Preparing Mentally For Post-Season Meets

Mental Preparation

How to Mentally Prepare For Big Meets

Competition seasons are long and arduous…

The grind of the season can take a toll on a gymnast’s body as they overcome injuries and physical tiredness, but the mental part of the sport can be more challenging.

Dealing with mental exhaustion, pressure of a big meet, personal issues, travel, overcoming an end of the season lull in performance, managing the psychological aspects of injury and high expectations can push a gymnast to their limit and affect their mindset for the most important meet of their season.

If you want to peak at the right time, you must be able to manage all the potential interference. This helps you focus on the task at hand and nail your routines like you are capable of doing.

This is no easy task for many gymnasts, not because they are not capable of sorting through the mental mess, but mostly because they have never been taught how to work through the distractions.

The UCLA women’s gymnastics team is trying to overcome the mental challenges with the postseason fast approaching.

UCLA is trying to re-focus after performing poorly in a late-season tri-meet. Travel, poor performance, the number of meets and the pressure of a looming postseason are some of the mental obstacles the UCLA team is facing.

Freshman Kyla Ross feels the tri-meet was a good indicator of what the team needs to improve upon so they will be prepared, mentally and physically, to meet the demands of tough postseason competition.

ROSS: “We did just come back from Utah (the day before), so that (was) a factor but this is how postseason is. You have to compete a lot in a short amount of time. I think it’s a good showing that we need to do some more work in order to be successful in postseason.”

Freshman Macy Toronjo emphasized the importance of mental preparation. The added benefit of mental training is that you can perform your routines mentally and game plan for potential distractions without physically wearing down your body.

TORONJO: “Physically, we’re there. We’re prepared and ready. I think everyone needs to re-evaluate their mental cues. Working on (the mental aspects) is just like working physically, except without any pounding on your body.”

You can’t afford to neglect your mental training heading into the final competition of your season.

You know that mental factors (such as confidence, dealing with pressure and quickly rebounding after a fall or a bobble or a missed landing) play a huge role in performing your routines.

Why waste all the time and effort you spent training for this big moment?

2 Tips For Being Mentally Prepared For The BIG Meet

Tip #1 – Think about what you want to happen: Too often gymnasts worry about messing up or making mistakes, which prevents them from focusing on performing their routines.

Visualizing yourself nailing your routines, hear the roar of the crowd, feel the energy and immerse yourself in the positive emotions you will feel after hitting your routine.

Tip #2 – Know how to refocus quickly: Recognize those things that tend to distract you.

Create a refocus statement that brings you back to the task at hand. These cues can include a simple phrase, “get in the moment” or “Nail it.”

Visualize yourself confidently performing your routine or take some deep relaxing breaths to calm your body and mind.

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