02. Experts Corner

The Secrets to Dominating in Your Sport Part 4 – Preparation

June 14, 2022

Albert Einstein once said "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results". If you want better results in competition, it’s important to train at a higher level and compete in line with your potential. The goal is to train the same way you compete. And, if you combine your sport training with competition level pressure, you are connecting mind and body. This is why training must incorporate the cognitive dimension of performance, in order to simulate mental pressure. In this 4th blog in the series, we will cover how you can take your training to another level by employing the same mental techniques you use in the actual competition.

Bring the Pressure of Competition into Training

When we train, we want to have the same demands and difficulties as in the competition itself. One factor that predominates and limits us when we compete is pressure, but this is really about lack of preparation. Training under real pressure helps us to be better prepared. When you are able to train with an added difficulty, the challenges of competition will actually start to feel normal.

When we train we seek a short term goal, which is to be better prepared for competition. Everyone is a champion when no one is watching. But, when pressure intervenes, our capabilities are limited, and affected. This happens perhaps because the actual method training is not powerful enough to get you properly into the state of competitive moments. A common phrase in sport is "compete like you train.” However, that may not be true if your training is not of high quality. Remember a time when you thought "I need something more" while training, or after a bad competition.

Take on Real Training Challenges

When you train with an added challenge, and that difficulty is lessened or disappears, everything flows. If every day you are training with increasingly adverse challenges, then you are achieving the closest thing to being in competition. If you put yourself a demand like in a COMPETITION you will see high stress as something normal – just familiar daily experience.

In those moments, actually competing as you train will become possible. Difficulties are part of the process. Those difficulties will take you to the next level. Robert Bowman, coach of the 23 times Olympic champion swimmer Michael Phelps, constantly repeated: "There is no growth without suffering."

Athletes you might like to watch while looking for inspiration are those who connect body and mind. For example the moment when Steph Curry scored 46 points and 6 assists, besides equaling what at that time was a record of 12 three pointers in a game. However, perhaps the greatest moment of when his mind and body were synchronized, was in the winning shot with 3 seconds left vs. Oklahoma City Thunder, where he decided, got up, and scored.

Integrate Brain and Body Training

Connecting body and mind is what athletes and coaches want most, especially when your goals are very high. When you get that connection, your performance is higher. Training your movement, your technical gesture, your blocking, your pass...while under high cognitive loads, you allow you to be able to connect body and mind.

This leads to the sports science principle of automaticity, where your movement skills  mastery of pressure becomes almost effortless. That is a what the greatest athletes tap into when they are in their true competitive zone, it comes from superior preparation with training over time. It is possible for anyone.

Here is an example of training with this integrated approach at the International Center. In the following video you can see how we prepare the kickboxing athlete of the Spanish national team for the Budapest open, incorporating elements that we know will be difficult challenges in competition performance. Through the yellow element we attack his body, looking for dodge and block and fist counterattack looking for the best solution.

All this is performed while tracking the NeuroTracker at speed threshold through a custom program created at the International Center. Specifically we’re combining the visual, perceptual and cognitive demands of NeuroTracker, while incorporating the complex skill work of dodging and hitting.

With this approach of 3D-multiple object tracking and sports specific skill training, we can successfully apply real mind-body training under pressure, simulating demands and difficulties equivalent to performing in the competition itself.


With every new competition season there is the challenge to rise to higher and higher levels professionalism. Every time the differences are smaller. That's why training with higher quality, and training cognitively under pressure will make you achieve that edge over your rivals. Training with higher quality methodologies and to evolve your performance levels is possible. At the International Center we can take you to your next level, to increase your performance by training under pressure - it’s time for others look at you for inspiration!

You can read the first 3 parts of this 6-part blog series here.

The Secrets to Dominating in Your Sport Part 1 - Execution

The Secrets to Dominating in Your Sport Part 2 – Injuries

The Secrets to Dominating in Your Sport Part 3 – Pressure

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