So how can you prepare for things going differently to how you expect? The answer is quite simple -
The old saying `Failing to prepare is preparing to fail` is particularly useful here.
As is `Plan for the worst, expect the best`.
An important part of good performances is the expectation of things going well, e.g. not expecting a shot to go on the table has been known to have a negative effect on the likelihood of that shot going on the table! So you need to be confident things will go well. However it is doesn't go as well as you hoped you need a plan B. That plan B is a lot more effective if it is pre-thought out.
So how do you make a plan B?
The simple, effective way is the `If-then` method. IF this happens, THEN I will do this...
spending time doing this before a match or a tournament is a very good way of preparing for the unpredictability of sport. Let`s think of some examples of things that could occur that it would be helpful to have an If-then plan for...
You turn up to a match and the team/player you are playing against is playing completely different tactics. How do you change your game plan accordingly
The day is unnaturally warm. How do you change your nutrition, game plan etc
your racket is slower than usual. Do you change your tactics or just try to take bigger swings etc?
you make a lot of simple mistakes on your backhand. Do you change your plan, use some mental skills to maintain confidence in it, persevere with that shot?
These show there are so many things that are unpredictable in sport and any one of these things could cause you to lose focus and affect your performance. So having a plan written down beforehand will give you confidence and a plan to overcome these issues.
Here are a few tips to make this planning most effective-
Write it down.
Having a written list (I find 2 columns best- an `if` on the left and its `then` next to it) makes it a concrete plan that you can carry with you. The symbolism of this should not be underestimated!
Think of everything that could possibly happen.
If you make an `if-then` and the `if` doesn't happen you don't lose anything. If you don't make an `if-then` and something happens it could throw you off your game just like before.
Make the plans actionable.
Make the `then` part something you can actively change and measure. `If it is hot, then i will drink more water` is not as likely to be effective as planning specific times when you could drink the water. `If it is hot, then I will drink water during every stoppage of play` Would be more likely to get you to follow through the action instead of being vague.
If you found this useful check out the other tips on the website. If you try this please comment below with how you found it and any examples or experiences where this was/ could have been used.