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How do you keep calm at a competition?

Slowpoke22

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Another thing I forgot to mention that has been helpful for me in the past is to simulate as closely as possible all of the events you'll be competing in while someone "judges" your solves. So get a piece of paper, write "Super Official Competition Solves that Really Matter" or something that has an official ring to it, do an average of 5 (or mean of 3) for each event, and do this once a day for several days prior to competition. Have your friend scramble, and wait a few minutes between solves. I think that this sort of practice works better than doing larger averages alone at a rapid-fire pace.
 

whauk

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i do some fun stuff with my timer before solving. (clapping 5 times, stop with your chin/forehead, 2-cycle your left and right hand)
it makes you feel like everything was a joke.
 

Mollerz

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It's something I've been thinking about (and getting annoyed about) for a very long time...
I once asked Daniel (Sheppz) how he could be so close to his solve times at home in every event and he said 'Why, what other speed am I supposed to be?'.

I think this says an awful lot about the attitude good competitors have which you see in a lot of sports - don't doubt yourself too much, don't think 'because it's a competition I'll do x thing differently', don't think anything more than just 'lolk solve time now'.

Putting that into practise is another thing entirely, however...
I lol'd at Dsheppz. He was so nervous before his first 4BLD WR.

Time seems to go much slower in competitions for me, I just completely phase out of everything and get into some comfortable zone. I tend to actually do pretty well, in the things I don't care about at least. I've taken that into account and I just practice for speed at home but I try my best to have fun in competition and not think about the results or anything. I tend to do a bit better at competitions than at home.
 

Daniel Wu

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Breathe. Take a deep breath before starting. It really helps as far and focusing in on the cube and keeping concentration.

At MIT Spring, I was holding my breath during a 4x4 solve and almost passed out halfway through edges. :p
 
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I've only been to one competition, and at that time, my average at home was 30-35 secs. However, my expectation for myself was way lower, like 45+ secs. After the first solve was a 27.xy, I was like, whoa! I hadn't felt like I had gone particularly quickly. Another thing, I don't look at the timer while I'm solving. This is probably due to the fact that I don't have a speedstacks timer, and therefore aren't used to looking downwards, but anyway, it helps keep me from rushing my solve at the end.
I have no clue what it's like to have a possible world record on your shoulders. I'm guessing that it's much worse. However, just do your best and have fun! If you don't get it this time, you will have another chance at your next competition.
And like the person above me, I actually did better at my comp than at home.
 

Riley

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Just a random thing that helps me, I don't if it will help you, is to solve a different puzzle than what you're about to solve. It makes me do better on the official event somehow. I also do deep breathing, stretch my fingers and wrists, and just tell myself I will do good.
 

Thompson

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If you go with a friend or girlfriend or whatever, bring them to the competition and talk to them throughout the day. Your mind won't be too concerned with getting such great times and you won't be as nervous!
 

Joël

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1. Look at the floor when walking to the table, don't look at the audience. Something that helped me to get some PB averages, is to avoid contact with anyone, especially with the audience. I really just looked at the floor, or the cube, but nobody else. This might look weird (or even autistic), but it certainly helps me.

2. Pretend the audience isn't there. Block all your thoughts. Don't allow your brain to think about anything. Practicing meditation might be a way to teach yourself how to block thoughts and empty your mind.

3. Don't waste any energy. Before inspection, relax all the muscles in your body, take 1 or 2 deep breaths, while blocking all thoughts. During the solve, don't waste energy by shaking your head or talking.

4. Read what Chris Hardwick said.
 

kinch2002

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Sorry for being arrogant, but I regard myself as a bit of a pro at being calm at comps, having been at the other end of the spectrum a while back.
My first official solve was a 6.38 2x2 LL skip. I was just a little bit nervous :p
Short version: Rowan's idea that your mindset should be 'lolk solve time now' sums it up perfectly for me! For non-bld events anyway.

I'm mainly bouncing off Chris because he makes lots of interesting points at once - saves me trawling through everybody's!

1) Practice a lot beforehand so that everything about your solving becomes muscle memory. This will help you be able to know what to do even when you're under pressure.
Actually I don't like practising lots before a comp. It makes me care too much. Instead, practise during the months before, and not much in the week leading up to it, just so that you forget how good you are at an event!

3) At the competition on the day of, try not to talk to people between solves. It's nice to talk to people yes, but if you talk to people between solves you lose your focus. Put on your blindfold/earmuffs/headphones etc. to make it obvious that you're concentrating right now and don't want to talk to anyone.
I like having people around who I'm comfortable with, especially the judge. A bit of a light-hearted atmosphere helps me. Before starting a bld attempt I do have a short focus time after the joke or two though.

