Physical Activity

What Not to Talk About on Competition Day

When you’re at an event, there are hundreds of factors that can easily grab your attention and distract you from your purpose. Your mind is constantly filtering different stimuli as you try to stay calm and confident. People all around you are asking you questions and trying to engage.

To be your best, you have to learn how to navigate conversations and practice only talking about things that will help you. You have to work on what you’re saying, how you’re saying it and who you’re choosing to say it to. What you talk about often becomes what you think about.

So, if you continue to talk to everyone about how tired you are, how hot it is or what other athletes are capable of, you may be setting yourself up for feeling more fatigued and less confident. You may begin to believe that you’re not ready or that today is not your day. You might be trying to give yourself excuses in case you don’t perform as good as you want to. (That’s another post for another day but you know what I’m talking about.)

You see how that works? What you choose to talk about changes your focus and creates a cycle. Here’s a list of what not to talk about on competition day.

What NOT To Talk About on Competition Day (and What’s Really Not Worth Talking About Most of the Time)

  1. The poor or uncomfortable weather — Once you’ve planned for it, don’t mention it again.
  2. The schedule/heats/timing that isn’t what you expected — Know that you’ll have to adapt and do that. Don’t keep bringing it up.
  3. Other competitors, athletes, teams and what they are doing or aren’t doing — If there’s a takeaway or something to learn, great. Then get back to your prep.
  4. Any fatigue, pain, sickness that you’re feeling — Once you’ve spoken to your coach or loved ones about any concerns, decide on a plan and that’s that.
  5. How you didn’t sleep well at all last night — OK, well that’s in the past. You’re still capable of greatness and it’s time to do what you can.
  6. The equipment or gear you “wish was different” — Well it’s not, so….
  7. How bad or inconsistent the judging/reffing is — Bring up any issues with the head judge or your coach and then drop it.
  8. Your previous poor performances — Learn what you can from it, then focus on the present.

Of course, you’ll likely want to discuss some of the above topics with a coach and make sure you’re on the same page for any type of preparation or recovery. But spending time complaining or bringing these topics up again, and again will take away from your focus. Your attention will shift to factors you can’t control, which typically leads to doubt, frustration and anxiety.

Instead, continue to speak about how grateful you are, what your plan is and how you’re feeling prepared and ready. Be the light in your conversations and don’t give in when others start with the complaints, excuses, gossip, negativity or unnecessary comments.