Yes. VERY (VERY) normal.
And if you're in the same situation, you already know the answer to your question. You're just looking for some comfort words to validate your nervousness and encouragement to push you ahead.
So, here it goes.
It's very normal to get nervous in front of experienced athletes when learning a new sport.
Heck, it’s not just about sports. Gym for instance. Many beginners find it nerve-wracking to hit the gym and workout in front of the pros.
When in the classroom, many students find themselves nervous when asking/answering teachers in front of the toppers.
(Courtesy: Science Photo Library)
Why does it happen?
When you're practicing and learning the sport in front of the experienced athletes, if you feel nervous, it's a clear sign of insecurity. (And don't take it in a wrong way; it's not such a bad thing as long as you're aware of it!)
You're nervous because you're too focused on the "what if".
What if you trip in front of others and end up embarrassing yourself.
What if those experienced athletes judge you.
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What if you can’t be "perfect" in the practice - not knowing that you don’t really have to be perfect.
What if others laugh at you.
What if you never get as good as them.
What if you end up looking like a loser.
All these 'what if' cripple people. And they are crippling you. Interestingly, you know it yourself that most of them don’t even make sense… You know it too that you shouldn’t even think about them… You know it too that they are just in your head.
You’re insecure. And when someone is trying something new - and when the chances of getting judged are high - getting this feeling is common.
So, it’s okay if you're nervous. It happened to the greatest of athletes we ever know on their first few days.
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Now, what can you do about it?
The most straightforward thing is to focus on your practice. I know it's tough when there are eyes on you from everywhere. But then there's no other way.
The more you focus on "oh, he is looking at me" "they are looking at me", the worse the situation will get for you.
So, keep your attention to the practice. If you can have friends around you who are supportive, it can boost your confidence level.
(Courtesy: Nick Notas)
Also, you must realize some realities, which are…
· It doesn’t matter what they think.
· You will fall, trip and embarrass yourself; it's inevitable.
· Only insecure people judge others. So, if someone is judging you, know that they are insecure.
· Why do you care so much about others' opinions?
· If you work hard, you will get better and become the best.
· It's not how bad you start (nobody remembers that). It's how good you finish.
· Are you really going to let someone's opinion stop you from being happy and achieving your goals?
It’s fine that your nervous. Those "experienced athletes" you’re talking about, they were nervous too on their first days.
Proactively work to improve yourself in the game. This will make you feel more confidence, leaving your nervousness far behind.
Hope this answer helps!