You're getting ready for one of the biggest tournaments of your career. What do you do in the eleventh hour? In this feature, Melissa Witmer of Ultimate Results shares what you can do to get your body and mind ready during the week leading up to Nationals.
My advice to the best college players in the nation as they make final preparations for the big show:
It's just about go time! After all the preparation and training, don't blow it in the last week! What should you be doing to get yourself ready for the Championships?
The Physical: Do something. But not too much.
1. Recognize that nothing about your fitness level is going to change. Decreasing your training from now until nationals is not going to make you out of shape. Trust the taper and decrease your training volume!
2. Some players think that resting up for the big performance means doing absolutely nothing in the days leading up to the big event. I disagree. While fitness won't change, your mobility will change if not used regularly. At the very least, do your trypical dynamic warmup most days this week, especially the day before the main event.
3. Your mental sharpness, the way your central nervous system is primed for action, will get dull quickly if you cease using it completely. This is the second reason for continuing with the habit of your dynamic warmup. Doing those low level plyos or other drills that require quick foot speed will keep you sharp. You can even continue doing sprint workouts, but do fewer repetitions. Don't overdo it. Just do it.
The Mental: You're going to have ultimate on the brain all week anyway. Do it in a way that helps you!
1. Your central nervous system does not differentiate between physical and mental practice. While you are decreasing your training volume to spare your body, you can increase your mental practice. Take the opportunity this week to visualize what you want to execute on the field. The more scenarios you visualize, the better.
2. Mentally rehearse not only your skills, but also your emotions. How do you want to feel in the first warmup of the day? Confident and relaxed? Imagine it now, feel it later. How do you want to feel if someone makes a bullsh*t call? How will you react when it matters? If things like this normally throw you off your game, visualize yourself reacting in a way that gives you a positive outcome.
3. Ignore all of this advice if you need to. If you've found a way to prepare yourself that's worked in the past, stick to it regardless of what anyone else tells you. Everyone has an optimal way to prepare and no two players are going to be exactly alike.
At the end of the week, know that you've done everything within your power to prepare. When the day arrives turn off your brain and allow your body to do what comes naturally. The practice is over. The performance is on!
Good luck everyone!