Trust: Competition Mindset

In most domains of performance, much more time is spent practicing and preparing for competition than actually competing. This is obviously helpful for skill development. During practice, our mindset is analytical, focused on error detection and correction, and self-monitoring. This mindset is essential for skill development, but as discussed earlier is counter-productive to skill execution.

In order to successfully perform the skills we have trained, we must be able to shift to the competition, or trusting, mindset. In the competition mindset, we let go of conscious control of the movements necessary to perform and allow our learned skills to be automatically executed. The competition mindset is a skill in and of itself (and a difficult one at that), and thus requires practice just as any other skill we wish to develop.

The spectacular performers of Cirque du Soleil at times deliver over 400 performances in a single year. They are masters of the competition mindset, and this is part of their stunning showmanship. For the rest of us, we must intentionally cultivate the competition mindset by dedicating time to practicing in the mindset. This means setting aside time to simulate competition and performing skills without technical feedback, self-monitoring, and coaching. Similar to a physical periodization regimen, how you incorporate the different mindsets will vary based on the time of year. Typically, it would be effective to spend a greater proportion of practice time early in the season to the practice mindset. However, some time, perhaps 5-10%, should still be spent in the competition mindset. Later in the year as skills have been developed and refined and physical training is tapering, the majority of practice time will be in the competition mindset. These sessions will likely be shorter in duration and higher intensity (with some variability depending on the performance) and focused on developing trust in executing the skills already mastered.

No matter what your performance area, spending time in the trusting mindset can be a welcome relief from our tendency to be overly critical and caught up in our own heads. Give yourself time to enjoy performing the skills you have developed. It will result in more effective and consistent performances while fostering confidence and motivation.


2 thoughts on “Trust: Competition Mindset

  1. Pingback: Top Dog | The Performance of Your Life

  2. Pingback: See it – Feel it – Trust it | The Performance of Your Life

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s