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Peter Varellas, Olympic Water Polo player, On Athletes Feeling Nervous

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Peter Varellas is a two-time U.S. Olympic Water Polo Team Member and 2008 Beijing Silver Medalist. He played college water polo at Stanford University, where he was an All-America and National Champion.

As an elite athlete who has competed at the highest levels of his sport, Varellas knows how it feels to be nervous before a match. He thinks nerves are normal, and even somewhat beneficial before playing. If you’re nervous, you’re mentally preparing in the right way because it means you’re focused on the task. Athletes who can turn that nervousness into visualizations of how to succeed during their game prep will help fuel their performance. Varellas says that being nervous also shows you care, which is a motivating factor for personal success.