Every day we would develop a certain kind of routine to make things easier for us. Even athletes have a specific routine to prepare themselves before their competition or matches. The routines would include pre-competition routine, competition routine as well as refocusing routine.
A pre-performance or pre-competition routine can be done one night before, the morning, the arrival and during the warm ups. The aim is to completely prepare the athletes for the competition. It is used as a way to control the environment, trigger concentration, provide positive focus to someone who normally engages in negative self talk, decrease anxiety, provide stability in a highly unstable environment. The National Academy of Sports Medicine stated that over 70% of the athletes develop their own routine before the event that is specific and necessary, unlike superstitious rituals or beliefs, which may have developed over time to cause excellent performance. An example of a pre-performance routine would include: putting on clothes in a certain way, eating the same food before the event, taking deep breaths, warming up with specific steps, listening to one type of song or using only positive words.
- Increase the feeling of control over competitive environment
- Keeps mind focused on the competition
- Enhances familiarity of situations
- Increase self-confidence and reduces anxiety
Dr Darren Treasure of the Nike SPARQ Training Network suggested that when routine is repeated and practiced, it could make an athlete focus and trigger well-learnt motor responses.
Competition is done during the routine. It can be categorized as pre-shot, between-play or post-shot. Pre-shot occurs before the execution of the shot or play. Between-play occurs during break in games such as tennis, volleyball or basketball. Lastly, post-shot takes place immediately after the execution of the shot or play.
For example, during a 100m sprint, a pre-shot routine would be to loosen the arms, neck and leg muscles and do a few jumps on the spot to get the muscles more warmed up. Competition routine, much like physical training, consist of a lot of work and effort being put in and to develop them by constantly using them and applying them in competitive situations. It needs to be honed in tandem with physical training. A mental skill without physical training is like learning how to cycle without training wheels. You can do it, but it will take quite an effort to get it right. Positive self talk will help you to stay focused in the game and handle competition pressure as well as building your self-confidence. Many athletes have a difficulty performing well due to this and therefore instead of just training your muscles, one should also train their brain.
If you’d like to workout in a group, you may want to check the Multi Level Fitness Bootcamp Outdoor classes that my Chief Trainers are conducting at http://fitnessbootcamp.sg. For one on one personal training, we’re here.
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