Mental preparation

All athletes have to deal with stressful situations that can negatively impact their ability to perform in a given situation, by making it difficult to focus on those things that are required for optimal execution. This issue is always more pronounced in the most important competitive situations. Like all skills, the techniques that assist with the mental side of sport must also be rehearsed and practiced until they become habit. In curling, this practice is essential in order to prevent “competitive breakdown” of one’s curling delivery. At the end of the day, the use of imagery, focus practice, rehearsal, self-talk, and other techniques are simply ways to combat that competitive breakdown so that the athlete can, under pressure, perfectly execute the necessary shots.

Mental preparation

  • In this essay, former National Training Centre coach Bill Tschirhart discusses the topics of activation, confidence, trust, attitude, imagery, and “brain balance”, all essential to avoiding the competitive breakdown of a curling delivery. “The most important aspects of a curling delivery I can’t capture on video tape” is essay #4 in Bill’s A Pane in the Glass series.
  • In this essay entitled “Confidence and expectations are not synonyms“, Bill Tschirhart argues for goal-setting based on measureable performance outcomes, not expectations nor wins-and-losses. Essay #2 in Bill’s A Pane in the Glass series.
  • So you want to be perfect?” is an essay by Bill Tschirhart, based on research material from John Dunn, about adaptive and maladaptive perfectionism and the impact of these characteristics on high-performance athletes. Essay #25 in Bill Tschirhart’s A Pane in the Glass series.
  • In essay #40 of Bill Tschirhart’s A Pane in the Glass series, Bill outlines his “Performance Formula” for high-performance teams.
  • Former Wilfrid Laurier University coach Maurice Wilson discusses aspects of team dynamics and the “performance formula” in two articles entitled “Not all groups are teams and how to tell the difference” and “Striving for peak performance or how the kingdom was won“.
  • In this essay entitled “Routine versus Ritual“, Bill Tschirhart discusses the importance of a rehearsed pre-shot routine. Essay #35 in Bill’s A Pane in the Glass series.
  • Glenn Paulley of the Ontario Curling Council draws parallels between the pre-shot routine in curling to that in golf by reviewing Bob Rotella’s book, Golf is Not a Game of Perfect, from a curling perspective, in an article entitled “The Importance of the Pre-shot Routine“.
  • Bill Tschirhart comments on the narrow margin between winning and losing in essay #43 in his A Pane in the Glass series, entitled “The Margin of Victory“.
  • This article by Rusty Schieber of Wisconsin contains his motivating remarks to his junior women’s rink as they are about to begin play at their first USA national championship. The article is entitled “The Squirrel Who Wouldn’t Quit” and it is essay #28 in Bill Tschirhart’s A Pane in the Glass series.
  • In this 2007 essay about attitude, performance, and distractions, Bill Tschirhart discusses the play of major league baseball player Manny Ramirez who at the time played for the Boston Red Sox. Essay #15 in Bill’s A Pane in the Glass series.

Why Teams Lose

I am going to base this post on the work of one of my favourite sports psychology authors, Jim Loeher and the words in his book “The New Toughness Training for…

Famous Last Words

Many have asked me what I say to teams about to play for a major curling prize like the recently concluded World Senior Curling Championships in Fredericton, NB. It’s certainly…

Process v. Outcome

It was hard to watch. With four holes to play in the 2012 British Open (sorry UK, yours isn’t the only Open), Aussie Adam Scott with Tiger Woods former caddie,…