IF YOU CAN BE A COMPLETE DRAMA QUEEN LIKE ME ON RACE DAY, DON’T WORRY, I HAVE A FEW TIPS FOR YOU! I LOVE TRAINING BUT SOMETIMES DISLIKE COMPETING!
Okay SOOO you work out EVERY day at the gym or in the pool or on the track (you get my picture)…GREAT! AWESOME! But WHAT does it take to compete? Does it take perfection? I mean you do everything you can in the gym or on the field or in your house to prepare, but are you satisfied with the results?
We have all heard of the lovely and OH so inspiring saying, “Practice makes perfect!” I even had it engraved on one of my practice gymnastics beams growing up. I know, I know, cliché? Maybe, BUT my questions still stand (and HEY, here’s a new one):
WHEN YOU COMPETE, IS PERFECTION YOUR GOAL?
If so, I would advise against it.
Perfection was something I used to strive for. It was something I got SO wound up about that when it came to the grand finale, you know the BIG competition day, I flopped. Swimming, running, aquathlons, YOU NAME IT, I felt very defeated when I competed (WOW, did I just rhyme?) Well, despite my cute WOE IS ME rhyme, I really felt broken. I mean seriously, I worked out with so much pride, but then…somehow competed with the WORST self-esteem.
OH LET ME LIST THE WAYS:
1.) I thought that perfection was tangible, that it was something I could achieve EVERY time I competed.
2.) I let my competition intimidate me. Everyone looked so confident and proud and it made me second guess my HARD WORK.
3.) I was too fidgety, MENTALLY! I never took time to breathe the day of the competition.
4.) I psyched myself out; thinking doing BAD meant that I was less of a person.
5.) I expected too much of myself! I thought I HAD to overcome every obstacle that was presented to me THAT DAY, that I had to conquer rain, broken goggles, leaky goggles, or even a bad start (just to name a few).
As you can see, this list would be too much for ANYONE to conquer, even those with the toughest mental state. Yes, your situation may be different than mine, even your sport, BUT I assure you striving to be perfect while competing is just EXHAUSTING! Trust me, it could even drive you crazy and well (DUH) that just plain ruins the fun!
HOW DID I OVERCOME MY JITTERY BUGS (you know the bugs that make you say, “Why did I sign up for this?”)?
HERE YOU GO:
1.) I discovered my inner CHI; I began practicing yoga, so NOW when I compete, I actively meditate. HUH? What’s that? I got your back! Active meditation is my way of saying that I RELAX and BREATHE before, during, and after I race. It really helps soothe my jittery bugs (they sound so cute but are quite vicious)!
2.) I realized I couldn’t control my environment or my race; the ONLY thing I could control was MYSELF, so with that, I let go of thinking my race day had to be perfect. Maybe a pebble would get in my shoe or my swim cap would rip! What if I tripped in the transition area? JUST BREATHE!
3.) I began implementing racing tactics in practice, meaning visualizing what my race environment would look like: A LOT of competitors (of course) and TONS of cheering fans (that would not all be cheering for me necessarily). This helped me center myself before the race.
4.) The day of my competition, I began to visualize what my race would feel like, meaning how I would execute it. What would be MY version of perfect? That’s what I had to figure out!
WHAT IS YOUR VERSION OF PERFECT?
Think about it. REALLY think about it!
MY VERSION OF PERFECT IS:
(Oh my gosh, she is listing again!)
1.) Doing the best I can on that day!
2.) Finishing with a BIG smile on my face!
3.) After the race, being fine with needing to improve. Improvement is what keeps me OH SO motivated!
HORRAY! My lists are complete and I have to say it feels really good to get all of these thoughts out because let’s face it; racing SHOULD be a fantastic experience, something that you’ll cherish for a long time to come!
I know I enjoy competing NOW more than I did as a teen. This is because I’ve revised my race day list scratching out BE PERFECT and instead, writing BE YOU!