Today I woke up to a lovely little inquiry from a dear friend, and so this blog post is for you Alana, for you and for your athletes who are ready to take on the world! But this also goes out to my Turquoise Ambition girls who’ll be shining bright at Westerns!
Competitions, performances, and tests are these incredible things we love and sometimes may love to hate. It’s the time when we have to put everything together, the days-months-years of work, sacrifice, dedication and passion. Since I was a young girl I loved performing. I loved sharing what was so much fun with others as it made it even more enjoyable. And then there came a time when competitions were less fun and way more stress. From that time I have worked very hard to get back to that original mindset… and these are some of the things I do.
1. You have the same job to do.
What you are doing (your routine, the skill you are performing) does not change whether you are in practice, at a local competition or at the world championships or Olympics. The only thing that may be different is your mind and how you are seeing it. So choose how you see it. Use your mind to visualize your home gym or a comfortable environment. Or begin now to visualize where you will be performing. Trust your muscle-memory. While you need to be aware and calm enough to assess what’s happening in that moment, you need to rely on your auto-pilot to a certain extent… as Nike says: Just Do It. No more. No less. Exactly as you’ve practiced day in & day out. You don’t need to be better you just need to be YOU.
Remember pressure doesn’t actually exist, it is just your perspective. Change your mindset if it’s not working for you. But know too that nerves are a good thing – they help give you that edge. Make them work for you too!
When the mind believes the body can achieve! In moments of doubt we change the way our mind and body perform an action or skill. Doubt leads to hesitation which throws off your timing, speed, power etc. When you believe in yourself and commit fully you’re able to do it ‘like you always do’ and are calm and aware.
You must trust your teammates and your coaches implicitly. And if you begin to question yourself remember their faith in you. Do it for one another. Friendship is a powerful motivator. Know that together you can do more.
“When we dream alone it is only a dream, but when many dream together it is the beginning of a new reality.” ~ Friedensreich Hundertwasser
3. ACT. THINK. FEEL
Depending on your personality and tendencies you may live more in your head, your heart or your body. But often our thoughts and feelings can lead our actions astray…. If we ‘feel’ nervous we may begin thinking negative thoughts and our behaviour follows suit. However if we act with confidence, faith, strength – all of the qualities of a champion we are cultivating winning thoughts and feelings. So stand up tall, chin up, shoulders back, strong core, be proud, eyes focused & centred.
4. Be a conduit
When I have experienced flow (or peak performance state) it feels as if the performance is coming through me. All you need is within you, so how can you ‘get out of your own way’ and let that skill, talent, strength come out? You don’t need to force it – trust your training, and give over to all of the work you’ve put in.
Attitude is everything. When we’re having fun we can do all of the things I’ve mentioned much easier – trust, flow, let it happen, go for it. And at the end of the day, and in many years down the road the joy, the fun, the incredible memories you made is what you’ll remember…
“We must walk consciously only part way toward our goal, and then leap in the dark to our success.” – Henry David Thoreau
“Courage is the capacity to confirm what can be imagined.” – Leo Rosten
“There is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” – Winnie the Pooh