Ever walk into a practice to see athletes joking around only to see the complete opposite on game day? What is wrong with this situation? No, it’s not the joking around. It’s the inconsistency between practice and competition. While this may seem like a small thing, it matters! Whatever tricks an athlete uses to help themselves focus should be utilized in both practice and competition to increase their effectiveness. And in all actuality this applies to both athletes and coaches! Contrary to popular belief there is no switch that is flipped on game day that gets everyone focused and motivated.
So how do you find consistency? Start by making a few lists.
1. Write down what you do pre-practice and pre-competition to focus and amp yourself up.
2. Write what you do during practice and during competition to maintain focus and energy.
3. Write what you do post practice and post competition to relax and reflect.
Notice any differences? Notice any skills missing?
Now comes the hard work…breaking old habits and developing performance enhancement routines! The more practice and competition routines are in sync the better the performance. Example: If a gymnast uses imagery in competition before performing on beam, but not in practice. This may help them focus during competition; however, by not utilizing in practice this athlete is not reaching their full potential. By using imagery in practice they will be able to develop and push their skills further, which means an even stronger performance in competition.
Need help developing a more consistent routine? Contact SPINW!
About the Author: Lisa Peetz received an M.A. in Sports and Exercise Psychology. Lisa is an avid runner who appreciates and is addicted to marathon running. She uses her athletic experience in her mental skills training by individualizing skills to be both sports and life specific.