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Use a WIN Approach to Make the Most of the Extended Off Season

Updated: Jun 3, 2020

Given the extended time away from physical practices, this is an ideal time to develop and strengthen the psychological tools that can maximize performance. These tools can be used to increase motivation and commitment to your off season workouts, build confidence while you are away from practice and competition, and increase your focus and ability to get in the zone when you do return. I think these are important foundational skills that can be applied in many ways to benefit performance and well-being.

Imagery: this is one the most versatile tools high performers can use.

  • Boost motivation and confidence by visualizing past successes and future dream accomplishments.

  • Reinforce decision making and learning as you pair imagery with watching film by mentally rehearsing the plays as you would want to execute.

  • Keep technique fresh by using imagery to do drills in your head.

Mindfulness: start practicing mindfulness to increase your concentration and attention for tasks. The more task oriented you can be while performing, the more likely you will let yourself play the way you know how. Mindfulness will also help you become more aware of your self, your thoughts, and emotions, and how these influence your performance. Listen to apps like Headspace, Calm, and 10% Happier to guide your practice.

Relaxation Breathing: Practice deep diaphragmatic breaths to slow down a stress or anxious physiological reaction. Effective breathing for relaxation includes bringing air in through your nose, and exhaling through your mouth. Find a rhythm that feels good for you- trying to have the exhale longer than the inhale. Pair a word in your mind on the exhale like "calm" or "ready". Getting skilled at relaxation breathing now will benefit you in the future when you need to quickly bring down your nervousness during competition. This will also benefit your over all well-being as we navigate this stressful time.

Start incorporating these into your daily routine. You don't need too much time to get a big benefit with continued practice. Want more guidance, or to individualize these for you? Contact me and let's create a plan for you.

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