Compete? Oh yeah!
So what is the best way to balance the leisure that you enjoy while preparing for competition? First, enjoy the fun aspect of your sport and all that you get out of it. It’s good for your brain chemistry and sense of well-being.
Second, notice those moments in action that feel competitive and are successful in execution. Then practice bringing those actions up at will.
Being very sensory aware is key to preparing:
Mental Imagery – See yourself in the position of contact with that ball and how it felt when you smacked it over the net or into the goal posts. You know the sound of a successful shot! The turn of the gears in your cycle! The rhythmic footsteps on the track!
Emotional Sensation – What emotion did you feel in the moment of a successful play? Power, focus, pleasure, or self-congratulation? It’s also wise to notice how you feel when you are not on your game. Come back quickly to those more positive experiences on the next attempt, mile, lap, or distance. Continually refocusing is the key to staying on your game.
Expectations – Goal setting can be positively influential on your outcome. What do you anticipate your score to be? How will you get there? By reviewing about all the possibilities before your match, you can return from distractions easily and quickly while you play.
Team work – For team sports, there is the added support and potential mistakes of the others. Tap into that vibe of your fellow players, support them when necessary, and know how to ask for their support in return.
Less is always more in sports. Over-preparing can end up in frustration. So, as you train and play for fun, set aside a time to be purely competitive, whether it be within a game or a specific competion.
Tap into true grit, then relax, breathe, and believe you can win!
Kate Titus, ACSM, ACE
Certified Personal and Pilates Trainer
Preparing for colder training temperatures
By Kate Titus
Whether you practice indoor or outdoor sports, as fall approaches and temperatures drop, special consideration should be paid to amending your training and clothing. Cold weather can cause a drop in body temperature and constrict blood vessels, slowing blood circulation and raising your blood pressure. This can be dangerous to your health particularly if you have any medical conditions such as high or low blood pressure, heart disease, or diabetes.
During and following exercise, cooler temps can cause chilling as sweat evaporation speeds up heat loss.
Here are some preventative actions to consider:
- Be sure to warm up a bit longer than you normally would and keep your hands and feet warm. You wouldn’t want to drop the ball or miss the shot!
- Layer your clothing so that you can remove outer layers as exercise intensity increases. Overheating can also be a problem at any temperature.
- Select garment materials that allow the body to breathe. Surprisingly, wool is a good choice for the outer layer. Cotton is not because it readily absorbs sweat and will trap that coolness close to your body.
- Wear wicking lighter weight clothing closer to your body. There are many “Dri-fit” brands available at sporting goods stores.
- You may not feel thirsty, but dehydration is a risk as long as you are sweating, even in the colder weather. So, don’t ignore your water bottle! If you find you are losing weight over a week of training, you are not hydrating enough.
- And for those of you who play indoors, be sure that you are adequately prepared for the cool air that will greet you upon exiting your venues. You can’t “catch” a cold, but a rapid temperature change can stress your system.
Kate Titus, ACE, ACSM
Certified Personal Trainer