Performing Well in the Summer Heat
Summer has begun, and along with it comes a number of unique challenges for this time of year. Warmer temperatures and increased humidity can lead to a host of factors that make it tougher for athletes to perform at their best. Extreme heat can cause athletes to be more irritable, can lead to physical exhaust and bodily failure, and can even impact executive functioning. Below are a few approaches that can be helpful as you approach extreme heat during this challenging time of year.
Preparation: You’ll feel more confident going into training and summer games/matches if you feel that you’ve adequately prepared mentally and physically. Packing your bag the night before, visualizing likely scenarios that may occur, and planning out how you’ll handle the weather strategically should all help.
Hydration and Cramping - Make sure to keep yourself properly hydrated in the hours leading up to training and competition, and continue hydrating regularly once the game/match/practice begins. Additionally, using salt tablets and other products that lower your chances of cramping can be helpful to pack in your bag.
Control the Controllables - The weather is out of your control, but preparation, attitude, effort, and intensity are within your control. Focus as much as possible on these controllable factors!
Realistic Expectations - Expect that the weather will lead to irritation, that playing your absolute best could be difficult, and that you may be exhausted during the match. By expecting these things ahead of time hopefully they won’t be as hard to handle if they do end up occurring.
Perspective - Remember that the opponent(s) have to handle the heat too, and will likely be uncomfortable and irritated!
Maintaining your Perspective - Connecting to a deeper purpose of improvement and performance excellence can help athletes embrace extreme weather conditions and heat because they recognize it will help them become better competitors.
The summer heat leads to lots of different mental challenges for athletes who are training and competing. By focusing on utilizing mental skills, maintaining an effective mindset, and keeping perspective, you’ll give yourself a better chance to perform well and to benefit from these experiences long-term.
For more information on this topic, you can listen to the recent Tennis IQ podcast episode where Dr. Brian Lomax and I discussed these strategies and more. - https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/ep-89-thoughts-on-playing-in-extreme-heat/id1525514686?i=1000567555346