Training is critical to do well in any competition. You need to train in order to perform your best when your score counts.
What can I do to prepare before a tournament? The first thing that I do is set up a routine for myself. My routine is my daily game plan that allows me to get the most out of my training.
What should I add to my training routine?
I do a lot of very specific and coordinated daily activities that all play into the day of the competition. Doing the same things in the same order as I do on a tournament day brings a sense of normality to the tournament day. This helps lower stress and improves my focus and comfort levels to perform my best. I chart what I eat, when I work out, and what I work on to continue improving every day. This is an example of some of the things I do specifically for archery tournament days:
I wake up at the same time every day - 5:30.
I stretch before I leave my room.
I exercise in the morning or evening for a minimum of 30 minutes.
I shoot at least 60 arrows every day (I stretch before I shoot).
If I am unable to shoot then I work on my release and form with my string bow.
I complete some form of specific training that prepares me for competition (simulation, form, equipment work, etc…).
All of the daily activities above I work on during the weeks leading up to the tournament. The day before the tournament however, is just as big of a day as the day of the tournament. This is the day that we prepare for the specifics of the shoot.
What do I do the day before the tournament to be ready?
I follow the same routine as usual like all the days before, but I add in a few important steps to my day:
I get up all of my clothes that I will shoot in that day.
I create a meal plan for the day. I make sure I have snacks, drinks, and meals for the day of the tournament.
I make sure I have all of my shooting gear in one location, all ready to go.
I create a before-shoot playlist of music. I usually listen to more energetic music before I shoot to get me hyped for the tournament, but sometimes if I am stressed listening to calm music can help take off the edge.
I go to bed early to ensure I get enough rest.
These things all play into my performance the next day. Everything you think you're going to run into the day of the tournament you want to familiarize yourself with. It’ll help make things less new which actually helps with competition pressure in athletes.
To familiarize myself with everything I am going to run into the day of the tournament I do the following:
I scout out the course or location. If I know where I am shooting it is less stressful because I understand the layout and where I will be.
I work on simulation training in the weeks leading up to the tournament. Simulation training is basically simulating a competition in order to get through any struggles before you are faced with them. I go as far as to put on my jersey and everything while training. Then I shoot against my teammates who can help be my “competition” even if we wouldn’t usually shoot against each other. I find that this type of training really helps to give you an idea of the intensity of the competition.
Indoor archery is probably the most noticeable discipline as far as intensity goes.
What is intensity?
Intensity in sports is basically the amount of pressure we feel in the competition setting. This feeling of pressure can be really low and you can be relaxed, or it can run very high and you can be anxious. What every athlete shoots for is the optimal level of intensity. This is when there is enough pressure to keep us motivated, but not too much (to rattle nerves). Indoor archery in my experience has a higher level of intensity than 3D or Field. This is because it is inside, you can see your competition shooting literally right in front of you, and there ar