As a major tournament approaches, the players tension starts to rise. Has my training been enough? Will I achieve my objective? What if I crash? Etc. etc.
These fears are without form and need to be dealt with. Here's why. Have you had problems sleeping at night before because the mind just keeps playing a tape that you cannot shut off? If the insomnia is not too advanced, a simple solution is just to wake up and figure out what is bugging you and come out with a simple game plan to deal with it in the morning. Then sleep will come.
Another way to look at it, if you are a computing buff, is the operating system is infected with a virus. If you ignore it the virus continue to operate and it can crash the system at the most importunate moment.
So those fears need to be identified and ordered. The first step is to review the strategies, make sure that you believe you have the right tools for the right circumstances. And that you are clear in your mind what the strategies and realistic objectives are. This will begin to reduce the internal pressure. Your coach has helped to reaffirm that you understand the game plan.
The next step is to reframe the tournament. There is a quirk in memory. You tend to remember the defeats and failures more than you remember your victories and successes. This mental image distorts and creates a perception of a problem or challenge that is larger than the reality you are facing. By reframing, rebalancing the pressure is then again reduced.
After both is done, you are more realistic and grounded as you approach the tournament.
Then comes the tournament. The tension mounts again. The lessons and objectives are quickly forgotten. Fear disrupts memory. The coach reminds you of the objective at the correct time and gives you a balanced picture of what is happening. The coach would have worked with you before and given you the tools to deal with your fears and anxieties. The aim is to manage the pressure to prevent you from spiralling, self sabotaging and keeping you in the fight.
There is too much to go into here. But google rational emotive therapy. It breaks down the different emotions and helps you identify the cause as well as how to deal with the different types of emotion. I use this technique often.
The entire process is a form of debugging. To keep the player playing at his optimum and enabling the knowledge he/she has acquired. Too much amorphous fears crashes the mind.
Different trainers will have entered the system at different times during this process. If you have an opening problem you will find an expert in opening to train you. The same goes for middle or end game problems etc. Trainers input into the system and not the other way. That is the framework.
I have noted a few discussions on facebook and I hope this article will be helpful in someway. I will be there so if you feel you need a chat at the tournament just come up to me.
All my best at Datmo and Challengers.