We train, so we can compete, get results and validation for what we put into our sports, and ourselves.
When it comes to competition stress is involved. That is a fact, or we would not be human. How we handle it can have a very big impact on the outcome of our efforts. Stress is a normal human response to fight or flight. Our heart rates rise, body temperature goes up, our nerves are more sensitive, a rush of adrenaline, blood sugar rises, etc. We are ready to go! If we think stress is bad for us, it will be. If we believe it is normal and we use it to prepare for competition then it is good for us. Anxiety that can accompany stress is the bad part. That is where we tighten up and cannot perform to the level that we have trained. Our minds work in nanoseconds . I can tighten up in the middle of my downswing to hitting a golf ball.
It takes experience for all of us to learn how to handle stress and anxiety in the competitive environment. We all have to learn for ourselves what works and what does not. I have failed many times in the way I handle my anxiety. By keeping alert to my own thoughts and making adjustments, I make progress. My goal is to make stress an asset and keep the anxiety to a minimum
By practicing thought processes in my training I will be prepared for racing. Visualization creates confidence in the plan, its execution, and ultimately me. Thought processes are self-fulfilling prophecies. We create environments to be successful or to fail. It is up to us. Positive reinforcing statements that are repeated to ourselves helps to set up our minds for positive outcomes.
Nothing can substitute for the real competition. It is very important to be conscious to my thoughts before and during racing, building on what works and discarding what doesn’t.
We all carry baggage into battle. Dropping the unnecessary stuff and making use of assets are the important part of the process.
Gratitude is the first and foremost thought when I approach the starting line. Knowing that I have done the prep work to compete is the next. Adjusting as I go helps me be flexible to a changing environment. Trusting that I will get the results I am supposed to get helps me stay in the moment and focused. Then I stop thinking, get out of my own way, and set up the best possible outcome.
Talking with my coach or a trusted advisor can help me with this process. Honesty about what is going on in my head is essential. The more racing I do the better I get. Each year has new perspective, goals, and challenges. The view is constantly changing.