5) Compete inwardly, NOT outwardly.
Competing inwardly means to compete such as to beat your own personal goals, as they relate to your times only. Try to beat the result you got at the last competition (beat the time you got, NOT your placement in the competition). Try to beat your pb single or average, etc.
Competing outwardly means "I will beat YOU". An example is "I will place in the top 10", or "I will podium", or "I will break the WR". Competing outwardly is VERY stressful, but competing inwardly is not as much.
Yes yes yes! I used to care so much about getting NRs and winning events and stuff. Now I realise that beating people doesn't make me a better person than them, so why am I trying so hard to do so? For me, I prefer to aim to live up to my own expectations. So in 4bld, beating my own WR didn't mean much more to me than getting an OPB, which I knew I could well do. It's just a comp after all, so why not just do what you do the same at home?

One other thought - do lots of events. Keeps your mind off your 'main' events during the rest of the day. Also, if you fail in those, you're bound to have got some randomly nice results in the other events.
 

Mike Hughey

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One other thought - do lots of events. Keeps your mind off your 'main' events during the rest of the day. Also, if you fail in those, you're bound to have got some randomly nice results in the other events.
This really helps me. That's why I like to do everything - if I happen to have a really bad day for BLD (which definitely happens sometimes), I can at least enjoy the fact that I maybe got a PB in something else. It's nice to have something to feel good about at every competition.
 

Carson

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Mindset has a lot to do with this. Here is how I conceptualize a competition:
So, a bunch of friends (we are friends right?) decide to meet up in a common place to solve some cubes. Most of us solve cubes everyday, so that's not really anything special. We hang out for a few hours, do a bunch of solves, share some "trade secrets", and hope that some of our official solves were nice enough for us to improve our averages. Often, we go out to eat afterwards and take our cubes into the restaurant because that's just what we do. At the end of the day, we go home and probably cube some more before we go to bed.

If you make a big deal out of a competition, you will be nervous. The only difference between competing and hanging out with friends and cubing is that we plug a display into the back of your timer at the competitions.

Oh, and this is by far the most epic quote I have seen in awhile:
Remember a time in competition that you got really, really nervous and did not perform well - then don't do that this time.
 

musicninja17

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You have to convince yourself that nobody gives a flying f***. Just tell yourself that you're back in your room, cubing as usual. Practice cubing under pressure (in crowds/ect.)
 

Sub1Hour

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I think that this is a thread worth bumping. Although the odds are slim, I have a chance at the Square-1 podium at Western Championships 2020. Yes, I know this competition is not guaranteed to happen and could be delayed or canceled. anyway, I want to know what keeps you guys calm in competitions. I have an issue with psyching myself out. During a 6x6 solve, I finished reduction and made the mistake of looking at the timer and saw that It was very possible to get the SR single and secure a podium. That solve had a 50-second 3x3 stage and I got 4th. I need help to calm myself down. I am used to competition-like high-stress environments but for some reason, I can easily calm myself down during those situations. Most of those situations are sports games. My main sport is Football (not futbol I'm talking American football) and I am somehow able to subconsciously zone in and focus to the point where the only thing that I can think about or sometimes even visualize/see is my opposing lineman and the quarterback (I play DT and DE). I want to be able to take this to my advantage and find a way to trick myself to focus-in to an incredible degree like I can while playing sports. I have also tried to listen to calming lyricless music while practicing and listen to that same music before I compete. What have you guys done to help calm yourselves and what has worked best?
 

brododragon

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I think that this is a thread worth bumping. Although the odds are slim, I have a chance at the Square-1 podium at Western Championships 2020. Yes, I know this competition is not guaranteed to happen and could be delayed or canceled. anyway, I want to know what keeps you guys calm in competitions. I have an issue with psyching myself out. During a 6x6 solve, I finished reduction and made the mistake of looking at the timer and saw that It was very possible to get the SR single and secure a podium. That solve had a 50-second 3x3 stage and I got 4th. I need help to calm myself down. I am used to competition-like high-stress environments but for some reason, I can easily calm myself down during those situations. Most of those situations are sports games. My main sport is Football (not futbol I'm talking American football) and I am somehow able to subconsciously zone in and focus to the point where the only thing that I can think about or sometimes even visualize/see is my opposing lineman and the quarterback (I play DT and DE). I want to be able to take this to my advantage and find a way to trick myself to focus-in to an incredible degree like I can while playing sports. I have also tried to listen to calming lyricless music while practicing and listen to that same music before I compete. What have you guys done to help calm yourselves and what has worked best?
I haven't done a comp, yet, but I just do high-intensity stuff before I can think about it. If I can't do that, I just close my eyes and breathe slowly.
 
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