We have all heard that the best way to get results is to ignore them. In order to perform your best, you must pay attention to technique, tactics and effort. When you can do this, the results will come.
As much as I agree with the theory behind this strategy, as a consultant to many individual athletes and teams, and with my experience as an athlete, coach and doctor of sport psychology, I know it is extremely difficult to completely tune out all the thoughts regarding the scoreboard.
You see, competition, for many athletes, is what makes a sport exciting. It motivates them to exert every ounce of effort they have to perform at their best. For this reason, I would like to propose a way for athletes to embrace their competitive instinct while staying committed to the tactics and technique required to achieve peak results.
ASK YOURSELF PERFORMANCE-ENHANCING QUESTIONS
Here are six performance-enhancing questions you can break up into a two-step process.
Step 1: Before competition, during your warm-up, inspection, pre-race meal, etc., ask yourself two questions:
1. Where can I gain a competitive advantage?
2. How can I successfully move through my challenges?
The first question prompts you to highlight your strengths and focus on how to use those strengths to gain an advantage over the rest of the competition. The second question works to replace any fears or doubts with challenges that you can overcome using your focus on tactics and/or techniques. Together, this self-talk uses your competitive nature to promote a process-oriented focus.
Step 2: After competition, assess your performance with these four questions:
1. Was my result comparable or better than in training?
2. Did I execute the tactics and/or techniques I set out to perform today?
3. What did I achieve today in terms of technical skills, tactical strategy and/or effort exerted?
4. What can I do next time to be better than I was today (i.e. technical, tactical or effort)?
FOCUS ON WHAT YOU CONTROL
The questions above allow you to keep a proper perspective of the scoreboard by focusing on all the things you can control. When you have a good result, by answering these questions, you’ll be able to not only celebrate your success, but also to identify the specific behaviors you exerted leading to the great results.
Conversely, when you have a poor result, these four questions will help you to be constructive so that you can improve next time.
ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS
When you ask the right questions, you get the best answers. For your next competition, ask yourself the first two questions in your pre-competition routine. Then ask yourself the next four questions in your post-competition routine. Allow your competitiveness to fuel your ability to focus on the tactics and technique that will earn you a personal best result.
With a Ph.D. in sport and exercise psychology, Haley Perlus is a professor, published author, international speaker and peak performance consultant. For more free tips, go to www.DrHaleyPerlus.com or call 303-459-4516.