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By Ron O’Brien

What You Can Do Right Now

1) Plan from the event date(s) back to the present and account for:

  • Training days
  • Training volume and intensity
  • Rest days
  • Peaking period
  • Meet simulation training with audiotape
  • Exercise volume, intensity, peaking and tapering
  • Specific day-to-day training schedule while at trials.

2) Do your heavy, intense training early (with mini-tapers for competitions), so as you approach the event you feel prepared. Your training should make you feel that you have worked hard enough so that you deserve to win.

3) From your meet simulation training, do the following

  • Determine technical areas to be emphasized
  • Establish point goals (best list and compilation of best dive totals)
  • Analyze previous event results and determine where your point goals will allow you to finish
  • Believe it

4) Create a videotape of the best performance of each of your dives. If possible, add music which helps you get in a positive, confident mood. You can also create an audiotape which walks you through your dives with the same music in the background.

5) Visualize yourself at the facility, doing your dives and achieving your goal in the event. Make this as real as possible. Having been to the facility before can be a great be a great benefit in this process.

What You Can Do Four Weeks before the Competition

6) Think about every possible scenario that could happen to distract or upset you, both in and out of competition and the pool. Play it out and determine what the correct response would be to each situation. Program it in your memory and be prepared to react that way in the event these things happen. Review this process frequently.

7) Spend time putting the competition into a healthy perspective. It is not a life or death situation. You will survive and go on, no matter what, so don’t build the event up in your mind.

8) Watch some inspirational movies: Rocky I, II or III, Chariots of Fire, The Billy Mills Story, Iron Will.

What You Can Do When You Get to the Competition Site

9) Trust the training you have done to prepare for the competition and work on fine-tuning minor details.

10) Get plenty of rest and keep a positive mental attitude.

11) Remember you are there to get comfortable with the facility (springboards, platform, lighting etc.)

12) Follow your pre-planned preparation schedule, but be flexible.

13) If you have a bad practice, do not take this as an indication that you are not ready. Your preparation plan and training will allow you to do well in the competition.

14) Continue to use your best ever video and/or audiotapes daily.

15) Continue to visualize the event unfolding, dive by dive, as you want it to happen.

What You Can Do On Competition Day

16) Plan your day carefully so you have plenty of time to get from one place to another. Avoid having to rush. Follow the guideline “walk slow and talk slow.” Keeping your pace controlled will help put your energy level right where you want it.

17) Do not try too hard to dive well in warm-ups. These are merely to get your body physically ready. A bad or average warm-up can many times result in a great competition.

18) Create a consistent pattern of what you do and when you do it, as you move to the springboard or platform area. This will help create a rhythm to your performance.

19) Keep the same timing of how long you wait before starting each dive. This continues the rhythm and helps keep all dives the same in importance, regardless of the circumstances.

20) Determine ahead of time a strategy for whether you will or will not watch other divers and keep track of scores and places. This should be based on your history of how you compete best. Once the strategy is in place, stick with it!

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