Are you mentally tough enough?

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Its mid-september and the season is about to begin. In the midst of speech writing, debate prep, cutting, performing and practice, it is important to keep in mind that the battle each year is won on the mental front even more so than on performance side of the equation. So many competitors get caught up in the moment that they forget the big picture. So, as you enter the first tournaments in the upcoming weeks or perhaps you are even at one on this saturday, it is imperative to be mentally tough. And through my experience, I will explain how.

Regardless of the result of your first tournament, you may have a major victory or loss. In my opinion, it is better not to do extremely well early on. The reason for this is because its easy to become complacent when you first third party review is great. Also, it doesnt challenge you. Its up to you, but I always went into my first tournament giving my speech about 80 percent. This was my strategy and I wouldnt tell anyone this is the only way. But i will say that this helped me because I gave my speech a good shot and then wanted the feedback for what judges noticed that maybe my coach or I hadnt seen. This is part of being mentally tough.

If you do succeed, that isnt bad of course. But you have to keep a level head and not get hung up in the win. First of all, its early in the year and no one is at their prime. Also, no matter how well you do in early tournaments, you could never take that performance to tournaments later in the year and do the same job. You will get steam-rolled by your competition.

On the other end of the spectrum, doing poorly at your first tournament shouldnt be a back-breaker either. Use the loss as a learning tool and take the optimistic route. Ask yourself what is good about your piece and what isnt and make changes acoordingly. You cant take criticism personally or it will eat you alive and you will fall apart when you need to be at your best. And that too is part of being mentally tough.

So good luck to all who are starting this upcoming year. Remember, the battle is more than half mental and the ones who win that war will end up on the podium at the end of the tournament.

this is good. not necessarily how i approach a tourney, but good. i usually just treat each tourney as it's own entity, growing upon the notes/epiphanies from previous experiences, and do my best at each round.

Do you also go with with 80% to fool competitors? Let them underestimate you and then pounce for the kill later in the season?

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