Many people head off to the grocery store with a list in hand, or at least in mind, while others prefer to just turn up and wing it. While “winging it” in the grocery store might work out OK for you, I strongly caution the use of this tactic in performance.
A successful performance is 90 percent preparation and 10 percent action. Heading to the show pen with a solid game plan (preparation and performance plan) will boost your confidence and increase your consistency. Who couldn’t use a little more of each of those?
A Preparation and Performance Plan will differ from person to person depending on individual goals and experiences, but basically, these are the steps you will take prior to and during your performance to give yourself the best possible opportunity to succeed.
So how do you create a preparation plan and what should you include?
Preparation begins well before the event. Use your training journal, and in detail, record your preparation procedures that precede each event. What exactly did you do before the event?
Take a good look at the steps you took prior to and during the event and mark which ones you think helped you and which may have hindered you from giving your best performance. This is the first step in figuring out what works for you.
Look for patterns. Compare your best performances and note similar steps that you took before each successful performance. These are the steps that you may want to include in your preparation and performance plan. Likewise, compare your worst performances. Do you detect any patterns of behavior leading up to each performance? These are the steps to eliminate or at lease re-evaluate to determine what went wrong.
Include your preparation routines and rituals in your plan. These help to calm anxiety and provide consistency in preparation.
You can work with your trainer or significant other to create your plan, but be sure to word the steps in your own way so that they are meaningful and personal to you.
Try out your game plan for a training session prior to an actual performance. This gives you the opportunity to make changes as needed. Be flexible and don’t be afraid to make changes if it isn’t working but give it a chance. Stick to the same plan for at least a couple of sessions before making significant changes, and take some time after each session to critically analyze what worked and what went wrong.
Write down your preparation and performance plan in clear, concise steps. Go back as far as you feel is relevant. Perhaps the day or even the week before because often the practice sessions prior to the actual event can reflect directly on your performance.
By taking the same steps prior to each performance you are reducing the uncertainty and minimizing the risk of error. We are most anxious when we are unfamiliar or uncertain about our situation so the more often you stick to the same game plan, the more comfortable you will feel prior to and during your actual performance.
Our motto for today is: “If it works, do it again!”