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What athletes can do to peak at the Commonwealth Games

6 ways athletes can peak at the Commonwealth Games

4 min read
  • Sport psychology

With the Commonwealth Games starting tomorrow, we thought we’d share some ways that we help our athletes to peak when it matters most. So, what things can athletes do to thrive over the next couple of weeks?

Focus on what matters

At big events, it’s really easy for athletes to focus on the wrong or on unhelpful things, either in camp or right before they compete. Here are some easy tips to help athletes focus better:

  1. Be where your feet are – Target your focus on what you need to do in that moment, nothing else. This will help give you a sense of certainty and confidence.
  2. Control the controllables – This means focusing on what you can control and accepting situations or problems that you have no influence over.
  3. Be process-focused – As an athlete, you should think about the process and what you want to achieve when you are performing. Getting emotional and focusing on the outcome can throw you off and lead to a drop in performance.

Ask good questions

A nice way to think more effectively is to ask yourself good questions around camp or prior to competing. Here is an example of some of our favourite questions:

  • Are my thoughts helpful?
  • What has worked well in the past?
  • What would X say in this situation?

Questions like these allow you to start thinking in a more helpful way, by challenging your thoughts and by focusing back on what you need to do to perform at your best. Check out this blog for more helpful questions to ask yourself.

Confidence is key

Being confident before you compete is important. Although it might sometimes feel like finding confidence can be difficult, we think there is an easy way to do it: think about it in terms of a timeline, using the past, the present and the future. Here are some ways to do this…

Using the past

  • Think about any previous success you have had.
  • Think about all of the preparation you have put in.

Using the present

  • Talk to yourself in a positive and helpful way.
  • Focus on what is important.
  • Think about the small wins from every day.

Using the future

  • Picture yourself doing well and make this as vivid as possible.
  • Ask yourself: What three things do I need to do to perform at my best?

What lens are you looking through?

The way that you view a big event like the Commonwealth games is really important.

Some people tend to see big events where you have to perform well as a threat, where you can lose something or let people down. This makes an event stressful, which can make performing well more challenging.

However, people that do well often reframe this and see it as a challenge to rise to. In this sense, it can become more motivating and exciting. There are two ways you can do this:

  • Ask yourself: What will I gain by doing this?
  • Finish the sentence: This is a great opportunity to….

Keep calm and sleep on

Making sure you are ready to perform is crucial, and sleep plays a big role in this both for the mind and the body. Although we all know this, there are lots of mistakes that people make when they go to sleep that get in the way. Some of them include:

  • Staying in bed when unable to sleep
  • Being on your phone in bed
  • Napping for too long
  • Overthinking the next day

So, want to work on your sleep to be a better athlete? This blog has tips for you.

Train your mind as well as your body. Unlock your full potential with sport psychology coaching.

Get in the flow

Flow is being totally absorbed with the task at hand and often helps athletes to perform better. For example, Mo Farah said: “When I run I just go out there, go in the zone and just block everything”.

Being in a flow is really important, but it can be quite hard to achieve. So, we have written a nice guide on how to do it which includes strategies such as:

  • Have a complete focus on the task and a quiet mind
  • Set clear performance goals
  • Rise to the challenge and trust yourself

Final thoughts

For some athletes, peaking when it matters most comes easily. However, others may have to put a bit more thought into it.

But either is fine! Although the performance is really important, it’s also important to remember to enjoy a major event such as the Commonwealth Games – these are the moments of the career that you will remember and that will make you most proud.

About the editor

Bradley Busch

Bradley Busch

Bradley Busch is a Chartered Psychologist and a leading expert on illuminating Cognitive Science research in education. As Director at InnerDrive, his work focuses on translating complex psychological research in a way that is accessible and helpful. He has delivered thousands of workshops for educators and students, helping improve how they think, learn and perform. Bradley is also a prolific writer: he co-authored four books including Teaching & Learning Illuminated and The Science of Learning, as well as regularly featuring in publications such as The Guardian and The Telegraph.

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