walsh Jennings talks about the various ways she copes with stress and anxiety before competitions and matches. She shares three strategies she uses:

  1. The way one labels things mentally is very important—for instance, instead of thinking “I’m so nervous and anxious,” one should pivot to “I’m getting ready to play, I’m feeling it.”

  2. Finding time to relax in a quiet setting before practices and games can help calm nerves.

  3. Remind yourself as an athlete that you are there to compete; not to be perfect.

Being aware of and accepting stress and nerves before games is a good practice in being mindful, and sets her up to utilize these methods before competing.