I’ve been doing some radio spots for WRNL, Sports Radio 910 here in Richmond. Since the Richmond Marathon is coming up soon, I thought I’d give you a preview of some of the upcoming spots that are most relevant to the race, although they apply to athletes of all sports. By the way, you can tune into The Extra Gear’s Sports-Minded Minute Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 7:58am.
Here are the tips:
Tip 1 – Keeping Your Motivation High:. One of the biggest mental challenges in sport is keeping your motivation up throughout an entire competition. To help you maintain your motivation, think back to why you are competing in the first place. What gets you excited and passionate about it? Next, think of a word or phrase that represents this passion and helps you reconnect with it. On competition day, write this word or phrase on your hand. When the going gets tough, read the phrase to help you reconnect with your passion, remind you of why you're competing, and help you refocus.
Tip 2 – Talk to Yourself Like a Good Coach: Good coaches know that athletes will need support and encouragement to help them compete at their peak. No athlete is helped by being demeaned or insulted, but this is how many athletes talk to themselves when they don’t perform the way the think they should. In order to compete at your peak you need to stay positive by talking to yourself like a good coach would talk to you. Do you ever insult yourself for being too slow, or tell yourself you’re no good at your sport? Would a good coach talk to you this way? To help you stay positive when things get tough, make a list of what a good coach would say to you at these times, and start talking to yourself like a good coach would talk to you.
Tip 3 – Focus on What You Can Control: You’ve trained hard for your sport, but what happens if something goes wrong? What if it rains? What if it’s really hot? Even the most obsessively well-prepared athletes face situations they can’t control. If you respond to these situations with negative thinking, your performance will suffer. For peak performance in less than peak conditions, focus on the things that you can control. Instead of thinking, "This is so unfair” or “I can't compete in the rain,” focus on more positive thoughts like, "This is tough, but it's raining on everyone." Remember, you can't control the heat, the rain, or what anyone else does, but you can stay loose, maintain good technique, and always give 100%!
Tip 4 – Set the Right Kind of Goals: Most athletes only set goals that have to do with how they want to perform compared to others. Achieving these “outcome goals” depend not only on how well you do, but also on how your competitors perform. Outcome goals are important motivators, but they do nothing to build the confidence you’ll need to achieve them. To build your confidence, think of your dream goal for this year, and then create goals that focus on what you alone can do to reach it, (like getting a personal best in a race, or improving your free-throw percentage by 10%), as well as on the strategies you’ll need to get there, (like running up hills three times a week or shooting 50 extra free-throws after each practice). Focusing on these types of goals will help remind you of what you need to do to reach your dream goal this year.
Tip 5 – Get More Tips: Subscribe to The Extra Gear Podcast at http://www.theextragear.com/podcast.
Fri, November 5, 2010
by Dana Blackmer, Ph.D., CC-AASP filed under