So, just before the Olympics, we were chatting with some of the athletes about the opportunities still left to mentally sharpen up and get the most out of the remaining preparation days. We challenged them to answer the following:

“If out of all of the days you’ve had to prepare for Beijing, you knew that tomorrow was the critical day to get right in determining your success in China, what difference would that make to how you approached tomorrow?”

If there was a difference that would occur, then it was clear that the absolutely focused, winning mindset was not 100% present every day. How low below that critical day focus could they afford to drop and still feel like they were optimising preparation? How could they maintain that clarity of focus going forward, without pushing too far and making everything seem critically important and thus crank the pressure up too much? How could they learn from what they’d do differently to help extract some extra benefit from the count up to the actual critical day of their final?

The question really focused them in to help make some important choices and stay in control of preparation – choosing to make it the best that it could be and using pressure positively.

So, does a critical day focus do anything for how you might do things differently?