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Setting your goals and preparations for a sporting event

Intrepid souls around the world settle down with pen and paper or smartphone and app to create a list of tasks that will unveil a 'New Me'. Unfortunately, statistics show that over 40 per cent of resolutions last over a month and over 80 per cent last less than three months.

The Sports Psychology of: Setting Goals and Achieving Them

Well, that's a lot of 'New Me' creations not quite making it out the box, isn't it? If you want to stick to your resolution, you need to approach it with the right mindset. She has been helping me to plan my own goals for the season ahead as well as sharing common techniques that all TWC readers can try.

We've still got plenty of ground to cover, and I'll be bringing more tips and tricks in the coming months. What is Sports Psychology?

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  • You mention on your website that you have experimented with the tapering phase leading up to competition, what timing has worked the best for you?

Mandic Jovan Sports Psychology has become more and more important to athletes in recent years. Or rather, it's always been important - but the benefits are becoming more widely understood. At the dawn of our first session, Dr Perry she explained: It's much more practical, looking at specific issues and how to overcome them, or strengths you've got and how to extend them.

Work out what your goals are and break them down Picasa Fail to plan: Anyone can start out with good intentions, but you need to work out a plan to help you realise them. There is a 'Yes' or 'No' answer, but those can be quite fluffy and not so measurable.

Then underneath those you can set performance goals - these are incredibly measurable and have a set date. So for example 'I will complete a 25 mile time trial in a set time by the end of September'.

Underneath that performance goal you'll then have process goals. These are the things you need to do to achieve the performance goals.

Such as 'complete time trial specific sessions, monitoring output, once a week'. Those are very specific actions that go into your training plan, so that everything in your training plan feeds into your goals - no session is wasted. It doesn't have to be incredibly precise but it's the thing that will keep you going during hard moments.

What do you need to achieve for this outcome? Achieve a set number of British Cycling race points, complete a time trial in a given setting your goals and preparations for a sporting event, complete half the distance of your goal event by July. Dr Perry suggests three of these - but remember they don't all have to be sports related, some might setting your goals and preparations for a sporting event around your career or home life.

Ride hill reps once a week, get a bike fit so you can train comfortably without injury, complete a strength session once a week or eat your 5 a day. Dr Perry tells me: Goals need to be measurable and they need an end date. Goals like this allow you to formulate a plan to get there. Make sure goals are a stretch, but realistic Picasa There is absolutely nothing wrong with dreaming big. In fact, dreaming big is great.

However, if your goal feels like you're on one side of a huge chasm, and achieving it is on the other side and you're afraid of heights - then it might be good to set an intermediate goal to start with.

The best goals are those that will stretch you, but that are achievable with hard work. If yours is so big you already feel like you can't do it, then maybe take a step back and plan something half way then when you've done that, go for the big one! Your 'Performance Goals' also need to be things that you can control - for example 'I want to win a specific race' is not a good goal to set because you can't control who else is there and you might be disappointed through no fault of your own if Marianne Vos shows up.

Look at what you need to achieve the dream and be inspired by others Picasa During our first session, Dr Perry helped me create a 'Performance Profile'. You normally do it at the beginning of a new training 'cycle'. You set your goals, then - no longer looking at yourself - you look at the areas that an athlete needs to achieve those goals. For example 'be incredibly fit', 'have a great sprint', 'have the time to train', 'have a great bike', 'have focus'.

Grade each one, out of 10, where you would need to be in order to achieve your goal. Then where you think you currently are. That shows the gaps are, and what you need to spend the most time on.

Then we grade how important each one is, and where I think I am. Though we started with a long list of things I 'needed' we end up with just two things that I actually need to prioritise. Negative goals do not help you how to use positivity and keep negative thoughts away cylcling Balint Hamvas You need to fill yourself with confidence to succeed - rather than reminding yourself of past failures.

So when you outline qualities, tasks and objectives to help you reach your overall goal, make sure they are positive. Negative Thoughts on the Bike: Tips for Blocking them Out Dr Perry says: So things like 'I won't have cake' don't work, they need to be positive things you can tick off each day. Lose 5kg by April.

5 Ways to Prepare for Your Sports Season

You might make the Process Goal: Finish 2017 having ridden 5,000 miles. Get 25 points by the end of the season. Give yourself confidence We all know that confidence is important — in so many ways. But sometimes we fail to recognise quite how much it impacts performance. They do massively feed into each other. So the more confident you are, the better you perform. For example, you can get a sense of confidence from being in a really supportive club, having a great coach you trust — but those can be lost easily — maybe you move area and leave your club or stop working with the coach.

Things like that make a massive difference. It's not just about what physical training you've done, but also how you feel about that training and the mental evidence that goes with it. And then if you're event is on a Sunday, on Thursday you can look back over your diary and pick out three things you've done that will help you on the day. Strap into your seatbelt - because 2017 is going to be an exciting year! We'll be bringing you more Sports Psychology hints and tips in the coming weeks and months.

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