Tournament Mindset. Woosahhh
fresh from f00k
With the American Cup coming up, there has been a lot of talk in the gym about what your tournament mindset should be like. I am in no way a tournament mindset expert, but I have done a few (13) and will throw in what has worked best for me.
First of all, it is natural for EVERYONE to get a little nervous, especially before their first match. You will get nervous, your opponent will get nervous, even your teammates and coaches will get nervous. I think what measures how nervous you are usually depends on how much “outcome dependent” you are. For example, if you have someone that is doing a tournament as a dare or just to mess around, they will probably be less nervous than someone going in knowing that if they don’t get 1st place, they won’t get promoted. Don’t think too far ahead and take baby steps. Work on implementing your game plan (not falling into theirs) and focus winning match by match instead of just winning the tournament as a whole.
A lot of people worry and stress about the tournament before it even starts. I am guilty of this as even my heart starts beating fast whenever I go to the American Cup website. But let’s remember, worrying won’t change the outcome. i.e. let’s say Jimmy has run out of his LA Looks hair gel and has 10 mins to go to the store with no phone. Worrying about if there is going to be another bottle on the shelf before his dinner, isn’t going to change the outcome of a bottle being there. If anything it will only stress him out on the way and may even ruin his mood the rest of the day. Waka waka waka! So don’t worry!
It’s always a good thing to get a good stretch and warm up before you step foot on the mat; just enough to loosen you up and get a good flow of humidity through your gi, not drenched in sweat. Also I’ve found listening to music keeps you relaxed from the yelling and cheers of the environment around you that may fill you with anxiety.
One important thing I learned is that if you are nervous, don’t fight it. Just accept it as a fact, say, “I’m ok with being nervous” and move on. It’s a paradox, whatever you resist, persist! If you try not to be nervous, you will only become more nervous.
Overall I would just say don’t hype up the tournament and just think of it as though you are rolling at One World Abu Dhabi style. Here’s a clip I was lucky enough to find from the movie Tin Cup. Like Mikee always tells Mo, “Stop over thinking things.” Just go!