So this is it, you’ve prepared months for this day. Yet, the weeks of strenuous physical training didn’t exactly prepare you for the mentally-demanding moments right before your competition.
The ability to control your thoughts and emotions are crucial to your physical performance. It should be a top priority, not just for athletes, but for working professionals as well, to know exactly how to master their mind for peak performance. For most elite-level athletes, this process is built into their training and game-day program. The mental training routine is just as important as physical training when stepping into the ring or onto the stage.
The following are five tips to perform at your ideal mental state leading up to competition:
1. KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON: It’s important before competition that you remain relaxed, even when you’re adrenaline level is high. Simply practicing breathing and relaxation techniques can help to calm and focus the mind. Each athlete needs to find the right balance of aggression and calm to move and stay within his or her comfort zone.
2. MONITOR SELF-TALK: You must be aware of your thoughts and if any are negative or self-defeating learn to STOP, DEEP BREATHE and have a MIND SHIFT to positive thinking. Your self-talk is crucial before competition. A way to control your own self-talk is to write out positive affirmations for yourself to repeat before competition, this way you control what you feed your mind.
3. POSITIVE VISUALIZATION: Being positive goes without saying, however, creating an image of success in your mind before your competition is a great technique to use. Positive imagery is a powerful means for internal communication. You have to show your mind what you are about to do, and how you will do it. This means purposely choosing positive mental images to tell your body how to respond to a given situation. To get the maximum results, visualization should be practiced on a regular basis, ever before you think about training for a competition.
4. COMPLETE CONCENTRATION: No one needs to be convinced that one of the keys to success in sports and in most activities in life is absolute focus. Knowing how to intensify your focus and concentration at a particular task at hand will set you up for success. Many can relate to “being in the zone”. It means having the ability to concentrate your mind under pressure. When you’re mentally focused, you can dial in your concentration and be ready for any challenge.
5. PERSONAL GOALS: Knowing your own agenda for a particular competition is crucial for your success. Everyone wants to win, right? That’s the point of competing. However, an athlete must be completely honest with themselves and their goals for that competition. You must clear your mind of distractions and outside influences. Dialing in your own motivation for competing and not letting outside factors dictate your goals is crucial in your long-term success.
Many athletes mentally prepare for competition in a variety of ways. Whether you have pregame tradition or superstitions, its important to establish a routine before competition. However, it’s just as important to have a pre-competition mental preparation routine.