By Sports Medicine Task Force
SPORT PSYCHOLOGY – ONLY SPEND ENERGY ON WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL
Flight delays, ground transportation issues, weather concerns, and other stressors are common issues that all athletes face during travel. Worrying about these things that you have no control over creates unnecessary anxiety and takes away energy you will need for your performance. Instead of worrying about such things, accept them as normal aspects of travel, then go with the flow when you experience them.
- Plan out the details of your itinerary well in advance to reduce stress while traveling.
- During flight layovers, travel delays, turbulent air travel, or while staying in your hotel, practice deep breathing. Count to four slowly when you inhale and count to six slowly while you exhale.
- Periodically scan areas of your body for tension. Practice releasing that tension by imagining the body part turn from red in color (which represents tension or anxiety) to blue in color (which represents calmness). Common areas of the body that carry undetected stress include the shoulders, jaws, and forehead.
- Know when to focus on your events and when to keep your mind on other things.
- Use down-time constructively when it would otherwise not be beneficial to spend energy on thinking of your upcoming races. During layovers, throughout a flight, or in your hotel room, read a book or magazine, play games on your electronic devices, watch movies, or listen to music.
For more on sports psychology and travel check out the Global Travel Guide.