Performers, whether it be a sales pitch, a gymnastics routine, or a golf game, to perform effectively [sports] performers are required to execute a complex set of skills in a perfect or a near-perfect way. In today’s era, there is no second place. The demands to be the best are getting needier and needier. For sports performers or performers in general, achieving a psychological state appropriate for executing their well-learned skills is crucial. The preparation phase prior to skill execution is crucial in determining whether the performer achieves a peak performance state. Think of this as a basketball player taking their assigned free-throws. They have practiced the physical part of shooting countless hours while taking countless attempts. How about the mental battle of dealing with the crowd noise? Or Tying the game? Or winning the game? All of these scenarios are possible as sport is demanding both physically and mentally. A pre-performance routine is an effective tool to prepare for a performance and deal with possible distractions.
Defining a pre-performance routine requires one to understand that pre-performance routines need you to understand the situation you are in. This mindfulness practice will allow you to know what you need to do to prepare for peak performance. A definition of pre-performance routines is a sequence of task-relevant thoughts and actions which an athlete engages in systematically prior to his or her performance of a specific sports skill. An example of this would be a salesperson looking to close a deal with a big firm. A pre-performance routine for them would be to do things that keep them relaxed all the while preparing for the presentation. They may arrive 1 hour prior to the presentation, find the conference, set up the projector, make sure everything works, (i.e. projector, audio, notes, etc.), run through their notes, and make sure their suit is looking tidy. All of these things are things that may possibly go wrong but they are preparing for the mishap while busting their confidence that they can get the presentation done without issue.
A pre-performance routine for golfers was found to possess five main benefits of their pre-performance routine. The pre-performance routine provide golfers with: (a) improving concentration, (b) helping the golfer overcome a natural tendency to dwell on negatives, (c) allowing the golfer to select the appropriate motor schema, (d) preventing “warm-up” decrements, and (e) preventing the golfer from devoting excessive attention to the mechanics of automatic skills. This all leads to a main factor of importance when attempting to implement or develop pre-performance routines, it is necessary to focus on the specific needs of the individual performer. When you create your pre-performance routine, focus on what you need to do to perform at a peak level.
Here is a list of questions that need to be answered when creating a pre-performance routine:
What do I need to do to get focused for performance?
What is the scenario I am preparing for?
In this scenario, what adversity might I face? How do I ensure my performance is not negatively interrupted by these adversities?
These are just some of the bullet points that need to be addressed when you create a pre-performance routine so that you are mentally ready for what is to come. Your pre-performance routine needs to make you feel calm, confident and focused so that you perform at peak level.