Strike the Right Balance*

Athletes quite often need to be given independence (space and time), but they need hugs too. Creating the right mix of support versus encouragement is an important and delicate issue. Well-meaning and loving family members can create added levels of stress to a competing athlete by trying too hard to provide that extra bit of encouragement. This can be especially disruptive to an athlete’s pre-competition routine. . . The bottom line is to remember that athletes simply need to know that family and friends are there for them first.

*Excerpt from Rio 2016 Family and Friends Tips Document, produced by the Canadian Olympic Committee for the Rio Olympic Games.

Obviously, your family and friends want you to perform to the best of your ability. But even if they mean well, they can become a distraction by interacting with you too much or passing on their stress to you during a gala or a tournament.

Here are 2 simple things that we often neglect to do before a competition. I guarantee that these little tips will avoid many misunderstandings between you and your loved ones. Your mind will then be clearer and you’ll be able to concentrate 100% on your strategy!

• A few days ahead of a competition – before everyone starts feeling on edge and stressed –, tell your loved ones what you would like from them during your gala or tournament. Tell them, for example, if you want them to come and see you or not before a fight. Express your requests clearly (and nicely!). By doing it this way, you have a better chance of being heard, and they will be reassured knowing your expectations.

• Arrange everything as soon as possible concerning tickets, accommodation, accreditations, transportation, etc. If you’re not done settling everything on the day of a fight, stop worrying about it. Delegate someone you can trust to be the contact person for your parents and friends. Put all these great people in touch with one another, and then just forget about it!

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