Expect The Unexpected
If preparation and planning are the keys to success, what should an athlete do if something interrupts their plan?
It happens all the time…
You have trained as hard as you could for months and months preparing for some big competition…
You have honed your strategy…
You feel ready and confident…
Then something unexpected occurs…
Maybe you arrive late because of traffic…
Or you forgot a piece of equipment…
Or you couldn’t find a place that serves your favorite pre-competition meal…
It may feel like all the hard work is going down the tubes in a flash at the most critical moment of your season.
US swimmer Annie Lazor competed in the 100 and 200 breaststroke at the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto, Canada.
Ultimately, Lazor who won the bronze medal in the 200 meter breaststroke at the Pan Am Games, has her sights set on the 2016 Olympics.
Lazor knows the value of preparation.
LAZOR: “This meet is a great stepping stone towards the 2016 Olympic Games. Pan Ams is just one step below the Olympics, and having a village, other athletes and people who have been to the highest stage around me is great preparation.”
But Lazor also knows that mental toughness training best prepares an athlete for the unexpected.
LAZOR: “Brett Hawke [Lazor’s coach at Auburn University] has been a great influence to me both in the physical side of swimming as well as the mental side. There’s always going to be a snag somewhere in a pre-race routine, maybe the beds in the hotel aren’t comfortable, or the food isn’t what you expected; Brett has taught us to trust our training and not let anything affect our races.”
Mental toughness is that “nothing will deter me from performing my best” mentality. Mental toughness keeps you focused on going forward with your plan.
Instead of looking for excuses, mental toughness focuses on what you need to do at this moment.
If you are waiting for the perfect situation, you will never perform optimally.
There will always be speed bumps and potholes on the road to success. The key is to not turn obstacles into stop signs.
Mental toughness helps you maneuver and navigate around those little bumps, remain focused on your objective, and trust your ability to perform optimally despite the circumstances.
Strategy for Overcoming the Unexpected
You should not only physically prepare for that important competition but include mental preparation.
Think about the potential speed bumps that could occur on competition day. Ask yourself, “Are any of these obstacles insurmountable?” Determine how you will respond if you encounter a speed bump.
You won’t be able to predict every potential obstacle but this strategy creates the mindset that you can handle most of those little nuisances that you may experience.
Related Sports Psychology Articles
- How to Be Mentally Prepared for the Unexpected
- How to Cope With Unexpected Challenges
- Anticipation and Mental Preparation
Download a free sports psychology report to improve your mental game!
The Focused Athlete
It’s probably no secret that you have many opportunities to become distracted in sports. Athletes are bombarded with both internal and external distractions everyday in practice and competition. Focused athletes are able to get the most from their skills because they are more efficient with practice and more concentrated in competition. Athletes who lack focus let distractions run wild through their mind and don’t know how to adjust or refocus.
The Focused Athlete was developed for any level coach, parent, or junior to professional athlete who wants to improve performance and gain a competitive edge. It does not matter if you are a fledgling junior athlete; or a seasoned professional, plagued with distractions; or you just wanting to learn how to improve concentration…
“The Focused Athlete” is a complete system to teach you how to focus like a champion and harness the power of a zone focus every time you step on the playing field, court, track, or course in practice and games!