Olympic Dreams: Getting into the zone

Featuring: Video Video

Tom Daley, Jessia Ennis and other athletes explain their mental preparation and pre-performance routines in this video - and how they help achieve succes.

By: Tom Daley (Guest) , Jessica Ennis (Guest) , Caroline Heaney (Department of Education) , Pete Reed (Guest) , Shaunna Thompson (Guest)

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Copyright BBC


Tom Daley: When I first started diving and first started going into competition it was very much go in there, just have fun with the competition kind of thing. Just go in there and do what you can and I didn’t really have a plan. Now over the years I’ve kind of developed this kind of routine that I’ve got now. My routine now is just to go there and, go in there and want to do well and really have like a goal that you want to achieve, like a performance goal. Not worry about outcome goals, just think about the performance and think about each dive as it comes.

Shaunna Thompson: I’m always thinking about getting a first, a big powerful first step, and that’s the only thing I - it’s not the only thing I think about but it’s the most, it’s the thing that it’s in the front of my mind because if I take too short of a step then I always seem to stumble then on the, on the next steps. But if I take a big powerful step it’s just I don’t think about anything else after that because it’s all a blur and then I run a good race.

Jessica Ennis: I sit down with my coach and we kind of plan short term goals, so what I want to achieve from the indoor season, what competitions I want to do and what I want to get out of them. And then long term goals for year upon year. Um, and then during an actual heptathlon you kind of know where you’re at from your training and what you roughly want to get from each event.

Shaunna Thompson: Normally I like tap my feet back and forward before the starter says on your marks, and that gets me really psyched out, well not psyched out, psyched up because when I’m tapping my feet sometimes like I put in aggression, it makes me feel like right, I’ve got, I’m getting ready for this race now.

Tom Daley: The week in the competition I probably would watch a competition that I’ve done really well in to give me that extra confidence and to know that I can do the dives well. But then in competition I normally just have a drink of water before I go up to the board down at the bottom, and I walk up and then when I get onto five metre I do my visual run-through, and then on seven metre I do my dry land run-through and then by the time I’ve got onto ten metre I’ve done the whole dive before and I’m just ready to go out there and do it the best I can.

Shaunna Thompson: I went through a stage of not running well after I visualised I didn’t use it again, but sometimes I still use it.

Tom Daley: Now I always use visualisation when I go onto the board, I always do dry land run-throughs and I’m always making sure that I’m completely focused and don’t let pressure get to me, and make sure that I put 100% effort into every dive.

Pete Reed: I’d seen Hodgey train and he’d seen me train all those times, all those tough sessions, all those really dark winter days and freezing cold conditions, and we’ve seen each other go through a lot and come through a lot, and when you’re on the start line you can trust yourself and trust your team mates to get the job done, and we’ve worked hard and that’s how you can get real belief on the start line.

Shaunna Thompson: On the way to the competition I don’t really speak, I just put, keep my earphones in. And um, and sometimes I get like – depending on the competition I get really giddy because that like gets me hyped up

Tom Daley: Before a competition I would normally either eat some food or I listen to some music and just drink lots of water. I’m always eating like little bits throughout the competition to make sure I keep my energy levels up and always listening to music just to keep you in the zone kind of thing.

Interviewer: What kind of music?

Tom Daley: At the moment I’m really liking the Black Eyed Peas so that, they’re always on my iPod.


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