Perfecting your Performance Routines

I always enjoy learning what professional athletes do to feel ready for games. While some people make light of them as superstitions, sport psychologists consider performance routines to be an effective way for athletes to get in the zone before and during games.  From Dwayne Wade’s pre-game pull-ups on the rim to the number of times Serena Williams bounces the ball before her tennis serve, there are a variety of components that go into crafting the perfect performance routine. While many athletes and teams incorporate a consistent warm-up, consider what you can do to create a personalized routine that will help you perform at your best. Here are some tips for developing effective performance routines:

1.     In addition to your pre-game routine, consider what components of your performance would benefit from a routine: the serve in tennis, the putt in golf, the face-off in lacrosse, the foul shot in basketball, etc.

2.     Incorporate a relaxation technique like belly breathing and/or an energizing technique like upbeat music depending on your optimal performance state.

3.     Refine and specify the simple components that are already a part of what you do, like bouncing the ball a certain number of times before your tennis serve or foul shot or doing a particular series of stretches.

4.     Consider adding a grounding technique that helps you get out of your head and focus on the moment, such as squeezing your fist, gripping your bat in softball, or seeing the net in soccer.

5.     Keep it simple and make sure your routine is 100% within your control.

6.     Implement the routine consistently so it becomes a cue to get you in the zone of optimal performance.