I need some ideas to help my 8 yo ds overcome his fear of being in front of an audience. He is in a competitive sport and they are having a "mock meet" in a few weeks to prepare for the upcoming competition season. He LOVES his sport and he was very excited to compete this year. He has worked very hard and is excited about his progress. He isn't worried about how well he will do from a judging standpoint, but he is terrified of the spectators. There are always spectators, families are always watching their own kids and the other athletes as well and that doesn't ever bother him. But the idea that they will be watching HIM has him very worried. Choosing not to compete is not an option for him (in my opinion). In the past it seems that not gently pushing him forward in things that we know he loves and can do has accidentally sent him the message that we didn't believe he could do it. I don't want to make that mistake with him again. I realize that for some kids just not doing it would be the best option, but considering his personality I don't think that would be what is best for him.
His anxiety over crowds is not limited to his sport, he is also worried about a few upcoming events at school. The xmas concert will require him to be in front of an audience. Also, his class will be leading a part of an upcoming school assembly and he does not want to do it. He recently received an award at school and going in front of the school to get his certificate had him nervous.
I am hoping someone has some ideas that can help us help him overcome this anxiety. Strategies we could practice with him when he is about to go in front of a group, or things he can do when he is feeling nervous would be great!