This is the last part of my “How to Win at Competitive Sports’ series, and it’s all about tactics. The word tactics is often associated with something underhand and nasty, but I’m here to show you that that doesn’t need to be the case. Tactics actually refers to an action carefully planned to get to a specific end. Your specific ending in this case is to win, but what actions you take on that journey will determine whether you use good and fair tactics, or mean and underhand ones. This is partly the difference between good and bad sportsmanship, and nobody will ever consider you a true champion, no matter how many gold medals you have, if you are a bad sport.
True to the meaning of the word, your training, your analysis of the rules, and your mental preparation are all tactics you are implementing in order to win. These aside, there are a number of actions you can take that will bring you closer your own title. These are miscellaneous hints and tips that basically don’t fit in the other categories, so I’m putting them here for you… Enjoy!
TIP ONE: Know your opponents.
This tactical device is possibly the most popular and definitely my favourite. To be able to beat your competition you need to know your competition. Pay attention to them in their events, watch how they move and what game plan they employ, figure out what you do better than them and what they do better than you. When you know what they do better than you, you can fix up your training so you improve on that aspect of your sport. For example, in 200m sprints, some athletes are better than others at the start, at the middle, and/or at the finish. When you can identify your own strengths and weaknesses, helped by comparison by your rivals, it makes it a lot easier to make your weaknesses into further strengths, helping you come out as champion over all. Don’t get yourself down when you see how good those around you are though! Trust me when I say they’re probably looking at you thinking about how much better you are at another aspect of your sport. That’s why it’s so important to realise where you are both good and bad, because with this balance you will be able to travel the route to success most efficiently.
TIP TWO: Be confident.
You may have noticed that a lot of my advice in the last three articles have been to do with improving to be the best version of yourself you can be for your competition. If you’ve been following all this advice, it should be easy to be confident in your own ability. Being confident in your ability at a competition is actually a kind of tactic. When you exude an aura of “I’ve got this!” your competitors will begin to believe that you’re going to win too… particularly if they’re not so confident themselves. In this way you can beat your competitors before the actual event even begins. However, it is incredibly important that you’re not mean or arrogant in any way, and you should definitely not be putting any one down. At the end of the day, everyone you come up against has the same aspirations to win as you do, and you need to keep in mind how you would feel if someone treated you the way you act towards them.
In conclusion, if you take these tips, and the advice from the rest of my series into account, you’re a couple of huge steps towards winning your next competitive event! Stay confident in your abilities, be nice to everyone, keep learning, and most