For athletes, managing anxiety and stress is crucial for optimal performance. When anxiety levels are high, it can impact concentration, decision-making, and overall performance. Therefore, finding ways to reduce anxiety and create mental space can be a game-changer.

One technique that athletes can use is the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). EFT is energy-based and involves tapping on various meridian points on the body instead of using needles, similar to acupuncture. This technique can be used as a go-to tool for athletes experiencing performance-related anxiety.



Before attempting the tapping sequence, read the following exercise in its entirety before beginning.

Start by rating your current stress level on a scale of one to ten. This will serve as a baseline for future reference.

Next, take two fingers of either hand and tap about ten times on specific points on your body, while concentrating on the negative feelings related to performance anxiety.

The tapping sequence can be found in the provided video.

Continue tapping your body and slowly rotate your eyes in a counterclockwise direction for a full 360 degrees (Note: If you are prone to motion sickness, please skip this step).


After completing the eye rotation exercise, hum the initial lines of the "Happy Birthday" song out loud.


Next, count from one to five out loud.


Now, once again, hum the initial lines of "Happy Birthday" while paying attention to any unpleasant feelings you may have.


Now tap while giving positive affirmations


Now, on a scale of one to ten, rate the intensity of these negative emotions.


If the unwanted emotions have significantly decreased, congratulations!


If not, simply repeat the tapping process until you feel relief from these negative feelings.


Overall, utilizing EFT as a tool to reduce performance-related anxiety can create mental space for athletes to perform at their best. By reducing anxiety and stress levels, athletes can improve concentration, decision-making, and overall performance.


In any intervention, it's important to incorporate calming techniques that promote relaxation without suppressing the adrenaline necessary for optimal performance. The key suggestion should be to draw upon past successes and give their best effort on any occasion. Such as:

“….to relax you just enough and only enough, to enable you to draw upon your own best past performances and give of your best, be your best and do your very best on any occasion.”


The mind, from my experience, is capable of interpreting this message successfully.


Case Study


A professional tennis player came to see me a few days before an important match. He was feeling very nervous and overwhelmed by the pressure to win, and was worried that his anxiety would affect their performance on the court.


I listened to his concerns and suggested that we try EFT tapping to help release the negative emotions and shift their focus to a more positive and confident mindset. The athlete was open to trying something new, so we began the tapping session.


First, I asked the athlete to rate the intensity of their anxiety on a scale of 0-10, with 10 being the most intense. They rated it as an 8.


As we tapped through the different acupressure points, I asked the athlete to focus on the negative emotions they were experiencing and to allow themselves to feel them fully. This helps to release the emotion and reduce its intensity.


I asked them to sing happy birthday and continue tapping their body and slowly rotate their eyes in a counterclockwise direction for a full 360 degrees


After a few rounds of tapping, we paused and the athlete rated their anxiety level again. It had now dropped to a 4.


We then repeated the tapping sequence, this time focusing on positive and affirming statements, such as "I am a skilled athlete," "I am calm and confident but relaxed just enough and only enough, to enable me to draw upon my own best past performances and "I trust in my ability to perform at my best."


By the end of the session, the athlete was feeling much more calm, focused, and confident. They felt a sense of relief that they had a tool to manage their anxiety and were looking forward to their upcoming match with a clear and positive mindset.


I encouraged them to continue practicing EFT tapping on their own, so that they could use it whenever they needed to manage their emotions and stay focused on their performance.