Many of us admit to being busy, and we probably are, so as an athlete wanting to maximise every moment to help our development, the drive to and from training can be one of two things. The first, dead-time, where we achieve nothing but moving ourselves physically from one point to another. The second, effective preparation time, where we can move ourselves physically but also mentally, from whatever mental state the day has provided to one where we are ready to perform at our best.
The time we spend getting to and from training can add up over the weeks. In some cases it could be quite considerable, so why not use it to our advantage by having some strategies to get ourselves mentally prepared to maximise our effort on field.
If we drive alone or take public transport, this could be time spent organising our thoughts and experiences from the day, acknowledging that they exist and that we will deal with them at a later time. If we have had a terrible day and we feel like we have copped a few punches to our mental state, if unaddressed, our energy levels and ability to concentrate on training will be negatively impacted. Processing these thoughts and emotions, and giving them a little bit of energy in the car or on the bus, will appease our minds need to continually think about them. We can say to ourselves, "yep, I had a tough day, and I need to deal with this situation, but I am not going to be able to do it while I’m on the field, so I will park it until later". We will have appeased our mind so we can move on creating some positive and constructive thoughts around performance at training. What will our focuses be? Put on our favourite sound track to create some good vibes as we think about the energy we will need to be able to perform at our best. Reflect on the last session and the positives that came out of it. Move your mind to the good stuff.
If we are driven to training by our parents or a friend, we can do the same thing in terms of parking any mental distractions. We can then invest some energy into a constructive discussion about training with mum or dad or our friend. They could be a sounding board for our focus points. Be proactive about this situation though, and ask them to help you with your mental preparation. Make sure they understand that you want to use this time to prepare mentally for training, so ask them to refrain from bringing the conversation down to a whinge-fest or creating negativity in the car.
Picture two athletes driving to training. The first is mulling over everything that went wrong today at work and dreading going into the office in the morning because the poop will hit the fan. The other athlete, with the same situation at work, acknowledges that work won’t be fun in the morning but that is for then, not now. They are able to move on and prepare themselves mentally to be up beat and positive and that training will be the best outlet for any frustrations. The first athlete will more than likely just want to keep driving home and not face training. The second athlete will be bouncing out of their car looking forward to getting to work on the field.
Maximise your time and efforts during your drive to training by acknowledging your distractions, parking them for later, and creating positive vibes in preparation for your best performance.
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