A pre performance routine is the “sequence of task, relevant thoughts and actions which an athlete systematically engages prior to his or her performance of a specific sport skill” (Moran 1996, p177).
The objective of executing a pre-performance routine is to assist the athlete to gain full focus of the task at hand. Just prior to starting the performance, it is quite common that noises, people moving around, intrusive thoughts, and emotions become a distraction. Unless the athlete has a plan to avoid these distraction, he/she will most likely be caught up in any one of these uncontrollable situations and, as a consequence, lose focus. Also, random thoughts may lead to an increase in anxiety, which will most likely negatively affect the outcome of the performance. By having a pre-performance routine, athlete are better able to navigate distractions and maintain full attention to the performance they are about to execute.
Pre-performance routines can be practiced by any athlete. It is quite common to see golfers following a detailed preparation, which may include the following steps: stand four steps behind the ball, take a deep breathe, set the right foot before the left one, fidget with the grip, look at the target again, and visualize the shot before they start swinging the club on each shot.
Rituals, however, connotes the need to follow specific steps for the purpose of obtaining a result. Athletes are aware that they have no control over the final result and only their best efforts may lead to success. Routines, which are done to elicit intensity or/and focus, help athletes enhance their physical, tactical, strategic, and mental aspect so they perform to their fullest potential.
The best time to practice a routine is during training. It helps to cement the sequential steps that lead to enhance focus when the pressure of competition is felt.
Set your pre-competition routine
1- Establish a set of breathing, tactical, strategic, and mental steps that can be constantly repeated.
2. Practice the routine during training times to establish a stronger mental pattern.