The 2016 Summer Olympics, commonly known as Rio 2016, is a major international multi-sport event due to take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 5 to 21 August 2016.
Inspite of all the year round tough training, athletes and competititors are left battling with negative thoughts, lack of confidence, an inability to focus, overwhelming anxiety or a fear of failure… Mental training is helpful here in order to compete at a high level. Most athletes at the professional and Olympic level use visualization and other mental training tools to enhance their performance.
Combining meditation and visualizations can be a powerful tool to help athletes reach their optimal level of performance. Implementing a meditation and visualization program can provide athletes with a way to train when being physical isn’t an option, like while traveling or during recovery periods. It can also help athletes through injuries by shifting attention away from the injury and onto mental rehearsal of visualization scripts to aid in recovery and reentry. No matter what their condition, by practicing meditation and visualization skills on a daily basis 10-15 minutes each day, either in the morning before training or at the end of the day while stretching, recovering, and preparing for bed.
Principles for Outstanding Olympic Performance
According to Dr. Christopher Garcia, Doctor of Physical Therapy and Certified Sports Clinical Specialist , who has been fortunate to work with some of the world’s most incredible athletes, gold medalists, world record holders, Paralympians and Olympians. the essentials for outstanding sports perormance are,
- Care: Take note that what separates olympians from others is their genuine interest in their wellbeing and goals. Don’t treat them like a number.
- Individuality: Try to understand them & their sport and event. This is critical. Don’t assume every running athlete wants to midfoot strike or run in minimalist shoes. Even if you’ve seen thousands of elite athletes walk through your door, make sure you treat the athlete in front of you as a new person.
- Identify the Goals: Establish them. Whether it’s increasing vertical jump height or improving hip mobility to squat more weight, there has to be objective goals to achieve and surpass. Athletes need this. It may be different from your goal as a coach or provider. Take a step back and make sure your goal matches theirs. “To build a unique skill you must apply yourself to your goal with consistency over a very long period of time. It may appear that you are doing nothing exceptional on any given day, but the cumulative effect of your efforts are what will set you apart.” says, Amy Acuff, an accomplished High Jumper, Six Time U.S. Outdoor Champion and Five Time Olympian to Women Fitness.
- Look at the Big Picture : Know where they are in their training cycle and how it relates to their goal. Is the athlete in-season? Off-season? Do they have a competition coming up? Establish a sense of intensity and volume to apply during their rehab or training. Ignoring this can have a detrimental impact on the results, as overdoing rehab or training right before an event can cause excessive stress, increase pain and impair performance. Kara Winger who is a two-time olympian in Javelin Throw speaks to Women Fitness ” Moving your body in all kinds of complex and strange ways is great training, because javelin is complex and strange! But your brain needs a break from specific javelin technique, so playing other sports growing up is great for developing javelin skills without wearing yourself out. Watching video and visiting throwing forums to study the sport can help a lot, and getting a jump on what we call “pre-habilitation” to prepare your joints and muscles for the demands of throwing is huge. Fundamentals are important in every sport, and in throwing that means making sure that your body can withstand the crazy forces put on it by your implement.”
- Find the “It” Factor: Why do they want to achieve their goal? For some athletes, their goal is different than their “it.” Someone may want to lose 10lbs, but their “it” might be to improve theirphysique for a wedding or beach season. (Yes, beach season.) An athletes’ goal might be to decrease knee pain to participate in their sport, but the underlying “it” reason is to be able to get that D1 college scholarship for the scout that will be at an upcoming tournament. Understand the difference so you can better relate and keep the overall “it” in mind.
- Programming Individually: Program according to their training and fitness ability. Every athlete requires an individual tailor-made program. Tailor each session, each week and each training or rehab cycle to the athlete’s goals and ability. If an athlete is unable to balance well, don’t apply significant load to force them to improve. Modify and adapt each program for each person.
- Reassess & Stay Updated: Constantly reassess their who, what, when, why and how factor. This is the art of working with athletes. Stay up-to-date with research and connect with your team of mentors and professionals to ensure you’re maximizing the athlete’s potential.
- Nutrition, a Complete Essential: Food is a vital part of any elite athletes training programme and has the power to impact positively on performance. Athletes’ diets are designed to suit the specific demands of their sport and ensure the food and drinks they consume to contribute to the delivery of the ‘nutritional outcomes’ they need to achieve to support their training regime.
- Mental training, a complete essential in order to compete at a high level. Most athletes at the professional and Olympic level use visualization and other mental training tools to enhance their performance.
- Be Respectful: “Being on a team with over 20 girls isn’t always the easiest! This is something we really educate ourselves on to ensure we always are a family. When situations come up we are extremely respectful of one another and handle it right away in the way we see fits for the better of the team. We do a lot of team building and over the years it has really changed the whole environment to such an amazing group. We embodied a team first attitude and the quicker we bought into this the faster we were successful.” are the words of Brianne McLaughlin, an exceptionally talented American Ice Hockey goaltender and twice Olympic Silver medalist. She has won twice Gold and one silver in IIHF World Women’s Ice Hockey Championships. She spoke this in her conversation with Namita Nayyar, President Women Fitness.
Women Fitness wishes all Olympian contenders to give in their best.
“Go Out to Surprise Yourself at Rio”