Where’s your head at? Amanda Owens a Leading Sport Psychologist provides 10 Mental Skills/psychological tips to improve your skiing and race performance.
Where’s your head at?
Tip 1- Gate 1- Preparation:
‘How’ and ‘what do I need to do mentally and physically to perform at my best for this race, run 1 and run 2.
- Have I inspected the course? How many times?
- Have I thought about my best past and current skiing performances and experiences?
- What do I need to focus on before the race? During the race?
- Am I tuned in to me/my needs? If not ‘What’ and ‘How’ can I be tuned in?
- Am I tuned into the immediate race/course environment? If not ‘what’ and ‘how’ can I be tuned in?
- What is my aim/purpose today?
- What stresses/pressure are here in my awareness right now?
- Am I aware of potential mental blocks and mental walls/hurdles?
- What do I need to do to prepare psychologically to overcome the identified walls/hurdles and complete run 1 and then run 2?
- What do I need to do to get into my best race/performance state?
Tip 2- Gate 1- at the start-
Nerves and Anxiety:
- Nerves are good, however, being too nervous creates anxiety; too much anxiety impairs your technique and adversely affects your focus/concentration.
At the start gate:
- focus and be clear on your race plan… how are you going to race this course and this particular run, break it down to each gate if possible. Be clear and confident how and what you need to ski at your best.
- Go through the technique ‘Now I am aware… to reduce nerves and be clear and focused and to enable a clear mind and reduce the nerves/anxiety.
- Imagine and visualise your race- how you WANT to race it… what do you want to see, hear, feel, notice and imagine when you are on the course and racing.
Gate 3 – Tip 3
Mood and racing performance:
- Ensure you are in your best and correct mood state…. What is the best mood state for me to perform at my best?
- What key emotions do I need to be feeling to perform at my best?
- Use music (your favourite IPod tunes) to elicit the emotions you want to feel before and during a race.
Gate 4 – Tip 4
Who am I?
Ideal and best performance state/model:
- What are my thoughts, feelings, behaviours that are helpful for me to compete at my best right now?
- What are my thoughts feelings, behaviours that are unhelpful for me to complete at my best right now?
Gate 5- Tip 5
What is your inner dialogue?
- Are you talking to yourself positively and/or negatively? Create a positive inner dialogue and practice a positive inner dialogue/talk before, during and after your race.
- Be aware if you are berating yourself and there is a negative voice. Change the negative and focus on what you want to hear and how you want to ski this race.
Gate 6- Tip 6
Focus & concentration:
- Where is your focus? Decide on what you need to focus on right now that is gong is going to assist and help your performance and race.
- Be aware of distractions that affect your focus & concentration and practice blocking the distractions out.
- List or verbalise what is unhelpful for you to focus on before, during and after the race, especially changing a possible distraction and unhelpful focus into a clear and appropriate focus for your second race.
Gate 7- Tip 7
Pressure… can you handle it?
- Work out a performance model that enables you to effectively deal with pressure.
- Be aware of your thoughts, feelings and behaviours and recall experiences whereby you have successfully dealt with pressure when racing and outside of skiing.
Gate 8 – Tip 8
Confidence and building Resilience:
- List all your best skiing performances, the venue, what you noticed you did particularly well in that race.
- How did you feel?
- What did you see, hear, notice, feel and imagine?
- Read your best skiing performances before your race and as part of your overall mental preparation plan.
Gate 9- Tip 9
Be clear, the Matrix ‘this is not a spoon’:
- Avoid focusing and thinking about your FIS points scores during the race and how your competitors have done/are doing.
- Focus and think about what you need to do… your race aims and how you want to ski…at each gate and the whole race.
- Believe in your ability and past achievements, wins, podiums and best performances. Write five statements… beginning with I believe……and verbalise the statements.
Gate 10- Tip 10
Evaluate and reflect on your races. Have and own a race and training diary to reflect what you noticed you did well in races and in training:
- What key behaviours were in place for me to ski successfully today?
- What if any were the differences between run 1 and run 2.
- How do I feel right now?
- What did I feel during runs 1 & 2?
- What did I imagine during the run 1 & run 2?
- What do I need to do tomorrow to perform better more consistently?
- Where did I ski the best (at which point of the race) today?