To the perfectionist athlete, the feeling of being “competition ready” is often elusive. The mind tells them, “one more practice, one more run through, one more clean landing”, there is always an opportunity to be more prepared. They often compare their performance in the pre-season to where they want it to be in the in-season, and this is a recipe for disappointment. This may sound like you or someone you know.
Competition readiness is a topic I have been focusing on in my sessions with athletes as they prepare for pre-season competitions. Pre-season readiness looks very different than in-season readiness. Understanding this and learning to set realistic, achievable goals for each time period will help build confidence and settle the pre-competition jitters.
Setting the Strong Foundation
The goal of pre-season competitions is setting the strong foundation you can build upon. You may be trying new music with a new theme and new elements. All pushing you outside your comfort zone. That is what its all about! To assume that you will be able to push yourself choreographically and technically, and skate a clean program, is unrealistic. Instead, setting a strong foundation is all about strong attempts on the jumps, remembering the new choreography, attempting the creative spin positions and getting feedback on all of this.
Mapping out the Season
When do you want to perform your best or peak? It is important to know so that you can map out your season. I help my athletes create a plan for their competitive season. We set the long term goals and the action steps required to achieve them. Performance goals are set before each competition and the performances are assessed post-competition. There is a lot you can learn from competing and I always encourage competition as often as possible.
Tracking your jump consistency in the program on a regular basis is a great measure. I have created a worksheet that my athlete’s and I fill out together and review going into competition. This is a clear view as to what you are landing and not yet landing in the program. Then we can set the appropriate goals. The tool is also used to help reframe the negative voice in your head that often gets louder the days learning into competition.
Using these tools helps to set you up for success in competition throughout the season. Planning the trajectory of your season, setting the right goals, assessing the early competition results and establishing patience around the journey are all part of the learning curve. If you or your athlete would like help creating a plan for the season, connect with me.