Energy Management Habits You Need to Get Into
Students understand the importance of time management to keep track of our many daily activities, but we don’t hear too much about energy management in sports. Energy management focuses on key aspects helping athletes recover, and prepare for their next performance. Energy management improves mental well-being and mental focus in sports. As Shawn Saylors, a Master Resilience Trainer-Performance Expert working with the Army Field Trials asked “Can you perform if your energy is at 60 percent? Yes, you can but your performance will also be at 60 percent."
To maximize your energy and performance levels to 100%, focus on the following:
Sleep – Sleep is the most important energy management tool. It gives your body and mind a full recharge. Physically, quality sleep gives you energy, repairs your muscles, and fights illnesses. Mentally, it increases your focus, decision-making skills, and memory. Most kids and teenagers should aim for 8-10 hours of sleep each night. Remember, you can’t trust yourself to correctly judge your own levels of restedness. Even if you sleep less and seem to be doing fine, your brain won't be functioning optimally.
Food and Drink - The food and drink you consume impact your energy, as well Especially if you are going to be in an environment where your body will be challenged, you need to eat healthy, non-processed foods and drink plenty of water to repair the body from these challenges. Eating properly before, during, and after competition matters. We will go in more depth about nutrition in a future blog post.
Attention Control – When you feel your energy level draining, use cue words to focus on your body and on the task. For example, swimmers who have to compete in back to back heats may feel exhausted and mentally tired before they’re finished for the day. Cue words can help them focus their energy and their attention on specific parts of swimming, like extending their arm for the stroke or breathing. This helps to bring energy levels back up and keep moving.
Self-Awareness and Arousal - Recognize what your body is feeling, and adjust your arousal level accordingly. Arousal is the body's way of preparing for intense, vigorous activities. If you interpret it in a positive way, as challenging, readiness, or excitement, you can experience top performance and flow. For example, when you feel butterflies in your stomach, it may automatically seem like a sign of nervousness. But it’s also a sign that blood is moving away from your stomach to the big muscles of your body, and your body is ready for action. Manage your energy by finding your optimal arousal level. If you’re tense and unable to concentrate, it’s too high. To get to a moderate level of arousal (which is ideal), practice deliberate breathing to calm yourself. Breathe slowly and deeply, concentrating on a rhythm while focusing on thoughts of gratitude. If your arousal level is too low and you don’t have enough energy to perform best, increase your energy by listening to a fast-paced favorite song to get pumped.
Eliminate Drains - Cut out things and people in your life that drain your energy. If someone has a negative influence on you, don’t spend time with them. If your habits include staying up late to watch YouTube videos and this drains your sleep, cut that out. If you pay close attention to your energy levels throughout the day, it will become clear what augments and what drains them.
When you apply the different components of energy management to your daily life, you can start to feel both more dynamic and self-possessed.
“Army Trials Athletes Learn to Manage Energy, Increase Mental Focus.” Www.army.mil, www.army.mil/article/163453/army_trials_athletes_learn_to_manage_energy_increase_mental_focus.
“Promoting Active & Healthy Lifestyles.” PELINKS4U, www.pelinks4u.org/articles/lottes6-7_2012.htm.
Smeyers@ncaa.org. “A Recipe for Energy Management Success.” NCAA.org - The Official Site of the NCAA, 20 Apr. 2020, www.ncaa.org/student-athletes/former-student-athlete/recipe-energy-management-success.
Stojkovic, Zoran. “Energy Management to Get the Most out of Your Performance - Mental Performance Consulting: Kizo Performance: Zoran Stojkovic.” Kizo, Kizo, 29 Mar. 2018, kizo.ca/blog/2018/3/28/the-human-battery-energy-management-to-get-the-most-out-of-your-performance.