One of the first things I work on with any client is developing a pre performance routine, as it helps them to both physically and mentally prepare for their competition. Many athletes will have no idea what they do before their competition, which can lead to inconsistency in their performance. Here is why, if you think about consistency, it is the ability to perform at a certain level or close to it on a regular basis. Well if you prepare in different ways each and every time you compete, how will you create consistency in your performance? You leave it more up to chance. If you do not know what you do to help your performance then most likely you also do not know what might hurt your performance. The latter is particularly important because certain things you do might take you outside of the mental focus, and zone you need to be in.
The problem is in the lack of awareness of what elements of getting ready will help versus what might hinder your performance. So the first step is to figure out what elements of getting ready for your competition help you and what things might actually not be good to do. Then from there you just need to consistently do the positive things, giving yourself a better chance to mentally be where you need to be. This does not mean that if you miss apart of your routine or don’t do it perfectly your performance will be bad, or that you have to be superstitious with your routine. It simply means, have a fairly consistent way of getting yourself prepared, and avoid doing the things that you know will not help.
Pre performance routines can be as unique as each person. There is no set way for them to be, it is all about finding what works for you and your performance. How relaxed do you need to be? How energized? How focused? How aware? Look to your best performances and see what that looked like and what you think helped you to get there and then put something together, and give it a try. Some times you will need to alter it, and that is okay, but the more consistent you are with how you prepare the more consistent you will be with how you perform.