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The Mental Side of High Jumping, What to Do When You DON'T Win
We talk a lot about improving, beating the competition, hitting new
PRs. But what about those meets when we don't? What about the
meets where we fail to clear even the opening height? What should
we do then?
Luckily, I have experience with this because my first year of
jumping I was anything but good. In fact, I was bad...really bad.
Opening heights were my worst enemy because they usually put them
within 2" of my PR. And we're not talking about 6'2" opening
heights, we're talking 5'2"...or lower.
I am a pretty religious guy, and I remember a talk someone gave at
our Church service one Sunday. He said, "Only let your sins bug you
enough to create a desire to change." In other words, don't let
your sins make you depressed, let them be fuel for the fire to be
Let's take this lesson to the high jump pit, don't get depressed by
your poor performance, let it create a desire in you to train
harder and be better for the next meet. Don't get frustrated,
So, without further delay, here is the three step process I use
when I have a bad meet:
1) Do a quick self analysis and watch the video of my jumps (that
means I had to have recorded my meet, very important) while the
memories are still fresh. I don't spend too much time, but if
there was a mistake I made that I just couldn't feel myself doing,
I want to know.
2) Go give high fives to the other competitors and wish them luck,
cheer them on for the rest of the meet. This helps me stay
positive and will usually lead them to do the same for me another
day. I do this all with a smile, life will go on.
3) Watch the rest of the meet. I watch the other jumpers and their
techniques. I pick out things I might be able to improve on based
on what I see them doing. As they jump, I visualize yourself being
right there with them and the excitement of clearing the next
height (more fuel for the fire).
Under no circumstances should you get mad, frustrated, or upset.
High jumping is fun, staying positive and keeping a good mental
attitude will go a long way toward reaching your high jumping
potential. Anger and frustration can lead you into a jumping rut.