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Getting in the Zone and Managing Anxiety

Getting in the Zone and Managing Anxiety

Previous articles covered by Nick Bishop include: A Positive Mental Attitude, Conditioning, Our Conscious and Sub-Conscious Mind, Affirmations, Goals, and The Characteristics of “High Performing Athletes”. From reading these articles you will recognise that while we train our bodies, we should also focus on the mind. Once we are mentally prepared using the tools and techniques from previous articles, there are just two things that remain, Getting into the zone come race day and making sure that you correctly handle your anxiety.

Your true success in life begins only when you make the commitment to become excellent at what you do

Brian Tracy (Motivational speaker)

Race day comes…You have put in the hard miles, the tough sessions. Picking up on my previous articles, you are mentally prepared…mind and self-talk aligned. You are ready! Only two things remain!

Getting in the zone is all about how our subconscious works. Without thinking, we automatically go through a range of actions in readiness for the race…Use the tips below and you will be in the zone and ready to deliver a top performance!

  1. Be in the moment…It is important on race day to be focused. One thing that works is having triggers. We are creatures of habit, and so having triggers helps us to behave in the way that we want to come race day. Triggers are one of two things…They can be words… ‘Success’, ‘Dominate’,  ‘Best Performance’  are all typical queue words that we use to promote a mental response.  They can also be a chain of events that we use on race day. Creating a set routine that helps us to focus. A pattern that we use. As we get closer to the race itself, it can be the actions that we go through. Some stride outs. The jog to the line. Last minute stretches, but all part of a pattern that we can picture and visualise by focusing the mind and reminding us why we are here!
  2. This is your moment and your race. Be in your zone. For once be selfish. Think about yourself and what you want; not others!
  3. Park all distractions. This is your time and you want to clear your mind of everything except your one big focus; the race. Triggers help, so to having a checklist, making sure that nothing is left to chance.
  4. Focus on all your achievements. Great races. Your successes. Mentally engage with everything that makes you feel great about yourself. The Russian gymnast who scored a perfect 10, Nadia Comaneci, had a mental tool bag. Anytime she needed a special routine, she would go to the toolbox in her mind and pick it out!
  5. Have one simple objective. What do you want from the race? What will success look like? Focus on one thing. Don’t over analyse. The hard work is done. Seize the moment!
  6. Finally, visualise! Picture your perfect race. What does it look like? What will success look like? Picture the scene, store it and replay it when needed!

Handling pressure and anxiety is very much a by product of getting into the zone described above.  There are other things that can be done and should be remembered!

  1. Its ok to be nervous. You should be. It shows you care!
  2. Nerves plus adrenaline help to create the performance that you want.
  3. You can only control the controllable. 95% of our worries never materialise. Make sure that you have all bases covered and practice the points above.
  4. What is worst case scenario? Few things cannot be corrected. Have plan B’  if all else fails!
  5. Deep breathing helps control nerves. Deep breaths that you hold and slowly exhale. It is useful to practice breathing and relaxation techniques. Do this before race day, use a mental picture as you calmly breathe in and out and use the same technique as you need to leading up to the race.
  6. Be in the moment and not the future. You can’t control time.  Concentrate on one thing only.
  7. SMILE! One of the biggest actions to control nerves!

The mind is the most powerful that we have. Our training will help to prepare the body. Don’t overlook the mind. Ultimately, it’s the difference between GOOD and GREAT!  Always aim for GREAT. By using all of the tools and techniques in this and the previous six articles, you can add GREAT to your tool bag.

Never except anything than being  ‘the best version of you’!

I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life—and that is why I succeed

Michael Jordan 


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