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|Your Performing Edge: Top 10 Tips
(Excerpt from the book Your Performing Edge)
JoAnn Dahlkoetter, Ph.D.
Your Performing Edge: The Complete Mind-Body Guide for Excellence in Sports, Health,
and Life, by JoAnn Dahlkoetter (Pulgas Ridge Press, 2002)
Mindfulness: Practice being in the present moment. Remind yourself to stay in the
here and now. Let past and future events fade into the background.
Power Imagery: Visualization is not something you do only in the quiet of your
bedroom. Use your mental images throughout the workout to create feelings of speed and
power. (e.g., When you come to an unexpected hill visualize a magnet pulling you
effortlessly to the top).
Positive Attitude: Use everything in the workout to your advantage. For example, if
another athlete passes you, tuck in behind and go with his or her energy for as long as
possible. You may catch a "second wind" and be carried on to a new personal
Short-term goals: Focus on your immediate target. Break your training down into
small, manageable pieces and begin to focus only on the first portion, not the entire
workout (e.g., Say to yourself: "Im just relaxing and getting my rhythm during
the first mile").
Association: Pay close attention to your tension level and training form. Do a body
scan while working out and relax your tight muscles frequently. Ask yourself: "Are my
shoulders and neck relaxed; how does this pace feel; how much energy is left in my
Pain Management: If you have "good pain" that is not seriously damaging
your body, just shift attention to your breathing or cadence of movement, and let the
discomfort fade into the background. You can also use the pain as feedback. Register it
not as pain but as effort level. Say: "Now I know exactly how hard Im working.
I know how this pace feels. My body is doing what it should be doing."
Process not Outcome: Look only at what you need to do right now (e.g., pace,
breathing, concentration); your final time, place, or score will take care of itself.
Focused Attention: Be aware of distractions. Breathe out unwanted thoughts with
your next exhale and re-focus your attention instantly on what is important.
Affirmations: Make positive self-statements continually. Negative thinking is quite
common; everyone has an inner critic. Become aware of these thoughts early on. Dont
fight with them; simply acknowledge their presence, and then substitute a positive
affirmation. (e.g., When youre thinking: "This hurts too much, I want to lie
down and die"; say to yourself: "This feeling is connected with going faster and
doing my absolute best").
Enjoyment: Celebrate your fitness and strength. When the competition arrives, let
your body do what youve trained it to do. Remember that your goals are realistic.
All you need to do is perform up to your capabilities.
JoAnn Dahlkoetter, Ph.D., author of YOUR PERFORMING EDGE, is an internationally
recognized sports psychologist, past winner of the San Francisco Marathon and 2nd in the
Hawaii Ironman Triathlon. For your FREE NEWSLETTER with valuable TRAINING TIPS and helpful
articles, or for your AUTOGRAPHED BOOK, click YOUR
PERFORMING EDGE: www.YourPerformingEdge.com. Dr. Dahlkoetter provides coaching
by phone for optimal mind-body performance. For information, Email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 650-654-5500.