With the LFTD Classic approaching next weekend, I felt it would be valuable to share my experience as an athlete and a coach when it comes to succeeding on competition day. And the great thing is that these same principles apply to all other areas of your life.
One of the biggest lessons I've learned is to show up with no expectations other than doing your best -- whatever that looks like for that day. We often put so much pressure on ourselves to perform at a certain level or to hit certain numbers. In this way we put our focus onto "not messing up" rather than doing the best we can do. And I'm sure you know, what you focus on grows.
Paradoxically, the more pressure you put on yourself, the more stressed you become. The more stressed you become, the less likely you are to get into a flow state that's conducive to performing at your best.
I like to use the analogy of a bow and arrow:
You use your intent and imagination to create the target -- what you desire to realize. You then use your focus to aim at the target and your will-power/effort to draw the bow back, analogous to effort and focus of your training. But at a certain point you have to let the arrow fly and surrender to the outcome, trusting that you did your part.
Secondly, have fun. Some of my best competitions I've had and have witnessed as a coach have been when I've been having the most fun. Think of training. Usually you do your best when you're enjoying the process. The more you're enjoying the process, the better you'll perform; and the better you perform, the more you'll enjoy the process.
Thirdly, competition day isn't the time to make any changes. Eat the same kinds of foods you're used to, focus on the same technical cues, use the same supplements. Training is the time for all of the experimentation so that on competition day you can trust in your training and just do what you already know how to do. Train how you want to perform so you can perform the way you train.
Next, realize you're always more likely to make weights when you're going all out than when you're hesitant and focusing on 'not missing." Visualize what your perfect lift feels like before you touch the bar; and then once you touch the bar forget everything and lift.
Lastly, warmups don't matter. What happens in the warm up room has nothing to do with what happens on the platform. I've seen some of the worst warm up performances go out and hit PRs on the platform. I've also seen some of the best warm up performances go and bomb out on stage. It doesn't matter so just do your best and don't worry about it. What matters is what happens on the platform.
Per usual, I did a more thorough teaching of this on IG Live this morning. If you want check it out you can watch it here.