As spring semester rolls around one of my favorite seasons is upon us… track season. Indoor season is now in full swing and I couldn’t be happier (unless it was outdoor season and I was prepping for discus of course). With the start of a new season comes the nerves and anticipation as each Saturday creeps closer. One way to combat these nerves is to have a set routine to prep for each meet.
Until recently I have struggled to get myself in the right mindset on meet day. I had coaches telling me to get angry and throw which made me tense up… not a good thing, while other coaches told me not to think at all, just to go out and throw. Seems simple right?
It wasn’t until I read about the flow state that I understood how to mentally prepare for a meet. Flow is a feeling of being in the zone and completely immersed in what you’re doing, where peak performance is possible. In order to make it to a state of complete immersion on meet day prep has to start early.
After reviewing film from last week’s meet at UK I narrowed down three technical aspects to work on and tagged them with verbal cues: chin, knee, and step. Throughout the week I’ve been visualizing my throw by studying greatness, like film of the hammer throw world record holder Yuriy Sedykh and visualizing myself executing some of his positions
After prepping myself mentally and physically throughout the week all I can do is stay relaxed and focused. When the bus pulls up headphones go in. Before you know it you’re warming up for your flight and its time to go.
Joking around with teammates and releasing endorphins through laughing is the best way for me to stay relaxed. When it’s time to get in the ring all I can do is think about the rhythm of the throw. The taps of my feet on the turns and a smooth release should be my only concern during the three-second throw. All of this work is put in for (hopefully) 6 throws but it is all worth it when everything clicks.
Releasing the implement and knowing you got a personal record is the most rewarding feeling. It’s what throwers live for.