Athletes, coaches, and sport psychologists talk about the importance of routines in both training and competition. Like any routine, preparation routines for sport performance work to create a sense of familiarity for your athlete. Familiarity leads to a sense of control and control will positively influence your athlete’s confidence.
There are two types of routines you should help your children create: routines before practice and training, and routines after practice and training.
Pre-competition/training routine. Begin observing your child’s behaviors before competition. He/she is most likely has a good understanding of what helps get them into “competition mode”. Make a list of the foods they choose to eat, music they choose to listen to, hours of sleep they get, and any other behaviors they engage in before their competition.
Next, help your child incorporate the same pre-competition routine in training. Keeping similar routines will help bridge the gap between competition and training. Consequently, your athlete will begin to feel in control and gain confidence.
Post-competition/training routine. Routines after a performance are more difficult to develop because of the numerous outcomes (i.e. wins, losses, poor performance, and great performances). That said, the best way to maintain control and confidence for the next competition is to use the following two questions in your post-routine, regardless of the performance outcome:
(1) Did I exert every ounce of effort I had to give today?
(2) What can I do to be better tomorrow?
Bringing the focus back onto your child’s efforts and improvements is the best way to help them believe they are in control of their behavior and that when they put forth all the energy they have to give, they should be proud of themselves.
Call to Action:
Slowly begin to introduce pre- and post-routines in training and competition. Begin by observing your child before competition to see what things he/she likes to do. Then, incorporate the same behaviors before training. After the event (i.e. practice or competition) ask your athlete the two post-routine questions.
Believe and Achieve,
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