Rituals: Powerful Pre-Event Routines Help You Perform To Your Potential.
Athletes, sales people, teachers,
public speakers, media people and anyone else who "officially performs"
successfully uses pre-performance routines or rituals. This article
tells why you need them, how they work, and reveals the top 20 strategies
peak performers use to psych up for top performances.
Powerful Pre-Event Routines
Help You Perform to Your Potential
Bill Cole, MS, MA
Founder and CEO
William B. Cole Consultants
Silicon Valley, California
Athletes, sales people, teachers, public speakers,
media people and anyone else who "officially performs" successfully
uses pre-performance routines or rituals. Even if you don't view
what you do as a performance, you can use routines to help you relax,
focus and prepare mentally and physically for an upcoming event.
A ritual is a systematic series of steps undertaken prior to the
execution of a task designed to help you sharpen mentally, emotionally
and physically. If you are an athlete, you may have things you like
to do ahead of your event that make you feel optimistic, confident
and energized. This is your ritual. If you are a businessperson
making a presentation, you probably perform tasks ahead of time
that contribute to your focus and organization. If you have to make
an important, difficult phone call, you should have a routine you
use to keep you calm, in the proper mood and frame of mind.
Choose Your Ritual Style
There are two times to use your rituals. One
is used for mental preparation just prior to the start of your event
and the other is used during the event, but during breaks in the
action, to re-focus or re-energize. In addition, there are two broad
styles of rituals. If you enjoy focusing specifically on the upcoming
event and organizing details, thinking about it, imagining yourself
performing well and can see yourself completing the event successfully,
you use an associative style of preparation. If doing all that makes
you nervous, and you'd rather not focus on what is about to happen,
and instead prefer to distract yourself by listening to music, reading,
viewing television or the like, then you use a dissociative style
of preparation. Both styles are valid and appropriate. The key is
to know which one works best for you and to consistently apply that
ritual. Remember that even not thinking about the upcoming event
is a legitimate style of preparing if you use it consistently across
all your performances. This is your customized way of preparing
to perform your best.
Ultimately, it may be best to work with a mental game coach to be
able to purposively focus on the upcoming event so you can iron
out any performance issues and to prepare as fully as possible using
the associative approach.
Having a ritual does not mean you are obsessed with its completion.
Your ritual exists to serve you, not the other way around. We hear
about professional athletes who have superstitious, elaborate rituals
they must perform to feel ready to play. We hear of tennis pros
who may not shave the week of a big event, may eat the same meal
at the same restaurant and may wear the same clothes for each match.
This is extreme, but it does make them feel secure and confident.
Even for professional athletes, the ritual should be easy to perform,
take no longer than a few minutes, always be under your control
and not require any special equipment. This way you can always perform
Ritual Success Strategies
Here are twenty practical items you may use as
a menu for designing your own pre-performance rituals:
- eat specific meals at specific times
- make an overall game plan
- make back-up and emergency contingency plans
- check all equipment you will use
- stretch and exercise to burn off excess nervous energy
- visualize your success in the event
- warm-up everything you will use in your performance
- seek a coach or confidant who will listen to you
- wear clothes that make you feel confident
- provide some quiet time for yourself
- check out the venue where you will perform
- use positive self-talk and positive imagery
- watch your best performances on video tape
- be around people who support you and make you feel confident
- be around people who are excellent models of mental toughness
- know your opening tactics cold so they are automatic
- read your mental training journal for evidence of past successes
- maintain a consistent, organized schedule so there is no last-minute
- seek support staff to reduce pressure on yourself
- stay tuned to any last minute time or program changes for your
Rituals are perhaps the most misunderstood and
most under-used mental training tools in a performer's tool kit.
If you have experienced hypnosis, relaxation training, autogenics,
meditation, prayer, long retreats, yoga or other mind-body disciplines,
you can attest to the deep focused relaxation and feelings of well-being
that accrue. If you spend time with any top performers you will
observe their rituals and routines that propel them out of ordinary
consciousness into the hyper-state of intense focus that is required
to reach the flow state--the peak performance state. Begin building
your custom rituals for personal power now.
To learn about coaching services offered by Bill Cole, MS, MA, the
Mental Game Coach, visit www.mentalgamecoach.com/Services.html.
Bill Cole, MS, MA. All rights reserved.
Bill Cole, MS, MA, a leading authority
on peak performance, mental toughness and coaching, is founder and
CEO of William B. Cole Consultants, a consulting firm that helps
organizations and professionals achieve more success in business,
life and sports. He is also the Founder and President of the International
Mental Game Coaching Association (www.mentalgamecoaching.com),
an organization dedicated to advancing the research, development,
professionalism and growth of mental game coaching worldwide. He
is a multiple Hall-Of-Fame honoree as an athlete, coach and school
alumnus, an award-winning scholar-athlete, published book author
and articles author, and has coached at the highest levels of major-league
pro sports, big-time college athletics and corporate America. For
a free, extensive article archive, or for questions and comments
visit him at www.MentalGameCoach.com.
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