"Be the best version of yourself in anything you do. You don't have to live anybody else's story."
You will often hear athletes, coaches, members of the sporting community talk about achieving optimal performance.
In the field of applied sport psychology, one of the primary focuses for Mental Performance Consultants (MPC) when working with athletes is to help athletes create, recognize and then attain their Ideal Performance State (IPS). The term itself loosely defines an optimal state of performance that encompasses both physical and mental activation and the necessary state an athlete must have in order to perform at their best and then consistently repeat.
I have included three components to identify and practise your “IPS” but first, a couple things to remember:
Everyone has a different “IPS”. What works for some, doesn’t necessarily work for others! Trust your own instincts and self-awareness. You know yourself better than anyone and probably have all this material right at your fingertips.
It may take time to determine what actually works so BE PATIENT! It is not easy to look back at the tough stuff. REMEMBER - this is a work in progress! Lastly, if you get stalled, talk to a coach, fellow teammate or parent. They may surprise you with knowledge of your tendencies too! It can be a great collaboration tool.
Here we go!
I like to start this exercise by first addressing the athletes perceptions of self-image, self-awareness and strengths and weaknesses within sport.
Similarly, examine your mental preparation: (communication with others level of focus, distraction management, use of visualization, and awareness of clear goals & state of relaxation). Do you have a solid understanding of what it feels like to be at your best and prepare for it?
If it ain’t broke don’t fix it – if there are aspects of your routine in which you are confident- trust them! If you find that there are a few things you need to work on in regards to finding your IPS or your “peak performance, optimal “flow” or feeling like you are in the zone” honour that intention and figure it out! It’s only going to help you in the future.
Paying attention to the little details may seem slightly insane now, but most athletes find confidence in preparation and their OWN routines! Find what works for you and work on it. It may surprise you when you are in a competition and realize that you are implementing the changes automatically.
Athlete Question: Are there barriers that consistently limit my ability to reach my Ideal Performance State that I need to address in my pre-training/competition routines?
Coach Question: How can I support my athletes in identifying aspects of their ideal performance state and help them practice implementing the necessary behaviors and routines in order to reach it?
As always, if you have any questions, please head to the website at www.c4success.ca and send us an email and check out our Mental Skills Training Program for Athletes!