Develop a Pre-Competition Ritual
I’ve heard that pre-competition rituals in any sport often help people find their focus and get in the zone. I’m up for anything that can improve my performance so do you have any ideas for helpful pre-competition rituals? What tends to be most helpful for athletes?
Creating a routine takes some thought, some preparation and then some practice. Like any other habit, making your routine automatic will only happen over time and with repetition. Having a similar routine for your training rides will help create this habit. First, start with the thought part by sitting down with paper and pen or pencil and writing out what you currently do to get ready to ride at home and at a show. You have to do this work and tough it out because most people don’t like this part. Try not to judge it. Just try to get a clear picture of your current set of habits. Get all the way through it before looking back to assess it. Once you have a good idea of what you already do, then think about what is working and what isn’t. To define “working” and “not working,” think about three things: thoughts, feelings and energy. Does every action you take help support your thoughts, which lead to powerful feelings, and does it conserve energy? Be like a teacher and take a red marker to anything you do or think that is not supportive.
Read more from sport psychologist Jenny Susser, PhD, at dressagetoday.com.