Competition: How do I ‘just do it’?
How do you just do it and when? In the heat of competition – that’s the time to just do it! The best time to concentrate and really think about what you are doing is during practice. Sounds simple enough, right? But is it?
Because practice is the time to think about making changes and getting technically sound, this mentality tends to carry over into competition. During competition, this thinking is hard to let go of because now it’s an ingrained habit – ‘if I think about what I am doing wrong, I can fix it’. Sometimes, maybe, but when you are wrapped up in “what is wrong,” you tend to get wrapped up in negativity.
How do I get myself to the place where I can just do it?
What “just do it” means
Just do it or just play really is another word for being in the zone. You aren’t thinking about what you are doing. You aren’t being distracted internally or externally. Generally, you feel joy in what you are doing. You are moving, playing, and performing intuitively. You are using the muscle memory you built up during practice to flow out of you.
Distractions get in the way
There are many things that get in the way of you being in your zone. So many of my clients overanalyze and overthink what they are doing so it becomes forced which causes tension and nerves. Versus allowing their muscle memory to do its job – move, play, and perform.
Internal and external distractions block you from your ability to perform. Internal dialogue about what you should have or should be doing and focusing on, and what others are doing takes your mind off ‘the game’ and ‘out of the zone.’ Worrying about the sun, wind, your parents and coaches pulls you out of being focused on the present moment and your ability to just play.
Your ego (brain) takes over your mind and your body making it impossible to listen to your intuition.
How to just do it when competing
- Train yourself to let go of thinking
- Develop awareness of distractions (internal and external)
- Practice refocusing when you realize you’ve lost focus
- Learn to know what is in and out of your control
- Develop the ability to listen to your intuition
You can learn to just do it, just play and be in your zone more often than you are now. But you have to train your brain to understand that practice and competition are different. Then you have to come up with a mental game plan for competition that prepares you for what you want.
Your pre-game routine is what you practice before your competition no matter whether it is a game, match, heat, run, etc. You have to plan it and make time for it. It becomes your guidebook – your inspiration – your routine – your pre-game ritual.