By Bill Cole
Do you ever wonder why you perform with excellence one day and can't get out of your own way the next? The answer might lie in how you prepare. To not prepare is to begin to fail, but psyching up with purpose can light the fire of greatness inside you.
Preparation is comprised of long term preparation (training) and short term preparation (pre-event routines and rituals). Short term preparation includes psyching up strategies the day before, the morning of, just before the event and during the event. These four phases are vital to handling performance anxiety, focusing you on your upcoming tasks, keeping you positive-minded and in providing energy to drive your performance.
Here are some approaches I use when coaching business people, athletes and other speakers and coaches.
1. Focus primarily on your strengths. Leave practicing your weaknesses to your long-term training. You want to build up your confidence just before a performance and reminding yourself of your best points will enhance that.
2. Plan your day so as much as possible you avoid stressful situations or conflicts that drain your energy and focus. Avoid activities that may result in your being tired, depressed or negative.
3. Continue your usual best schedule of rest, eating, relaxing and exercising. This will help maintain a feeling of normality, ground you and keep you in a confident state.
4. Avoid over-training. Your long-term hard work and practice should carry you through, but over-doing last-minute panicky practice indicates a confidence issue. Focus on your positives.
5. Have a game plan. Know what you hope to do once in your event. Don't leave your strategic plan to chance. Cover all your bases.
6. Primarily visualize positive outcomes for your event. Leave analyzing what can go wrong and planning for all negative contingencies in the weeks of training prior.
7. Spend time around people who will support your efforts and who validate you. You want to be with people who champion your abilities, encourage you and believe in you. This directly impacts your belief in your own abilities.
Everyone has a story about great preparations leading to great performances. The key is realizing that you have the control over how you prepare. Give yourself the gift of psyching up and watch your performances soar!
Bill Cole, MS, MA, a leading authority on sports psychology, peak performance, mental toughness and coaching, is founder and CEO of William B. Cole Consultants, a consulting firm that helps sports teams and individuals achieve more success. He is also the Founder and President of the International Mental Game Coaching Association, an organization dedicated to advancing the research, development, professionalism and growth of mental game coaching worldwide. He is a multiple Hall-Of-Fame honoree as an athlete, coach and school alumnus, an award-winning scholar-athlete, published author of books and articles, and has coached at the highest levels of major-league pro sports and big-time college athletics.
To learn about sports psychology coaching services offered by Bill Cole, MS, MA, the Mental Game Coach™, visit www.SportsPsychologyCoaching.com.