The Mental Side of High Jumping, What to Do When You DON'T Win

Hey Jumpers,

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 better.

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, get motivated.

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.

Best of luck!


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