Are You Mentally Ready For Gymnastic Meets?

Mental Preparation

How to Mentally Prepare For Meets

Are you “meet ready”?

You may have answered:

“Yes, I do daily conditioning, run through my routines daily and work on my skills in every training session.”

Those things are necessary for all gymnasts but those things only mean that you are in “physical meet shape.”

To be fully in meet shape you must also be in “mental meet shape.”

The reason why most gymnasts fall short in their performance is due a lack of mental preparation…

Suzy H. is a high school gymnast who never misses practice…

Suzy works hard to be in peak physical condition, she performs her routines with consistency in practice and works hard to develop her overall gymnastic skills.

Unfortunately, when it comes time to perform in meets, Suzy falls apart…

Suzy’s practice routines are almost flawless but she makes uncharacteristic mistakes during competition.

Suzy even has lapses where she forgets her routines and is often devastated in her inability to perform like she does in practice.

While Suzy is in physical meet shape, she has not spent the time to condition herself to be in mental meet shape…

What Gets a Gymnast in Mental Meet Shape?

One way to get into “mental meet shape” is to practice your routines in meet-like conditions.

One major factor that affects performance is that you practice under one condition and compete under totally different conditions.

If you can narrow the gap between practice and meet conditions, you will be more mentally prepared and confident to performance at your peak in meets… That is what is meant by “mental meet shape.”

Maryland Women’s gymnastics team recently under-performed at the 2017 Big Five Meet where the team finished last and scored its lowest total since mid-January.

Maryland freshman Alecia Farina was quick to point out that the team was not “out of meet shape,” but their mindsets or mental game conditioning was lacking.

Maryland coach Brett Nelligan decided to test a new strategy, silent practices, in an effort to get his team in mental meet shape.

During practices, Nelligan decided to replicate post-season meet conditions, where teammates cheer farther away from the gymnast performing her routine, limiting the cheer noise level in the gym.

In addition, Nelligan urged his team to mentally calm down by taking exaggerated deep breaths before routines.

These deep breaths are aimed at relaxing the body and clearing the mind to enable the gymnasts to focus more effectively.

Farina felt Nelligan’s strategies were effective in putting her in a proper mindset immediately before her routine.

FARINA: “[Nelligan] always talks about doing one skill at a time and slowing it down but sometimes when you’re cheering and you get all excited, you rush your skills. Not cheering helped because it gave you a second to breathe and focus on what you were doing.”

It is not enough to be physically prepared to compete… To fully be in “meet shape,” you must also be mentally prepared.

Mental Meet Shape Tip:

Once a week, practice under meet conditions. This can range from one routine where you perform your pre-performance routine before approaching your apparatus to conducting a practice meet where you wear your competition leotard.

The key is to see, feel and hear those things you will experience in a meet.

The closer you can mimic the real experience of competing, the better prepared, mentally and physically, you will be for meets.

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Improve Your Consistency With Sports Psychology for Gymnasts

Sports psychology for gymnastics helps serious gymnasts like you to uncover the beliefs and attitudes that keep you from performing to your potential. You’ll learn mental game strategies to overcome performance plateaus, lack of consistency, and perform at your peak more often.

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