An Olympic gymnast coach’s 4 step competition prep routine

 In Learning from Luminaries, Sports people

Recently I was listening to a podcast, Secrets of Gymnastic Strength Training, where Tim Ferris interviewed American Olympic gymnast coach, Christopher Sommer. female-gymnast

What was memorable to me in podcast was the methodology Sommer shared on how he mentally prepared his athletes prior to major competitions.

Here is Sommer’s preparation formula:

  1. Successful repetitions (ie. it take a certain number of repetitions) leads to
  2. Competence, which leads to
  3. Confidence, which leads to
  4. A successful competition

(repeat steps 1-4 in preparation for any competition)

On reflection, the four step formula aligns with methodology I use with my clients in new behaviour/technique learning.

In particular, Step One is similar to my IDP (Intentional Daily Practice) technique. That is, if you want to shift a new listening, speaking or presentation technique to reflex performance, you need to practice it daily (ie. ‘a certain number of repetitions’) so it blends into how you communicate.

This IDP leads to competence, and then confidence in the technique.

Step 4 could be thought of as a successful business pitch or sales presentation, or a buyer saying ‘yes’.

Your CALL to action/HOW to apply for this post: Whether you have a big pitch coming up or not, start with Coach Sommer’s Step one.

For example, regarding your body language, you could practice ‘owning’ and occupying the physical space** in front of your body – in safe interactions – until you are competent and subsequently confident to reflex the behaviour in ‘A’ class interactions.

**Watch this clip of Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, ‘owning’ and occupying the physical space in front of his body.

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