Preparing for a competition is always a nail-biting experience. For athletes who have invested inordinate time and energy in developing their abilities, the stakes are high and simple mistakes can have huge consequences. Therefore, preparation is everything.
Below are three tips for preparing your mind and your body for a winter sports competition and giving yourself the best possible chance of success.
Train Under Real Conditions
The environment and climate that we grow up in leaves a physiological imprint on us. This is why some people, such as Ghurkas and Sherpas, are especially adept at mountaineering; their bodies are conditioned for that environment. Similarly, the environment that an athlete trains in will affect their performance.
Many athletes who live in more temperate climates will train for winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding using artificial indoor slopes. These can certainly be very cold as far as indoor environments go, but they do not quite replicate the experience of training out in the wild.
If you are going to be competing in a completely new climate then it is a good idea to get in as much practice as you can under similar conditions. Research beforehand to find out what the climate will be like where you are competing. Pay particular attention to how cold it is going to be. You should then aim to train under conditions as similar to these as you can find.
Prepare Your Mind
Preparing psychologically is just as important as preparing physically and just as it takes time and practice to train your body, you also need to take the time to nurture your mind. If you are serious about your chosen sport, then you should be taking your emotional wellbeing every bit as seriously as your physical condition.
Developing a consistent sleeping routine is important to your emotional health in the same way that having a balanced diet is important to you physically. Make sure that you have a comfortable sleeping environment. If a good night’s sleep is something that regularly eludes you, it might be worth replacing your mattress. A good mattress won’t just help you get to sleep; it will also provide your body with the comfort and support it needs after training.
Keep Your Body Prepared
In the runup to your competition, it makes sense to keep training. However, while it is tempting to go all-out and train as hard as possible, it is often a good idea to take things a little slower.
For one thing, you don’t want to injure yourself right before you compete. At best it will hinder your performance; at worst it will force you to withdraw entirely. Training too hard will ultimately make you do worse, not better.
Instead of trying to squeeze every last bit of performance out of yourself, try to train in a way that enables you to maintain your current levels without overdoing it. Focus on specific aspects of your training and keep your body alert, but whatever you do, don’t overdo it.
The steps that you take to prepare yourself for any sporting competition will be vital in determining your success. Athletes who don’t prepare properly might get lucky now and then, but consistently good performance requires a consistent attitude. Pay equal attention to your mind and body; just make sure that you don’t overwork either of them.