10 TIPS TO MANAGE STRESS BEFORE A COMPETITION

Proper management of stress so that it is at the right level and at the right time is crucial to being able to give the best of you. Here are some practical tips to apply on the day of competition or in the days before.

1 💡 SET MASTERY GOALS

Setting mastery goals is to focus on how to achieve a performance and not just on the end result of the race. For example, you can set goals for the technique or management of the race pace. This type of goal will be less stressful as it will appeal to things you can control. In addition, it will help you focus on key performance points.

2 💡 ESTABLISHING A ROUTINE

It is necessary to avoid adding other sources of stress to that of the competition and for this it is important to settle all the practical details. We will take care, for example, to prepare his business the day before, to find the route, to leave early enough … etc. On the day of the competition or from the day before, it is often interesting to put in place routines, effective rituals that will reduce uncertainty. Take a classic meal at a fixed time or systematically reserve a moment of relaxation are landmarks that can reassure and enter gently into the competition.

3 💡 THINK ABOUT SOMETHING ELSE

If stress appears too early, it is better to try to change ideas. Spending time with friends, walking around, or even exercising a little physical activity can temporarily evacuate stress.

4 💡 BE PREPARED AND HAVE CONFIDENCE IN ITS PREPARATION

Proper preparation should allow you to gain confidence in your abilities. The last few weeks before the event, you can do exercises at race speed, or fractions of the race, which will allow you to get to know you better. This will reduce uncertainty on the day of the competition.

5 💡 WORK SELF-CONFIDENCE

Those who believe in their abilities feel less anxiety. Anything that will create a positive climate for self-confidence will therefore be conducive to stress reduction. First of all, introduce a positive internal discourse. It is a question of repeating positive ideas like “I’m going to make it” or “I’m in shape” and chasing the negative ideas that generate stress. You can also mentally review your strengths or reminisce about past successes.

6 💡 FOCUS ON THE PRESENT

The future is by definition a world of uncertainty. A technique not to think about it is to focus on action as insignificant as it is (ex walking by focusing on the sound of its feet, on the sensation of the foot on the ground). Refocusing on the present is also a very important advice to implement on the competitions where we will carry out several events. In this case, you will have to take the races one by one and focus only on the next event.

7 💡 ADAPT THE IMPORTANCE OF THE EVENT

The importance the athlete attaches to the event is an essential factor in the level of stress. If the stress is too great, it will be necessary to try to relativize the challenge of the competition by thinking for example of other possibilities of qualification. But thinking about the importance of the issue is also a good tool to reinforce stress if this one is too weak.

8 💡 MENTAL VISUALIZATION

Mental visualization of the race is a technique that can have many advantages. Seeing yourself succeeding with the utmost precision can be useful to drive away worries and confidence.

9 💡 BREATHING

Breathing has a direct influence on anxiety and muscle tension. Breath control exercises can therefore be very effective. Here is an example: Inhale deeply and slowly through the nose, the air must fill and distend the center and top of the chest. Remove the stomach during the inspiration. Exhale slowly through your mouth, you should feel the muscles of your arms and shoulders relax. At the end of the expiration, try to feel that your legs are also relaxed, so alternate several cycles during which inspiration and exhalation should last at least 5 seconds each one.

10 💡 RELAXATION

Relaxation exercises also aim to reduce stress by acting on muscle tension. You can practice them by yourself but a specialist will teach you how to perform them more efficiently. Jacobson’s progressive relaxation is the cornerstone of many modern relaxation techniques. It consists of alternating contraction and muscle relaxation. Each cycle includes the maximum contraction of a muscle group followed by the most complete relaxation possible, all this by focusing on its sensations. The cycles are repeated twice for each muscle group. With this technique, you can learn to detect tension and relax easily the muscles involved.