Coach Samson Dubina US National Team Coach 4x USATT Coach of the Year

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Mental Strategies - Part 16

Should I be thinking about the outcome or execution?

Article Written by Carl Hardin
Anxiety is a natural part of competing because we tend to worry about the outcome of a match and what’s going to happen in the future. We have no control over the outcome but we can control our execution. When you start to think about what’s going to happen, redirect your thinking to your breathing, this will keep your mind away from “the what if”.
 Have a pre-match routine and a pre point routine for each point, one point at a time. This will clear your mind to focus and to concentrate on tactics. It will tell your body what you are about to do and you will start to feel more comfortable each time you go through the process. The body tends to stress when it is put in a strange situation so make your pre-match and pre-point routine are the same each time.
During the game, you need to be aware of when your body is starting to show signs of tension. You may start to feel funny in your stomach “butterflies”, or start to tense up in your shoulders, or feel like you can’t move very fast, signs of becoming anxious. Redirect your thoughts to your breathing, then focus on what you need to do for the next point.
Having a plan for dealing with anxiety will clear your mind and body to perform with no doubts or fear one point at a time.