Lattice Blog

How to Try Hard: Pre-Performance Routines

In today’s post, coach Matt explains how a pre-performance routine may be the key to ‘try hard’!

Do you struggle to activate ‘try hard’ mode?

Find yourself on the wall, easily distracted when you’re supposed to be performing?

Your head and your body aren’t focused? Aren’t giving it your all?

It seems as if the best athletes and climbers can access this ‘try hard’ mindset. They have focus and drive; they can push themselves. In the moment, the only thing that exists is the climb, the next hold, the next move. It’s the only thing that matters.

How can you tap into this skill, into this headspace, more consistently?

A ‘pre-performance routine’ might work for you!

What is a ‘pre-performance routine’?

A pre-performance routine is like a ritual: a series of thoughts or actions performed prior to performance execution that get athletes ‘in the zone’.

Because the thoughts and/or actions are carried out systematically and consistently before performing, whenever these thoughts or actions happen, it signals to your mind and body that ‘trying hard’ is about to happen. This assists with eliminating distractions and shifting focus to the task.

They are commonplace in lots of self-paced sports, such as tennis, golf, weightlifting and diving.

For example, basketball player Michael Jordan, would focus on the rim of the basket whilst he spun the ball in his hands once, bounced it three times, and then spun it again, before making the throw. 

Examples of Climbing pre-performance routines:

  • Listen to music before your attempt; try a genre or artist that gets you psyched
  • Meditate to calm yourself; for some, mentally rehearsing the moves is meditative
  • Use a rehearsed re-warm up; feel strong and recruited before your burn
  • Positive self-talk or a personal mantra; decrease stress and increase self-efficacy
  • Use your ‘lucky’ piece of kit that sees you up your hardest projects!

Quality efforts can occur without a pre-performance routine; sometimes the stars align and ‘try hard’ happens. But, for many, this relegates ‘try hard’ to a sporadic occurrence.

When you have a method for activating this mindset, you stack the odds in your favour, making ‘try hard’ a more easily accessible, regular occurrence and boosting your performance.

This is not to say that everyone NEEDS to put their right shoe on before their left, or have a lucky pair of pants! But developing your own routine may be the key for activating the ‘try hard’ flow state more easily and readily!

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