In my fifth of 12 vlog segments devoted to athletes and coaches, I describe the essential role that your physical intensity plays in your competitive efforts. When I talk about intensity, I mean the amount of physical activation you feel in your body before you compete. Intensity lies along a range from really low intensity (e.g., sleep) to really high intensity (e.g., sheer terror). Somewhere between sleep and terror you perform your best. However, there is no ideal level of intensity for all athletes. Some perform best really relaxed, others medium intense, and still others super fired up.
This vlog segment will explore some key ways for you to reach and maintain your ideal physical intensity during a competition.
The foundation of ideal intensity is thorough physical and mental preparation before a competition. If you are completely ready, you are more likely to reach your ideal intensity before you compete.
You can use psych-down tools to lower your intensity if you are nervous before a competition. Helpful tools to relax include:
- Calming self-talk (“Take it easy,” “Chill out.”).
- Deep breathing.
- Muscle relaxation.
- Slowing the pace of your preparations.
You can also use psych-up tools to raise your intensity when you feel low energy or lethargic:
- Move your body.
- High-energy self-talk (“Let’s go!” or “Fire it up!).
- High-energy body language (clench your fists, slap your thigh).
- Intense breathing.
You can use two additional tools to adjust your intensity to its ideal level whether it’s too high or too low. Mental imagery can enable you to rehearse your competitive performances and see and feel yourself competing at your ideal intensity. By using imagery, you practice reaching your ideal intensity and, by doing so, you ingrain that feeling in your mind and body.
You can also use music as a tool to reach your ideal intensity. If you want to calm yourself down, you can listen to relaxing music such as classical. If you want to get yourself fired up, you can listen to high-energy music such as rap or heavy metal. I encourage you to create playlists that can have available before a competition depending on your current level of intensity.
The goal of using intensity as a tool is that when you arrive at the start of a competition you can identify your current level of intensity, compare it to your ideal intensity, and, if different, use the psych-down or psych-up tools I describe in this vlog segment to reach your ideal intensity. The result being that, if you are at your ideal intensity throughout your competitive performance, you’re likely to perform well and achieve the result you wanted.
To watch this Prime Sport vlog segment #5, click here.
Want to get your mind in its best shape possible so you can perform your best when it matters most? Take a look at my online mental training courses for athletes in any sport.