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Performance Psychology Blog: Pre - Performance Routine series 1

Elite performance requires consistency, delivering consistent performance under pressure. Blood, sweat, tears and little bit of vomit, making it count when it matters. This ain’t acting man.

Nothing pains me more than hearing the words “I didn’t give my best”, it brings a tear to eyes. Wasted effort simply due to a lack of effective preparation.

I have a secret to share with everyone, and it’s free. To unlock your potential and avoid wasted effort you need an effective pre-performance. I want to share insights from elite level performers.

If your pre-performance routine doesn’t have psychological skills, then its just a warm up and stretching.

Psychological Skills:

1. Self talk, the chat in your head, if should be motivating and instructing you on what to do, your own personal cheerleader.

2. Visualisation, the images you play in your mind, it should be video reels of your best performances, and successful performance you’re about to execute. These images should have been mentally rehearsed several times and be as real as possible, for example feeding of the energy of the crowd whether negative or positive.

3. Breathing exercises and mindfulness practice is essential to help you relax under pressure, and scan your mind and body to monitor if you're in the flow-zone or not and then take steps to psych up or calm down as required.

4. Music is very important for entering your flowzone, you need to spend time picking the right soundtrack to help psych you up or calm down as required and be able to tune into your flowzone when it matters most.

5. Goal setting to effectively set targets that focus your mind and channel your energies into performing at your best.

Here are some insights from an elite performer on the different stages of their pre-performance routine.

Stages of Pre-performance routine:

1. Tuning into your environment, walk around or jogging to feel the competition arena and prepare the mind.

2. Warming up and starting to use self talk to prepare body and mind and connecting them together.

3. Task specific drills for your event, gearing the body and mind to deliver.

4. Performance drills where you start entering the performance mindset, revving up the intensity so body and mind is ready to deliver at that level.

5. Mental rehearsal using images to prepare mind for executing your intended performance.

6. Showtime, cue words running through your head, “this can’t hurt worse than training”, it going to be a walk in the park I’ve done worse.

7. Deliver your performance and evaluate.

These stages are supported by research, where a 5 stage approach is suggested readying, imaging, focusing, executing and evaluating.

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