Friday, October 21, 2011

Competition Prep - Performance Objectives

This post is an extension of the Competition Prep Overview post.

The volume of total work that goes into competition prep is vast.  This post is written with the assumption that the physical workload has been blocked out in a periodized manner and that there is a pre-existing level of conditioning and technical expertise in the given sport.  Addressing Real vs Perceived Limits can help you clarify how to orient to your performance objectives. 

When preparing to compete, it is important to set an intentional performance objective. Setting the blanket objective of "winning" is not enough.  You must break it down more specifically.

My preference is to choose one physical and / or technical objective and one mental strategy objective.

The physical and / or technical performance objective might fall into one of these categories:
-something that has lagged and is now ready to improve
-something that is already an asset and can be enhanced
-something that is newly relevant in this specific event

For a grappler, examples of a physical and/or technical objective might be:
-developing explosive power (physical)
-choosing to fight from the top position instead of the bottom (technical)
-developing explosive power to initiate transitions or submissions (physical and technical)
-improving specific cycles for moving from transition to submission (technical)

The mental strategy performance objective might fall into one of these categories:
-maintaining confidence
-remaining "in flow" or in "the zone"
-honing and directing aggression
-committing to perform through discomfort
-rewiring weak or repetitively unhelpful thought patterns
-managing emotions

Again, for a grappler, this might look like:
-continuing to engage with intensity regardless of point status or opponent's dominance
-remaining committed to breath and technique regardless of point status or opponent's dominance
-adhering to a specific mantra (and / or visualization) for the duration of the preparation and competition

These points can be adjusted so that they apply to specific opponents, specific competition habits, and specific sport challenges.  Even when training, the above can be used to test run athletic improvements.  Its rewarding and helps keep trainings fresh and focused.

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