By Jackson Lohr, Sports Performance Manager
There’s a lot of steps you can take to improve your performance as an athlete, but many of them require a big commitment financially and can be a real barrier to success. In light of that, we’ve put together a brief list of five ways to improve your performance without breaking the bank! Check it out!
1. Eat More Protein
Most athletes don’t get enough protein in their diet. Period. Increase your protein intake to about 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. Become a label reader and increase that protein intake!
In general, this will look like adding more lean meat, Greek yogurt, milk, nuts, peanut butter, or other sources of protein into your diet.
Shakes or Smoothies with added protein can be a great way to drink your protein if you have a hard time eating the amount of calories you need to perform at your best!
2. Save Static Stretching for AFTER
Static stretching is great for two things: preventing soreness after a hard workout AND increasing general flexibility. More and more, the research is showing that it may actually contribute to lower power and strength during competition, thus putting an athlete at risk of injury under certain situations. Saving your static stretching for after practice or competition has its benefits, stick to dynamic stretching and warming up beforehand.
3. Get Adequate Sleep
This is the low-hanging fruit. If you’re not making time for 7 hours a day MINIMUM of sleep as an athlete, you’re doing yourself and your body a disservice.
This might mean you need to put your phone away for an hour or more before your head hits the pillow. Try out different pillow sizes. Try using white noise if that’s something you’ve not used before. Get your sleep, and watch what it does for your recovery, your focus, and your overall performance.
4. Make Mental Practice Habitual
Most young people overlook this aspect of competition, but mental practice can be just as effective as physical preparation (See Source). That’s why all the best athletes spend so much time analyzing film of both themselves AND their opponents. Record yourself in practice, training, and competitions, then go over the film with a coach, teammate, or parent you trust. Watch yourself improve over time as you pick out mistakes and find ways you can improve.
5. Be Your Own Biggest Cheerleader
Positive self-talk is vastly underrated. Some of the greatest athletes out there became the greatest by first telling themselves that they were the best.
If you are uncomfortable telling yourself “I’m the best”, start by telling yourself “I can win”. Do it out loud. Do it in a mirror, until you feel confident saying “I’m GOING to win.”
This is beyond powerful, and will have impact not only on your performance, but also on your confidence in other areas of life. Just make sure you hold on to your humility in those other areas of life.
If you’ve mastered these five, maybe it’s time to take the next step. Click here to read more about training at The Edge