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.

Selected Posts

Experience

Curling, like golf, places a very heavy emphasis on “experience”, the one aspect of preparation no coach can teach! You have to “get your nose blooded” from time-to-time (figuratively speaking…

How Well Do You Play The Golf Course?

Hundreds of years ago those hearty Scots were seen sliding large chunks of granite on frozen lochs in the winter and attempting to manipulate a small, feather filled ball into…

Striving for peak performance or how the kingdom was won

Performance has been described in many ways throughout the years. Each has its merits and brings light to the murky situation of analyzing a concept that has so many intangibles….