In our never ending strive to seek ways in which we can better help athletes, we’ve been reading and researching. Peak Performance by Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness, has been especially intriguing, in the way that it demonstrates scientifically proven strategies for people to perform at their highest level. Four in particular, stood out.
First things first—sleep. When we play sports or experience a stress in the workplace, the most important thing we can do is get the proper amount of sleep. In today’s culture, this isn’t particularly seen as essential. We have a tendency to try and push past sleep and rest, in order to work harder and get more done. However, studies and statistics show that this is counterintuitive. Stulberf and Magness discuss how the Stanford University men’s basketball and swim team participated in a study which would show the effects that sleeping 10 hours a night had on their performance. In all metrics—speed, reactions, free throws, three point shoots and most importantly games and meets won, numbers rose almost 10% across the board. Determine the right amount of sleep you personally need, by going to bed early and waking up without an alarm clock for seven days. Take the average, and you will then know how much sleep you need to be at your best.
The next thing that caught our attention, is how tremendously our outlook on stress affects our performance. The authors propose that we all fall into two categories, when it comes to stress. We either let our stressors get to us and hinder our performance—or we use them to fuel our excitement and bring the best out of us. The key here, is that if you know you do not perform well under stressful situations, tell yourself how excited you are and channel the stress in a positive way. Keep repeating to yourself how excited you are for the opportunity; and when it’s time, take a breath and go!
All athletes who play at a higher level (College or Pro), have a pre game or even a game day routine. Stulberg and Magness insist that these routines are essential for athletes (and non-athletes alike) to perform their best at whatever they do. First and foremost, they recommend getting the right amount on sleep. Next, eat the right kinds of foods and drinking the right amount of water. After that, the remainder is determined by each individual, and whatever puts them in the best mood and energy to perform at their highest. Exercise is great because it gets the blood moving—allowing your mind to rest and not dwell on the stressful things going on. Once we find out which routine works best for us, we must follow it so we do not have to think about it. Work out at the same times each day. Sleep, eat and work at the same times of the day, so that our bodies adapt and are ready to perform at their best.
Lastly, we must find a greater purpose beyond ourselves for doing what we do. Is it our family, faith or legacy? Whatever the case may be, we must connect and plug into it daily. When marathon runners and iron man competitors discuss what they think about when they get tired, they always mention something beyond themselves. We as human beings are wired to do more for others or a higher purpose, than we would ourselves. By reminding ourselves of our greater purpose daily, it will give us the inspiration to keep trying when things don’t work out or become difficult.
These are just a couple more things that we can implement, to get the most out of our performance. Let’s continue to do all that we can, to achieve the goals we strive for. Contact us now. if you’re ready to take your performance to the next level!