Learn about anxiety’s impact on performance – and how you can use it

Anxiety can pump us up, but too much can impede performance.

Feeling nervous before participating in athletic competition is natural, and not always bad; it can be a sign one’s body is alert and ready to work. But too much anxiety can negatively affect one’s performance. So what’s a body to do?

A free program on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 6:30-7:30 p.m., will address this question. Offered by the Des Moines University Physical Therapy Clinic at the MidAmerican Energy Company RecPlex, 6500 Grand Ave. in West Des Moines, is designed for student athletes as an introduction into the science of anxiety. Presenter Joel Greenberg, Psy.D., a licensed clinical psychologist at the DMU Behavioral Health Clinic, will discuss the mind/body connection and ways to recognize the impact of anxiety as well as techniques to help participants feel better equipped to “lean into” these experiences when they occur.

Registration for this event is highly recommended to ensure seating. Click here to register and share the event, or call 515-271-1725.

“There is greater understanding and acknowledgement of the need for mental health awareness and treatment these days. At the same time, a lot of people are struggling with anxiety these days, in many different contexts,” says Dr. Greenberg, who has extensive experience using group and individual psychotherapy to treat anxiety disorders. “This program will bring together DMU’s expertise in education, physical medicine and psychology to benefit people with sports- and performance-related anxiety, in a very cool setting, the RecPlex.”

The program will include an experiential component in which participants will learn about and practice relaxation breathing and mindfulness techniques. Ways to apply these concepts to daily life when anxiety occurs – at school, in sports or socially – also will be explored.

The program is part of the holistic programming DMU physical therapists and athletic trainers offer athletes and teams, says Kari Smith, P.T., D.P.T., associate professor in DMU’s doctor of physical therapy program and manager of the DMU Physical Therapy Clinic at 3200 Grand Ave. in Des Moines. 

“We can train the athlete to move more efficiently and become faster and stronger, but there is much more to sports performance than just the physical components,” she says. “Student athletes have a lot of pressure to perform on a daily basis at school, in practice and especially in the championship seasons. It is essential to increase awareness in the community about the impact of anxiety and how it can impact performance. 

“DMU strives to improve the lives in our community through education and health care, so we wanted to create an event to teach athletes, coaches and parents how to help manage anxiety for optimal performance,” she adds. “The DMU Clinic, Department of Physical Therapy is excited to partner with Dr. Greenberg to host this event at the MidAmerica RecPlex. The timing is perfect as many winter sports are embarking on the championship seasons.” 

Please note: The Jan. 24 presentation is educational only and not intended as a substitute for psychotherapy or anxiety treatment or treatment of any other related condition. If you or someone you care about are experiencing mental health concerns, please contact your local health care provider.

Scroll to Top