Psychologists’ advice on competition preparations
Sportsmen always need support and good advice. However, at the level of great achievements they should sort out their thoughts and feelings for themselves and become a good psychologist for their situations.
Here’re some advice, which will help you to prepare for important competitions:
1. Only constant analysis of your actions leads to the champion title
2. Learn how to overcome challenges
Champions are distinguished by their ability to overcome the difficulties, understand their mistakes and failures quickly. They use their failures to find the decision (What mistake did I make? What should I do to make it right?). it’s important to make it quickly without delay! When you sort out your mistakes quickly, it means you’re on the right way of correcting them. If after some time you repeat again to yourself: “the same mistake again! Why it happens to me?” – this means you are analyzing your negative past. Always return to your positive thoughts, that will make better your emotional state.
3. Be alone with your thoughts, act independently
Your success will be bigger, if you can think about your present actions. Mental breakdown take place in the moments when sportsman concentrates on their competitors, fans or judges. Think about yourself, if you start paying attention to somebody’s scores, competitor’s elements, or thinking of the fact how strong they are, try to return your thoughts to your present state and the actions you’re going to do.
4. Control your vision and hearing
Learn to control your vision and hearing during the competitions. Watch only things, which don’t irritate or provoke you. It’s better not to look at your fans or competitors. Focus on something neutral, look at some spots on the wall or any other thing which can calm you down. Try to listen to only those sounds, which don’t irritate you. It’s better to listen to your favorite music in your iPad.
5. Things you desire should happen, not things you fear
Winners always use their imagination in order to achieve their goals. So try to concentrate on what you want to achieve and not on what you fear. You become calmer and more confident thinking in a positive way, and it increases your chances for success. Try to relax your mind in some quiet place for 5-10 minutes, thinking about something pleasant.
6. Compete without tension
Act automatically, relax. Be confident that your muscles know well what to do. Work without efforts: if you start making efforts, perhaps, the result will be worse. When you do the routine, try not to think about the elements. Conscious thoughts make the routine process slower as they distract your attention. Act unconsciously! The more you think, the worse the result.
7. Performance success depends on mental approach
Success or failure depend onyour mental approach before and during the performance. If such thoughts like “What if I fall…” or “I’m not as good as my competitors” start to attack you before the performance, wait for the failure. Learn to preset your thoughts only on the positive results. And you’ll make a success.
8. Think in a positive way
When you think in a negative way or grieve about your mistakes, you decrease the level of your energy and make your confidence weaker. Whatever happens, have a good disposition to yourself, your colleagues, team or coaches. Positive disposition will help you to overcome the difficulties and failures and continue the perfection. Negative emotions will bring your career to an end. Forget such words like “I can’t”, “Never”, “Impossible”. All the champions think positively!
9. Overcome difficulties
Learn to look at the difficulties as at another motivation and become even more confident. Many gymnasts complain of bad conditions, apparatus or fatigue before the performance, great gymnasts use bad conditions as an advantage over the competitors. In this case you can persuade yourself: “These conditions are for everybody, but I won’t pay attention to them and it’s my advantage.” It’s better to relax and do breathing exercises. They say: “If you get a lemon, make a lemonade!”
10. Act as a champion
Behave as if you’re champion. Look at the losers – their head and shoulders fall down and they shuffle their feet. Be different! Maintain your upright posture , look confidently, get your head up, smile even outside the carpet! Show your judges and competitors that you’re self-confident and you’ll make a success.
11. Support yourself
It’s easy to support yourself when you win. But the champions differ from others in their ability to support themselves even in bad situations. Fall in depression after the failure is not the best way to proceed the sport career. Be a friend of yourself in time of need, this is the best help you can get.
If you want to make success at the competitions, you should be able to release the tension. Many gymnasts can’t do that naturally. There are several ways to ease the tension during the competitions. One of the simplest ways is breathing gymnastics. Several diaphragmatic ins and outs can quickly decrease the stress level before the competition. Just practice at home: breathe in for a count of 4 and breathe out for 7-8. You’ll see that you become less nervous and more confident.
13. Create a ritual
Create your long-term and short-term program of preparing for the competitions and follow it. Your competition strategy should correspond with your personal thoughts and feelings. Usually coaches or consultants advise the sportsmen how they should behave before the competitions and what to think about in the performing process. Unfortunately, such pieces of advice don’t lead to good results. Every gymnast should interpret the coach hints in her own way, in the form that suits her, which can be improved in the training process. Enter the competition situation step by step, concentrating less on the fact that the turning-point is coming.
14. Remember - you’re human
You’re estimated not only by grades and scores, but also by other people attitude to you. And competition results can not measure your human nature. Just be yourself with your parents, coach and friends. Sport is just the part of your life, be able to find the solution in any situation. Ernest Hemingway said: “The sport teaches to win, the sport teaches to lose, so the sport teaches everything”.
Bad performance at the competition can become a great stress factor and cause undesirable physiological reactions and neurotic disorders for even talented sportsmen in future: emotional tension, psychomotor, psychovegetative and hypothymic manifestations. That leads to instability and then to the wreckage of the performance.
Typical manifestation of various neurotic disorders can be recognized by overreactions to the stress and adaptive reactions. Their degree depends on many factors: age, sex, initial social adaptation level, individual characteristics.
Our society appreciates the victory so much that coaches and sportsmen find themselves under the pressure. Inability to overcome hyper anxiety and emotions can lead not only to bad results, but also to injuries and psychological traumas. That’s why it’s very important to control the anxiety level as it guarantees successful competitions. Thus, psychological accompaniment is significant in contemporary sport life with full of great achievements.
Today, many varied therapeutic methods are developed, they can work with the above mentioned sportsmen’ manifestations. In general, mental healing is working on strengthening the protective factors, as it makes to think over the situation and strengthen the adaptation mechanisms.
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