We practice a lot to give our best during competitions, but even with all that practice we often struggle to deliver as expected on the competition day. It’s the build up to the competition and competition day habits that matter a lot as well. In this post, I will share some quick tips to perform your best in competitions!
BEFORE THE COMPETITION:
Your sleep matters a lot. I always end up sleeping late due to which I always mess up my Day-1 solves. Try sleeping an hour early on the night before the competition since you will have competition anxiety and may take time to sleep. Competition simulation is very important. Don’t check your average after each solve, just do straight average of fives then check your average altogether. Do not change your main or rely on friends for cubes. It is preferable to give yourself one week’s time to get used to your main. Do not even lube it unless it’s really necessary.
RIGHT BEFORE YOUR SOLVES:
This one might sound like an unpopular opinion but you should in fact care about your solves. However, you should simultaneously be able to manage your nerves and don’t let this thought mess up your calm behavior. Instead of just trying to qualify through the first few rounds, take it as seriously as the finals since you could break some PB’s if you got easy scrambles. In my opinion, you should concentrate on all events since you could rely on the others if you mess up your main events. Always remember that breaking PB’s is more important than podiums. Don’t casually say “Ready” when you are actually not ready to solve. You always have one minute to get ready before a solve so use that time before the solve. Comfortable seating and posture is important too, I set my chair at a comfortable height since I solve the Megaminx while keeping it on the table. Always remind yourself to look at anything except the piece you are currently solving. Do not go into an automatic mode and concentrate as much as you can. Very often I find myself not reminding myself to look ahead for the first 3 solves then I go into a panic state so the last 2 solves are when I start thinking about my average and really concentrate. It’s of course better to be consistent throughout the average. Eating habits also matter a lot, I prefer eating some chocolates and fluids on the competition day.
Always search for the next pair while solving one. Do not ask other competitors about their solves since that would tense you up. Continuously practice with a spare cube. And keep blowing into your hands. I prefer not looking upwards towards the waiting area, as there may be people watching your solves and that pressurizes you to solve faster. Some people prefer carrying a bottle of water with them while solving, it’s a good habit as keeping yourself hydrated always helps in focusing.
In my opinion, volunteering might be a distraction between events, but at the same time, we should help to ensure smooth conduct of the events. So I volunteer before every event in which I can but leave about one group early before my main events. You can manage the volunteering duties efficiently by taking help from friends who have solved previously or are not participating in your main event.
Overall, some days are good and some are not as good, so moving on is very important. If you messed up an event, just think about the next one. If you messed up a competition then use that anger and sadness as a motivation to practice for the next competition.
Just don’t forget to enjoy the competition altogether!
About the author:
Nikhil is the reigning Asian Champion and National Record holder for Megaminx speed-solving (both average and single solve timings at the time of publishing this blog). Apart from cubing he is into music & loves playing drums and guitar. Nikhil also has Guinness World Records on his name for the Most Number of Rubik’s Cubes and Megaminxes solved on a caster board (both are separate records). You can view his WCA profile here.