Preparation for the most physically demanding events at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games begins weeks, months, and even years prior to the actual event! Events such as gymnastics, track and field, and swimming can put a ton of strain on both your joints and your muscular system. It’s critical to have a long-term goal for success by building strong short-term goals along the way. Treat each small goal as a check mark of success to build confidence and help steer the overall plan.
Having a strong support team to reinforce the drive and direction will be worth its weight in gold when the going gets tough. Having a dedicated team to help get you through tough training, mental hurdles, and keeping the vision clear is critical for success. Members of this team can vary from friends and family to physicians, physical therapists, strength and conditioning coaches, and massage therapists. The strongest support teams are comprised of those who understand you both physically and mentally.
Next, staying calm and relaxed will be very important. It can be very easy to become overly excited and feel anxious in anticipation of the event. This type of reaction can begin to mobilize energy and get you ready for the race but what if it’s a few hours before the race? This could be detrimental to your performance when you are finally ready to go. So keeping a calm demeanor and not getting ahead of yourself will also be critical for success when dealing with physically demanding events.
Additionally, develop a strong pre-race routine that gets you physically prepped and ready to go. This plan should be developed and practiced well before the actual event so there are no surprises. You should know exactly which movements work for you and what YOU need for a successful race. This pre-race routine is also a time to align your “mind’s eye” to the goal. Seeing yourself driving towards the finish line or soaring through the air. Recapping all the hard work you’ve done to get where you are. Knowing you’re ready, you’re ready to win!
Jamie Osmak is a certified strength and conditioning specialist at the Tisch Performance Center. Jamie is a USA Track and Field Level 1 coach and corrective exercise specialist with a degree in Exercise Science from Rutgers University.