So here it is, the most important question that every athlete wants answered… how to feel good on comp day? Every athlete has their own routine, some are stricter than others. Don’t get me wrong habits and patterns of training are important, but I think the problem arises when routines or good habits turn into superstitions. Yes, we’ve all had that special comp day piece of clothing… I know I have! One season I wore the same pair of socks for every competition because in my head the only way I could jump well was if I was wearing my ‘lucky socks!’ That season I had a bunch of what now seem like silly superstitions but at the time were vital to my success on comp day. I guess the problem with these kind of intense routines is if one thing doesn’t go according to plan you immediately fall into a heap and decide before the competition has even begun that it’s a ‘bad day’ or I’m not ‘feeling good.’ With the variety of competition venues you come across, you’re in different hotels, different environments and there is no way you will be able to maintain the exact same routine for every comp of the season. I learnt this lesson the hard way! The season leading up to commonwealth games I had my comp day routine down to an art! I would get up at the same time, eat exactly the same things, do exactly the same things in order to make sure I was ‘feeling good’ on the day of competition. I am not just talking about a pre-comp meal, we all have things we like to eat on comp day, things that have the right nutritional value but also work with us as an athlete, I think that’s healthy. I am talking about if you don’t manage to find your lucky comp day socks your entire competition falls apart. So, I will give you the benefit of my experience… Nationals 2018 – Selection trials for Commonwealth Games ‘Lucky’ for me I did have my ‘lucky’ comp socks but I was the most nervous I have ever been in my life. It felt like my entire season was riding on this day. I had already been through qualifying and made it to the finals, but woke up on the Saturday morning feeling ‘not quite right.’ Being inexperienced at nationals, being only my third nationals ever I chose to focus on not feeling good and rested all morning. I stayed in the hotel to give myself maximal energy for the 6pm comp! Which I have later discovered… not the best choice for comp day! Oh well, we live, and we learn! I ate my exact meals at the exact right times which I had been planning all season. I had my lucky socks but was running a tad late and was becoming slightly irritable. Anyone who knows me knows that I really don’t like to be late. So clearly running a tad late was an OMEN! Anyway, we are on our way to the comp from my air bnb and I have just realised I forgot my numbers! Panic sets in! So now not only am I running late (in my head) because in actual fact we left ridiculously early and I had stacks of time. I am now thinking this is an OMEN! I was already ‘not feeling good’ and now I have forgotten my numbers! Once I got to the track, I was already a little frazzled and started doing my warm up. Instead of following my usual warm up (one of the healthy habits an athlete has) I looked around and watched what everyone else was doing and tried a bunch of new warm up ideas. In hindsight… what was I thinking! So needless to say when I finally got to our jump warm up out in the arena I was ‘feeling’ lethargic, my legs were heavy, I was unfocused on what I needed to do. All I was thinking about was how I was feeling! Even my lucky socks couldn’t help me this time and I no heighted at what was the most important comp of my entire season. I had blown the selection trials for commonwealth games. I am incredibly ‘lucky’ my form heading into nationals was good and I did still make the team but the point of this story is as follows. I went home devastated and wanted to burn my ‘lucky socks!’ How did that just happen! I have learnt a lot since then and reflection is an amazing tool for not just physical learning but mental learning as well. Here it is folks… the secret to ‘feeling’ good on comp day!
- FEELINGS DON’T MATTER!