It’s easy to underestimate the power of the brain. All top athletes and performers have tricks they can use to get in the zone or to never give up. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be successful. If you’re not using the entire toolbox available to you someone else will and they will beat you.
It´s important to know that everybody is different. Some use music, some use certain routines to get the correct triggers to get in the zone. Then they will say that they don´t use triggers because it’s a bit taboo to talk about mental issues. It´s almost as competitors take it for a signal of weakness to use mental training.
Those at the very top all use it but no one likes to talk about it. Which is interesting. For those interested in the psychology behind triggers. I recommend this article, triggers for study. A trigger is a smell, touch or sound for example. That reminds you of a certain memory or experience. This then triggers a certain mental state or thought process. This you can program so that you can use this for a positive state inducing event.
The first example is Daniel Ricciardo. You can see him before a session in Formula 1 using his headphones listening to music. I bet its the same music every time. Songs are one way to trigger emotional states. How do you program yourself? It’s quite easy but repetitive. Every time you are in the state that you would like to be in before a competition, you put on your designated song. This makes your brain connect the song with the mental state.
The second example is MMA fighters or boxers that slap themselves over the face. Pain is effective in putting the brain in a certain mental state. Connor Mcgregor is the most interesting case with a small circus of physical triggers before an event.
Another thing that is important when using triggers is that you choose the correct mental state to switch on. Be focused, clear of bad thoughts and self-doubt, ready to perform at your absolute best. Can you remember a race or performance where you were at your best? How was your mental state, what was on your mind? Try and figure out how you work and on what mental state that is. Then you choose your trigger. For example, a certain song, hitting your left knee four times or whatever you choose.
Remember that this exercise is useful for real life as well. Going on a job interview or beating your friends at beer pong. Or other important real-life situations where you need to be at your best.