In my last podcast, I described how athletes can psych up and stay motivated by using imagery (listen to the podcast “Episode 5: Get Psyched Up And Motivated Using Imagery” at www.theextragear.com/podcast). Imagery is an effective and easy to learn method of gaining and maintaining your intensity, but it’s not the only way that you can amp yourself up.
Many athletes know that listening to high energy music while they train or prepare for a competition helps them feel energized. But most athletes don’t take full advantage of what music can do for them before and during competitions. I help many of the athletes I work with create specific playlists for their iPod or mp3 player, not only to help them mentally prepare before a competition, but also to help them get quick energy while they’re competing. Here’s how you do it:
Think about what drives you to play your sport. How do you feel when you’re really passionate about it? Recalling one of your greatest performances, re-experiencing what it’s like when you’re “in the zone” or recalling the feelings you get watching a great performance by an athlete you admire will help you do this. Your goal here is to connect to what you love about your sport and to what motivates you to compete in it. Next, think of the music that goes with these feelings. What songs would best capture and express your passion? If you made a movie depicting the intensity that you have for your sport, what songs would make up the soundtrack? You’ll want to come up with songs that make you feel focused, motivated and energized; these songs should make you want to spring out of your chair and compete every time you hear them.
After you’ve thought of as many songs as you can that really express the energy you have for your sport, make a playlist of them on your iPod or mp3 player. Listen to the playlist regularly to see which songs get you psyched up the most. Add or delete songs based on how they make you feel until you create the most energizing playlist possible. Once you have your playlist set, start listening to it before you train. This will give you the experience you’ll need to make adjustments before you use it in a competition. After you discover the best ways to use your playlist in your practices, begin listening to it before a competition to get mentally prepared to compete at your peak. Even more importantly, recall these songs from memory during your competitions when you feel drained, need quick energy or have to refocus after making a mistake.
With practice you’ll get better at recognizing the kinds of music that works best for you. Some of your psych up songs will undoubtedly change over time, but you’re likely to keep a few old favorites. It’s embarrassing to admit it, but the theme to the movie “Rocky” still does it for me. But, this only goes to show you that developing a psyching up playlist is a very personal thing. If you take your time and put thought into it, you’ll end up with a well-stocked arsenal of musical motivators to get you psyched up and keep you going strong!
Thu, July 1, 2010
by Dana Blackmer, Ph.D., CC-AASP filed under