It is quite common for students to have nervousness before the start of a tournament, which adversely affects their play and results. For some students, the anxiety is only mild and is seen only during initial rounds but it can be an alarming issue for certain students. Whether the nervousness is mild or if it is a serious problem, trainer can play a crucial role in alleviating it to large extent. Some deliberate changes in the way trainer approaches these students can help them a lot to overcome nervousness and enjoy the game.
Let us see the important changes a trainer can adopt to prepare the student for tournament:
- Create a playing schedule: A tournament is an overwhelming place with 100-200 participants, shorter time controls and tight round schedule. Discuss the tournament schedule with the student beforehand. If there are 3 rounds to be played in a day, the student can prepare by playing 3 practice games replicating the same time-control at home.
- Empower students with tips: Help them to relax their body and mind with some tips. This can include taking deep breathing exercises whenever they feel stressed. Advice the student to take few breaks from the board during the round.
- Keep them busy: An idle mind is a devil’s workshop. Students with anxiety problems overthink a lot. So trainers should take up some steps to keep them busy with some interesting activities in between the rounds. Few Trainers advocate the idea of playing friendly games whereas, some trainers ask their students to meditate.
- Promote positive thinking: Trainers can take deliberate efforts in promoting positive thinking with some valuable speech every day. You can share the success stories with the students to help them learn how the hard work actually pays them back.
- Educate importance of practice: As we all know, practice makes a man perfect and there is no gain without pain. So it is important to teach them the importance of practice. Make them understand that success may not always come their way in the first place; instead they have to achieve it one day through practice and hard work.
- Teach importance of time management: The lack of time management is the reason why many players blunder in winning or equal position. This paves the way for unnecessary fears and anxiety, especially during last crucial rounds. So trainer can help them learn the importance of time management which takes away most of the associated fears.
- Have good trainer-parent relations: Maintaining good parent trainer relations can help a lot to identify the student’s personal fears. This helps trainer to take some cautious steps to approach a student with anxiety issues. This also helps trainer to properly seek help from parents if needed.
A tournament is a great place to learn and progress in chess. Preparing the student with these tips can erase away their feeling of uncertainty and anxiety to a great extent. Give them a feeling that they are not alone and they can freely approach you for any support and guidance. Teach them that making mistakes are quite human and there is no need to lose hope over bad results.