A pre-competition routine is a systematic step-by-step approach that helps you stay focused, feel prepared and in control. It is a routine that you have learned during training and are very familiar with. No matter where you are you can always duplicate it and use it to help you prepare to compete as best you can.
Advantages of having a pre-competition routine:
- Puts the athlete in the right mindset to perform since it is something they are familiar with.
- It creates task specific behavior thus making useful behavior automatic.
- It creates a feeling of confidence and control since the athlete has done it in practice and in competition many times before.
- A sound routine will keep an athlete from making mistakes as it keeps the athlete engaged, away from being consumed by pressure, distractions and challenges.
How to create general pre-competition routine
- Start your plan from before you compete then work backwards.
- 5 to 10 minutes before competition get mentally ready by using visualization, self-talk or whatever gets you in the right mindset to compete.
- Do a warm up. Depending on the sport it could include a light jog, stretching, technical drills etc. The warm up can be by your-self or with the team, depending on the sport, coach or the athlete’s preference.
- Pack your equipment, uniform, water bottle etc. the night before so you do not forget anything, thus minimizing stress levels on the day of competition.
- Create a music list that pumps you up and gets you into competition mood.
An effective pre-competition routine could be how you warm up and how you mentally prepare yourself to concentrate on the task at hand. Having one creates a sense of consistency and gives you confidence that you have done everything necessary to ready yourself for a competition.
References from the SIRC Collection:
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2. Malouff J, McGee J, Halford H, Rooke S. Effects of Pre-Competition Positive Imagery and Self-Instructions on Accuracy of Serving in Tennis. Journal Of Sport Behavior. September 2008;31(3):264-275.
3. Pain M, Harwood C, Anderson R. Pre-Competition Imagery and Music: The Impact on Flow and Performance in Competitive Soccer. Sport Psychologist. June 2011;25(2):212-232.
4. Vodičar J, Kovač E, Tušak M. EFFECTIVENESS OF ATHLETES' PRE-COMPETITION MENTAL PREPARATION. / UČINKOVITOST PSIHIČNE PRIPRAVE NA ŠPORTNIKOVA PREDTEKMOVALNA STANJA. Kinesiologia Slovenica. January 2012;18(1):22-37.
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6. Yeats J, Smith M. High School Volleyball Coaches Instructional Approaches and Perceptions to using Athlete Created Pre-competition Warm-up Music. Sport Science Review. December 2011;20(5/6):127-144.