Preparing for Big Meets
Authored by @RodheSportAthletes
As tournament season begins for many athletes around the country, preparation for some of the biggest meets of the season can be confusing, and even intimidating. Rodhe Sport is here to offer some advice to athletes on all levels who are preparing for high-level competition, whether it’s a national championship or state meet.
Our athletes have competed in a variety of competitions on both a state and national level. From Penn Relays, to State Championships, NCAA National Championships, and even the Olympics, Rodhe Sport athletes are very familiar with the anxiety and pressure that comes from these competitions. Following this guide can help you effectively prepare to perform your best on the big stage.
One of the most pivotal components for any athlete preparing for competition is mental preparation. “The body can withstand almost anything. It’s the mind you must convince.” This is a quote we’re all familiar with, and it certainly has truth to it. Your mental state will dictate the performance levels your body outputs, so being mentally healthy is important.
Visualization and tunnel vision are two practices that aid athletes in preparing for competition. Prior to your competition, spend time every day visualizing what you want to accomplish. Envision yourself executing technique and achieving victory. Not only does this prepare you mentally for high-level performance, it helps maintain calmness and composure in the face of a high-pressure situation. Begin visualizing as soon as you can.
Tunnel vision is simply eagle-eyed focus. Ask yourself the what, how and why of the situation. What is it you want to accomplish? How will you accomplish this? Why do you want to accomplish it? Write these answers down and look over them every day leading up to competition. They will serve as constant reminders of the goal you have set forth, along with your plan to execute said goal. Distractions can be detrimental to athletes, especially close to a big meet. These practices will reduce distractions and offer proper mental preparation.
Though it may seem the most obvious part of preparation, physical readiness is often overlooked by athletes at all levels. We’ll break physical preparation down into two components; nutrition and rest. Both of these components go hand-in-hand. Athletes must play close attention to both in order to realize their full potential during competition.
You know the old saying, “You are what you eat?” Well, a better phrase for athletes is, “You perform how you eat.” If you don’t properly handle nutrition before a competition, it will be clearly indicated in your performance. Pay close attention to the food you are using to fuel your body and ask yourself if it will be a useful energy source when it comes time to compete. Rodhe Sport recommends four eggs every morning for any thrower during track season.
Sleep is essential for athletes, especially throwers. However, rest is much more than getting to bed on time. Everything we do while we are awake is drawing energy out of our body. Sitting down and binge-watching Netflix for a few hours may sound like a good way to ‘relax’, but it’s constantly draining energy from your nervous system, which can greatly affect performance. Even playing video games can throw off your adrenaline and nervous system. True rest comes from both physical and mental downtime. Meditation, visualization, and sleep all provide the body and the brain with an opportunity to recharge and re-energize.
As you prepare for tournament season, whether you’re a high school athlete or a top-tier collegiate thrower, take time to properly prepare both physically and mentally. Championships are won outside of the ring. A commitment to preparation allows all synergies within yourself to recover and develop. Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you prepare to fail.”