Mental training ahead of competitions |12 November 2022
Coaches preparing young athletes for the Jeux de la Commission de la Jeunesse et des Sports de l’Océan Indien in Mauritius in December as well as other youth competitions, there is much involved than simply working on improving the youngsters’ physical performance.
Depending on the sports and type of competition, there will be a wide range of other factors that you will need to consider as coaches.
Mental preparation and setting expectations
As an example, when coaching a runner for a first major race, you will also need to set his or her expectations in term of how the event will go.
Nerves can jeopardise his/her results in the competition. Coaches should thus take mental training into consideration in their training plan.
They should ensure that the young athletes know what to expect on the day: for example details of who else will be competing or how many spectators are expected, venue, accommodation, food and beverage will help to set the expectations so they can prepare for the coming situation.
Using simple exercise as imagery and mental rehearsal will help athletes build their confidence, getting them to relax will help them to focus on the task.
To succeed and perform at their best, athletes need to use their mind as well as their bodies. Mental training helps to control emotions, manage stress and improve participation and performance.
When you are coaching young athletes for a competition, you should encourage them to use mental preparation techniques before the competition.
Again, it will vary from one type of sport to another, but in the lead-up to a sports competition, training plans should be focused around reaching optimum performance on the day.
The preparation should be tailored to achieve the best results in the competition.
For team sports, training should include set pieces planned moves, positional awareness and individual responsibilities. Simulation training is very important especially in the final stage of preparation.
Diet plan should be in place in order to maximise energy stores for the competition.
Attaining optimum performance levels is of course the main objective as a coach but in addition to mastering the best techniques and practicing to improve ability, these other factors are key in preparing your athletes for the coming Jeux de la Commission de la Jeunesse et des Sports de l’Océan Indien (CJSOI) in Mauritius December 2022.
As coaches it is not too late to apply some of the mentioned mental training in your programme.
I am looking forward to seeing how well you apply the techniques to help your athletes improve their mental toughness
Certified mental coach Maurice Denys