Creating Your Pre-Performance Routine: Playoff Moments

"Your biggest challenge isn't someone else. It's that ache in your lungs and the burning in your legs. It's that voice inside you that yells "Can't" But you don't listen. You push harder. And then you hear that voice whisper "Can!" And you discover the person you thought you were is no match for the one you really are."

- Anonymous


Playoff Moments: Part 3

When athletes hear the word playoffs, it gets the mind racing. Thoughts include, every game is do or die, there is more meaning behind each moment, more people are coming to watch, and there is a lot of expectation!


Today we will look at Pre-Competition Routines to help athletes perform in playoff moments, be it playing toward a state or national championship, or the playoff rounds in a tournament.

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Tip of the day

Pre Competition Routines (PCR) are a sequence of consistent mental and physical actions to prime the body before competition.


Priming components:

a. Equipment check, make sure your gear is in the best condition to perform. Figure out your best time to do an equipment check and prep.


E.g., a tennis player uses the day before a tournament to check and test her equipment. She then lays out everything she needs for her match. On match day, she packs her equipment bag and takes a mental inventory so she doesn’t have to worry about forgetting anything.


b. Physical priming, figure out the physical actions and techniques that help your body to warm up.


For example, a cross country runner will prime his body an hour before the race with a dynamic stretch and warm up run to get his body loose and the blood flowing. That way, he can start the race with peak effort.


c. Mental priming, includes focus, intensity, and preparing for the unexpected.


Focus example, a wrestler likes to imagine wrestling his opponent before the match. He imagines all of his set up and counter moves, and how he looks and feels when he wrestles with confidence.


Intensity example, a swimmer will listen to music before her heat to calm down and to help her find a rhythm. When she gets in sync with the beat of the music, it helps her to get her strokes in rhythm for her race.


Preparing for the unexpected example, during his practice round, a golfer likes to identify trouble spots on each hole. From those spots, he practices shots to see the best way to get out of trouble, and to find his best approach to the green. He then uses this as his guide during match play.

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